THE LIVINGBRIDGE

Professional Development for Psychotherapists

College Of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario — Registration Questions

The Transitional Council of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario has been working hard to get the College off the ground and to set-up what is needed to start the pre-application process for new members in the fall of 2013.

As pre-application draws nearer, there are many therapists who are getting interested in (and often confused by) the details around the different possible routes to registration, the requirements, and the time lines. This post is an attempt to bring some clarity to some of the questions I hear most often. The information is based on written material published by the College and my understanding of information given at the meetings of the Transitional Council. I don’t claim it to be perfect, complete, or final.

  1. What do all the terms mean in the requirements?
  2. What possible routes are there to registration in the College and what are the requirements for each of them?
  3. What is the application process? What are the timelines for pre-registration and registration?

1. Terms in the registration process and what they mean

1.1 Currency hours: This is the number of hours the therapist practiced in the general field of psychotherapy within the three years just before application. The required number of currency hours is 750 for everyone which may include a broad range of professional activities, including direct client contact and related record‐keeping, preparation, research, consultation, teaching, supervising, researching, writing, and managing.

1.2 Clinical Experience (also Client Contact Hours): This is the number of hours which the therapist spent directly working with clients — individually, in couples, families, or group.

1.3 Supervision Hours: This is the number of hours the therapist has spent with his / her supervisor (or in a supervisory group) talking about his / her client sessions, issues, and concerns.

1.3.1 Clinical Supervision: This refers to supervision with an acknowledged supervisor either in individual sessions, dyads, or small groups (size limitations apply, see below for details in the different categories of registration).

1.3.2 Other Supervision: This includes facilitated team meetings or conferences to discuss client clinical issues.

1.3.3 Peer Supervision: This refers to meetings of therapists who are on a similar level of experience without an acknowledged supervisor and / or without an acknowledged arrangement / contract for supervisory work. This form of supervision is not acknowledged for any of the categories of registration.

1.4 Supervised Hours: This is the number of client contact hours that the therapist has had while being under supervision. Every hour spent with clients during a period in which the therapist was under supervision counts as a supervised hour.

1.5 Safe and Effective Use of Self: This is time the therapist spent learning about her / his own issues and how they may effect her / his practice and relationship with clients. It includes personal psychotherapy, courses taken to learn how to reflect on personal issues, identify and deal with counter-transference, set appropriate professional boundaries, work with cultural, sexual, and spiritual diversity etc.

1.6 Educational Requirements: All training courses must be specific to psychotherapy and the development of psychotherapeutic skills and competencies.

1.6.1 Coherent Education: This refers to a fully integrated training program on a post-secondary level designed to train and develop psychotherapeutic skills and competencies. This may include university training, and training in private psychotherapy training institutes, and more. The training requires an application, admission, and evaluation (tests, exams).

1.6.2 Individual Courses: This refers to a training program on a post-secondary level designed to develop psychotherapeutic skills and competencies. This may include a university course, a semester at a community college, and training courses in private psychotherapy training institutes. The training requires an application, admission, and evaluation (tests, exams) but is not part of an integrated, coherent training program.

1.6.3 Other Education: This includes shorter courses and workshops that help the therapist deepen and develop skills. The course requires official enrolment and participation by the therapist. This may include weekend workshops, short courses, and CEU courses.

2. Possible Routes to Registration and their Requirements

2.1. Regular Registration, “Registered Psychotherapist or RP”:

2.1.1. Professional Practice and Jurisprudence e-learning Module: This is an online learning module that teaches applicants about the legal and professional requirements to which members of the College must adhere. This includes getting a working knowledge of the Regulated Health Act and specifically the Psychotherapy Act as well as the Professional Misconduct regulation of the College. Every applicant has to pass this e-learning module and it has been designed to make that easy. It can be taken repeatedly until the applicant is able to answer all questions correctly.

