Quality Assurance in Psychotherapy

Posted by: Trudi Wyatt on mai 8, 2015 2:00 pm

Perhaps you have noticed the many ads lining Toronto’s TTC subways recently, asking “Do you know a psychotherapist?”? (1)

Indeed, there has been much ado about psychotherapy in Ontario lately, especially related to the province’s new College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO), established on April 1, 2015, under two provincial Acts (2). CRPO’s mandate is “to regulate Registered Psychotherapists in the public interest, striving to ensure that practitioners are competent, ethical and accountable” (3).

At this time, over 1,700 practitioners — including many Canadian Certified Counsellors (CCCs) — in Ontario have already become registered with this regulatory College (4).

What do these developments mean for someone seeking psychotherapy or counselling? For one thing, because one of the Regulations under these Acts requires having a Quality Assurance (QA) program (5), if you choose to pursue therapy with a Registered Psychotherapist (RP), you will know that his or her regulatory College requires him or her to participate in the type of rigorous QA program described below (6).

Specifically, CRPO’s QA program encourages “the continuing competence and quality improvement of Members”(7). It includes professional development, and “professional self” assessment for all Members, as well as Peer & Practice Assessments in some cases.

The professional development component of the program requires Members to create a “Learning Plan” (6) with goals for professional development, and to record and describe which acceptable activities were pursued to meet those goals. My understating is that the specific details of these requirements have not yet been finalized, but I imagine that a goal example might be “maintain and sharpen competence in providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)” and that an acceptable supporting activity example might then be “attend a CBT seminar.”

CRPO will also be guiding all Members “through a process of reflection and evaluation of the ‘professional self’” (6). I imagine that this guidance may focus, at least in part, on developing “the therapist’s self-reflective use of his/her personality, insights, perceptions, and judgments in order to optimize interactions with clients in the therapeutic process” (8), as demonstration of competency in this area is a College registration criterion.

Additionally, some Members will be selected for a Peer & Practice Assessment, which is “an in-depth evaluation of a Member’s practice by a trained Assessor who is also a CRPO Member” (6). If the results of the Peer & Practice Assessment are unsatisfactory, then the Member may be required to participate in a specified continuing education or remediation program, or may have terms, conditions, or limitations imposed on his or her certificate of registration.

Of course RPs are by no means the only therapists in the province to have a QA program! For example, CCCs (certified by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association) are required to complete 36 hours of continuing education every 3 years.

For more information, please contact the organizations and publications referred to in this post.

Trudi Wyatt, MA, RP, CCC is a Registered Psychotherapist and Canadian Certified Counsellor in Private Practice in downtown Toronto. She has been practising for six years and currently works with individual adults on a variety of life challenges such as depression, anxiety, stress, anger, career choices, and relational difficulties.

Sources (accessed 26 – 29 April 2015):

  1. Photo of Toronto Transit Corporation subway billboard located on Line 1, placed by CRPO.
  2. Psychotherapy Act, 2007; Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.
  3. CRPO website: http://www.crpo.ca/home/council-and-committees/
  4. The CRPO Council meeting held on April 22, 2015.
  5. Psychotherapy Act, 2007, and Regulations (tab): http://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07p10
  6. The Quality Assurance Program: http://www.crpo.ca/home/professional-practice/quality-assurance-program/
  7. Professional Practice Standards, p.8: http://www.crpo.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/CRPO-Professional-Practice-Standards.pdf)
  8. Registration guide: http://www.crpo.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Registration-Guide-for-CRPO.pdf


*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA