What is a Psychologist? What is a Psychotherapist? What is the difference between a Psychologist and Psychotherapist? Can I see a Clinical Social worker? What is RP vs. RP (Qualifying)? Do I have insurance coverage for counselling services?
These are all great questions and are things that can make looking for a therapist/counsellor a bit confusing. In this blog we will touch base on the different types of therapists/counsellors in Ontario and what that means for you. We will also touch base on how to know if you have coverage through an employer or benefit company for counselling services.
Types of therapists/counsellors in Ontario:
There are several different types of therapists/counsellors that you can see in Ontario that are licensed to provide psychotherapy to their clients. The difference between each therapist/counsellor is the kind of education they have completed, the regulatory body they are registered with, and the standards they must achieve/abide by to maintain their licensing. Each regulatory body or college has their own standards and regulations that a therapist/counsellor must follow to be licensed with them. The three types of therapists/counsellors we will talk about in this blog will be Psychologists, Psychotherapists and Social Workers.
What is a Psychologist?
A psychologist is a mental health professional who studies how we think, feel and behave. They use psychological evaluations and talk therapy to help folks learn to better cope with life, interpersonal relationships and different mental health conditions. They can use many different therapeutic approaches such as CBT, DBT etc., to help people understand, explain and change their behavior. The College of Psychologists of Ontario allows a registrant to be licensed as either a Psychologist Associates or a Psychologist. A Psychologist Associates will need to have an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master's degree in psychology (e.g. M.A., M.Sc., M.Ps., M.Ed.), followed by four years of experience working in the scope of practice of psychology. A Psychologist will have an undergraduate degree, master's degree and a doctoral level degree in psychology (Ph.D., Psy.D., Ed.D., D.Psy.). Once the required education is completed both Psychologists and Psychologist Associates can be licensed with the Collage Of Psychologists Of Ontario. Once licensed they are required to completed at least one additional year of formal supervised experience approved by the College and pass three examinations.
What is a Psychotherapist (RP)?
A Psychotherapist is a trained professional who assists people with various mental health conditions such as stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, bipolar disorder, negative behavior patterns and other debilitating feelings. They study how people think, feel and behave and how a person's environment can impact this, for example trauma, social constructs, society views etc. A Psychotherapist uses talk therapy to help folks learn to better cope with life, interpersonal relationships and different mental health conditions. They use a wide range of different therapeutic approaches/modalities such as DBT, CBT, Narrative, Trauma informed etc. A Registered Psychotherapist will need to have an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in counselling psychology or a related field (e.g. M.A., M.Sc., M.Ps., M.Ed.). They will be registered and have obtained their licensing through the Collage Of Registered Psychotherapists (CRPO), once graduated they will register with the CRPO and be licensed as a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying). To move out of the qualifying bracket with the CRPO, registrants must complete 450 direct client contact hours and 100 hours of clinical supervision, they must then pass an examination required by the collage. Once in the Registered Psychotherapy (RP) bracket, registrants must still receive ongoing clinical supervision until they have completed a total of 1,000 direct client contact hours and 150 hours of clinical supervision.
- Clinical Supervision - CRPO defines clinical supervision as a contractual relationship in which a clinical supervisor engages with a supervisee to discuss the direction of therapy and the therapeutic relationship; promote the professional growth of the supervisee; enhance the supervisee’s safe and effective use of self in the therapeutic relationship; and safeguard the well-being of the client.
What is a Registered Social Worker (RSW)?
A Registered Social Worker in regard to a clinical aspect are trained professionals that can assist people with various mental health concerns/conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, bipolar disorder, negative behavior patterns and other debilitating feelings. They use talk therapy to help folks learn to better cope with life, interpersonal relationships and different mental health conditions. They use a wide range of different therapeutic approaches/modalities such as DBT, CBT, ACT etc., and can be trained in psychotherapy. A Registered Social Worker will need to have an undergraduate degree and a Master of Social Works degree (MSW). They will then get registered and have their licensing through the regulatory body of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
Each of these types of therapist/counsellors can be very helpful in your therapeutic journey and guiding you through your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Finding the right fit for you is the most important part of starting your journey. In choosing a therapist/counsellor consider the type of therapeutic approach you work best with or that resonates with you the most, what kind of coverage you have, and the connection you feel with your therapist/counsellor. Always ask questions and notice if you feel heard and understood. Feeling comfortable and connected with your therapist is one of the most important parts.
Do I have coverage for therapy?
You may have coverage through an employer, spouse, parent etc.
Many employers offer benefit packages and may have mental health services covered in their plan. You can ask your employer for details about what sort of mental health coverage you have and ask them for your plan coverage booklet.
When double checking for coverage with your benefit company, you should look to see what type of services they cover, the amount they cover per session, the total amount they will cover annually and the types of therapists/counsellors they cover. Some benefit plans may only cover services from certain regulatory bodies, such as psychologist and social worker or Psychotherapist and Psychologist. Double check to make sure the type of therapist/counsellor you are seeing is covered under your plan. You can also check this before you start looking for a therapist so you can ensure you pick a therapist that is covered by your benefits company.