2.1.2 Registration Examination: Applicants will have to pass an online entry-to-practice examination that is designed to test the applicant’s entry-level competencies. It has been designed around the concept of an actual client session. Options of different actions and interventions are given at different times of the ‘session’ and the next part of the scenario is given as a response to these actions or interventions. It will be possible to re-write the exam at a maximum twice after a waiting and learning period if it is not passed on first attempt. The examination will be offered at least once per year, probably twice a year.

2.1.3 Successful Completion of a Coherent Training Program: The training program must focus on psychotherapy, be post-secondary (requiring an undergrad degree for registration), and include at least 360 hours of training central to the practice of psychotherapy (excluding supervision, supervised hours, or practice hours). Other training options that would be acceptable are Master’s degree in psychotherapy that meets the requirements mentioned before, a program in indigenous practice of psychotherapy, or any other program (or combination of programs) that adds up to the fulfillment of the requirements mentioned before.

2.1.4 Clinical Experience: Applicants for the regular registration route will have to have a minimum of 450 hours of direct client contact. In order to be allowed to practice without supervision, a full member will have to have 1000 hours of direct client contact. In other words, an applicant can become a full member when he / she has 450 or more hours of direct client contact but will have to remain under supervision until he / she has reached 1000 hours of direct client contact.

2.1.5 Supervision: Applicants for the regular registration route will have to have a minimum of 100 hours of supervision. In order to be allowed to practice without supervision, a full member will have to have 150 hours of supervision. In other words, an applicant can become a full member when he / she has 100 or more hours of supervision but will have to remain under supervision until he / she has reached 150 hours. Half of the required supervision hours have to be individual or dyad supervision, the other half can be group supervision. The maximum size for acknowledged group supervision is 8 participants for one supervisor.

2.1.6 Safe and Effective Use of Self: The training program from which the applicant graduated must have training in / development of the safe and effective use of self as a core component.

2.1.7 Currency Requirement: Applicants for the regular registration route can show the currency of their knowledge in two ways:
2.1.7.1 They have completed their training or clinical experience within 12 months prior to the date of application.
2.1.7.2 They have completed 750 currency hours within 3 years prior to application.

2.2 Qualifying Registration, “Register Psychotherapist (Qualifying) or RP (Qualifying)”:
A therapist can stay under the Qualifying Registration for a maximum of 5 years and has to be continually working on the completion of the missing requirements during this time. Upon reaching the requirements for regular registration, the applicant will be transferred to full membership and the addition of the “qualifying” will be dropped. If the applicant can practice without supervision at that point depends on her / him having reached the minimum requirements for independent practice in full membership: 1000 hours of direct client contact and 150 hours of supervision (see above).

2.1.1 Professional Practice and Jurisprudence e-learning Module: This is an online learning module that teaches applicants about the legal and professional requirements to which members of the College must adhere. This includes getting a working knowledge of the Regulated Health Act and specifically the Psychotherapy Act as well as the Professional Misconduct regulation of the College. Every applicant has to pass this e-learning module and it has been designed to make that easy. It can be taken repeatedly until the applicant is able to answer all questions correctly.

2.1.2 Registration Examination: Applicants will have to pass an online entry-to-practice examination that is designed to test the applicant’s entry-level competencies. It has been designed around the concept of an actual client session. Options of different actions and interventions are given at different times of the ‘session’ and the next part of the scenario is given as a response to these actions or interventions. It will be possible to re-write the exam at a maximum twice after a waiting and learning period if it is not passed on first attempt.

2.1.3 Training and Clinical Experience: Applicants to the qualifying route of registration have by definition not yet completed all requirements for regular registration. However, they have some educational requirements.
2.1.3.1 The applicant has completed the educational requirements for full registration and be enrolled to take the entry-to-practice examination of the College at the next available opportunity (e.g. the training program ended in June but the next examination date isn’t until December; the applicant can enter the College via the qualifying route and practice under supervision until she / he can take the examination)
or
2.1.3.2 The applicant is completing additional training, clinical experience, supervision etc. but has already substantially completed the requirements for regular registration (e.g. the applicant has completed his / her training and has written the College’s examination but his / her training program didn’t have 450 hours of clinical practice; the applicant can enter the College via the qualifying route and practice under supervision until he / she has reached the required 450 hours of clinical experience for regular registration).

