Responses of mental health professionals to the regulation of psychotherapy in Ontario

Vesely, Leslie Marie
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University of Guelph

The 2007 Psychotherapy Act (PA) established psychotherapy as a controlled act in Ontario that six professional colleges have access to, the College of Psychologists of Ontario, College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario, College of Nurses of Ontario, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, College of Social Work and Social Service Workers of Ontario, and the newly created College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (Psychotherapy Act, 2007). The transitionary period ended in January 2020 at which time the PA was fully enforced. Through an open-ended online survey and semi-structured interviews, this research explores the experiences and perceived impacts of the PA on members of the six colleges who have access to psychotherapy. Drawing from Powell and Oberg’s (2017) conceptualization of multi-level relational networks, the study aims to explore perceived effects of the PA on professional identities, boundaries, and legitimacy through the lens of intra-professional, inter-professional, and institutional (e.g. third-party payers) relationships. Six themes were produced through thematic analysis as outlined by Terry and colleagues (2017) and were later unpacked using critical theory. Implications and limitations of this study are explored.

Psychotherapy Act, Ontario, Regulation, Professional Identity, Professional Boundaries, Professional Legitimacy