We get this question a lot, and wanted to make a post so it’s easily accessible. It’s hard enough starting therapy, so we’d like to take as much confusion out of it as possible.
Some Ontario-centric notes before we begin:
The Term Registered Psychotherapist is a protected title indicating this therapist belongs to the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO)
Members of the : College of Nurses of Ontario, College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, College of Psychologists of Ontario, and Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, can all practice Psychotherapy, though its rarer for Nurses and OT’s.
Typical Education: Masters in Counselling Psychology or Masters of Social Work.
Typical Training: Training in psychotherapy techniques and modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic therapy, and training in working with complex interpersonal dynamics
In Practice: Psychotherapists provide talk therapy and counseling to help individuals, couples, or groups improve their mental and emotional well-being, manage stress, cope with life challenges, and develop healthier thought patterns and behaviors.. They do not prescribe medication.
Typical Education: Doctoral degrees (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology, which involves extensive training in research, assessment, and therapy.
Training: Psychologists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of mental health conditions using evidence-based therapeutic approaches.
In Practice: They can provide psychotherapy, psychological testing, and assessments to individuals of all ages. Psychologists may also work in research, academia, or organizational settings. They do not prescribe medication.
Typical Education: Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MD) who have completed medical school and have specialized in psychiatry during their residency.
Training: Their training includes medical and psychiatric training, allowing them to diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe medication, and provide psychotherapy.
In Practice: Psychiatrists primarily focus on the biological and medical aspects of mental illness, such as neurotransmitter imbalances, genetics, and brain chemistry. They are often consulted for cases where medication is considered necessary, and they may work in conjunction with psychotherapists or psychologists.
Other words that add confusion:
Physiatrists – Doctors who work with bodily rehabilitation
Psychic – Someone who thinks they can predict the future
Counsellor – In Ontario an individual calling themselves a counsellor only, is someone who is not regulated by any college. Buyer beware. However in other provinces, they have different titles, for example in Nova Scotia, it’s called a Registered Counselling Therapist, not a Psychotherapist. Check with your province for more details about who is regulated, and who isn’t
That was a lot. If you choose to work with us, you can be assured you’re getting a Regulated clinician who is either part of the Social Work or Psychotherapy college. We are dedicated to the highest standards of practice.