2.1.4 Supervision: Applicants to the qualifying route of registration are not allowed to practice without supervision.
Safe and Effective Use of Self: The training program from which the applicant graduated / will be graduating must have training in / development of the safe and effective use of self as a core component.

2.3 Grandparenting, “Registered Psychotherapist or RP”:
This route to registration is only available for a period of 2 years after proclamation of the College (planned for April 1, 2014) and was developed to allow experienced and practicing psychotherapists to become members of the College even if their background in training, supervision, and safe and effective use of self differs from the requirements of regular registration. Those who have been in private practice but may not have all necessary requirements for grandparenting at the time of proclamation may register through the Qualifying route and take up to 2 years after proclamation (March 31, 2016) to complete those requirements and be grandparented in.
Applicants through the grandparenting route will have to provide a portfolio of their background information if requested.  Application information will be scored on a point scale which requires a minimum number of hours in 4 out of 5 areas and an overall minimum number of points in order to reach acceptance of the application. It also has maximum countable hours in all 5 areas. Below only the minimum hours are given. Reaching only the minimum hours in all areas will not be enough to reach the overall required number of minimum points for registration (see PDF below for maximum countable hours and scoring schedule).

2.3.1 Professional Practice and Jurisprudence e-learning Module: This is an online learning module that teaches applicants about the legal and professional requirements to which members of the College must adhere. This includes getting a working knowledge of the Regulated Health Act and specifically the Psychotherapy Act as well as the Professional Misconduct regulation of the College. Every applicant has to pass this e-learning module and it has been designed to make that easy. It can be taken repeatedly until the applicant is able to answer all questions correctly.

2.3.2 Registration Examination: Applicants through the grandparenting route do not have to write the entry-to-practice examination.

2.3.3 The 5 Categories:
2.3.3.1 Training and Education: Applicants through the grandparenting route have to have a minimum of 100 hours of training in the field of psychotherapy. For this registration route only different forms of education and training will be acceptable. All 100 training hours (or more) can be in the same category.

  • Coherent training program
  • Individual Courses
  • Other Education

2.3.3.2 Clinical Experience: Applicants through the grandparenting route will have to have a minimum of 800 hours of direct client contact throughout the entirety of their practice of psychotherapy.

NOTE: These 800 hours over the whole career include only direct time spent with clients in session, not included are note taking and preparation for the session.

2.3.3.3 Supervision: Applicants through the grandparenting route will have to have a minimum of 40 hours of supervision throughout the entirety of their practice of psychotherapy. Only for the grandparenting route 20 of those 40 hours can be in ‘other allowable supervision’ which includes facilitated team meetings/conferences to discuss client clinical issues. Again, peer ‘supervision’ does not qualify. The remaining 20 hours have to be clinical supervision. For the grandparenting route only all 20 hours of clinical supervision can be in group supervision and groups up to 12 members / supervisor will be accepted.

2.3.3.4 Safe and Effective Use of Self: Applicants through the grandparenting route will have to show a minimum of 30 hours for this category. There is also going to be an option of showing this through “demonstration in practice” which, as I understand it, is going to be writing out how and when in the therapist’s practice this skill has been developed and anchored.

2.3.3.5 Other Professional Activities: This is a category only valid for the grandparenting process. It includes time the therapist spent doing work that is related to the field of psychotherapy but is not directly related to the active practice of psychotherapy. This may include teaching, supervision, research, writing, management, development of curriculum, volunteer work etc. related to and in the field of psychotherapy.

2.3.4 Currency Requirement: Like everyone else, applicants through the grandparenting route will have to show the currency of their skills. This can be done in the same way as for regular or qualifying registration:
They have completed their training or clinical experience within 12 months prior to the date of application.
They have completed 750 currency hours within 3 years prior to application.

NOTE: These 750 hours are hours of work in the field of psychotherapy in the last 3 years before application. They include more than direct client contact hours, e.g. note taking, teaching, providing supervision to others, researching and writing on psychotherapy, etc.  These hours are not equivalent to the 800 hours required in clinical experience. However, any direct client contact hours that have been done during the three years prior to application can be counted in both areas.
For the grandparenting process only, 500 of these 750 hours have to have been spent in Canada.

2.3.5 Letter of Verification: This is a letter from an employer, supervisor, teacher, or colleague verifying that the applicant is currently actively practicing in the field of psychotherapy in Canada. A form will be provided by the College.

2.3.6 Statutory Declaration of Truth: This is a sworn statement stating that all data provided in the application is truthful and right. A form will be provided by the College.

NOTE: Independent Practice (meaning practicing without supervision) is only going to be allowed for practitioners who have at least 1000 hours of clinical experience and 150 hours of supervision over the whole time of their career. If a therapist who is being grandparented into the College does not meet those hours, he / she will have a limitation or condition placed on his / her certificate stating that he / she has to remain under supervision until those hours are met.

Applicants who do not meet all the required hours for grandparenting at the time of pre-application can apply for entry into the qualifying class of membership and complete the requirements within two years to be grandparented in at that time.

2.4 Other Registration Categories:
2.4.1 Temporary, Registered Psychotherapist (Temporary) or RP (Temporary):
This class of registration is for therapists from other jurisdictions who have a temporary employment offer in Ontario. The offer has to be related to psychotherapy (e.g. Teaching, management, research) and can not be for more than 9 month; also, the therapist can not have been on a temporary registration in the 12 months prior to this one. The therapist must be a member in good standing with the registration body of his / her home province and have a colleague who is a member in good standing with the College of Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario who is willing to continue care of the therapist’s clients after he / she returns home.

2.4.2 Inactive Registered Psychotherapist (Inactive) or RP (Inactive):
This class of registration is for therapists who previously where full members of the College and have decided to not practice any more or for a longer period of time, e.g. living abroad for some years, dedicating some years to another career or to raising children, etc. They cannot practice in psychotherapy (direct client contact or supervision) while in this registration class but are allowed to do some related work in the field such as management of a clinic or school, writing, developing curriculum, teaching, etc. An inactive member can become active again if he / she has the necessary currency hours.

3. Application Process and Time lines for registration

June 2013
Opening an account: This will be done online and involves providing basic information such as contact information. The College is finalizing the set-up of their system and is hoping to have it ready by he beginning / middle of June.

Jurisprudence and Professional Practice e-learning modules: This will be an online module that can be taken up to one year prior to finalizing the rest of the application. The College is finalizing the set-up of this module and their electronic membership and financial system to allow for electronic application, payment, and participation. They are hoping to have it ready by he beginning / middle of June.

September 2013
Information webinar: The College is planning on putting together a webinar that will be posted on the College’s website. This webinar is going to explain the application process in detail and answer as many questions as possible. The Transitional Council is hoping to have this ready by the end of summer.

October 2013 to April 2014
Online Grandparenting Pre-Application: This will be done online. An application form is currently being developed that offers plenty of explanations and examples for all the categories. The form will inform the applicant when she / he has reached the minimum required hours as well as the maximum countable hours.

Review of Individual Grandparenting Application Portfolios: Any grandparenting applications that aren’t standard as well as some randomly selected will be reviewed by the Registration Committee.

January 2014 to April 2014
Online Pre-Application for Regular Route: This will be done online. An application form is currently being developed that offers plenty of explanations and examples.

Review of Individual Applications: Any applications that aren’t standard will be reviewed by the Registration Committee.

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