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Frequently Asked Questions
What training do psychologists and psychological associates have?

To be a psychologist or psychological associate practicing in Ontario, one needs to first complete an appropriate university undergraduate and graduate program e.g., a Bachelor's and Master's in psychology and/or a Ph.D. in psychology which is a very lengthy process. Even after obtaining a M.A. or a PhD. degree in psychology one cannot call themselves a psychological associate or a psychologist, respectfully, until they have completed the registration process, which takes another one to two years to complete. To practise psychology in Ontario, an individual must hold a current certificate of registration from the College of Psychologists of Ontario; the regulatory body for the profession of psychology. Under the authority of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and the Psychology Act, 1991, the College registers two classes of autonomous practitioners.

A Psychologist or Psychological Associate who holds a certificate of registration authorizing autonomous practice may provide services without supervision, within his or her area of competence, and may bill for these services. While most members of the College have no explicit term, condition or limitation on their certificates of registration, some do and must practice in accordance with any such restriction.

To qualify for professional registration to practise psychology requires successful completion of:

  • rigorous educational and training requirements;
  • acceptable supervised professional experience;
  • a standardized written examination that evaluates comprehensive knowledge in psychology and is used throughout Canada and the United States;
  • a written examination that evaluates the candidate’s ability to apply knowledge in jurisprudence, ethics and professional standards for practice in Ontario; and,
  • an oral examination designed to evaluate readiness for autonomous professional practice.

Once registered, a member of the College is expected to practise in accordance with applicable legislation, regulations, standards of conduct, professional guidelines and professional codes of ethics.

Only a member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario may offer psychological services in the ON or use the title Psychologist or Psychological Associate. In addition, use of the terms psychology or psychological, or any abbreviations or variations of these terms and titles in describing services, is restricted to members of the College. Psychologists and Psychological Associates respectively may also identify themselves with the designation C.Psych. orC.Psych.Assoc. after their names.

All told, psychologists and psychological associates have spent years studying and practicing psychology before they are given the title of "psychologist" or “psychological associate”. This makes psychologists and psychological associatesthe most highly trained practitioners to be conducting assessments and psychotherapy (i.e. "talk therapy") of mental, emotional, and interpersonal issues.

What is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

CBT had been demonstrated in thousands of research studies to be very effective in helping people to improve their mood, reduce their anxiety, and cope more effectively with daily life stressors. CBT is about learning and applying hands-on, practical skills for managing difficult feelings. Over the course of the therapy, you can expect to learn how to identify and challenge negative thoughts and develop techniques (e.g. relaxation training) to restore your sense of calm and balance.

What will happen in the first therapy session?

The first session is an assessment session. In this initial session, the therapist will ask you a range of questions regarding your concerns and history. Based on this discussion of your needs, the psychologist will be able to describe to you your treatment plan and to help you to set some therapy goals. This will provide a guide for the subsequent sessions.

How long is a session?

A standard psychological session (for individual therapy, couples therapy, and life / career coaching) is 50 minutes long. This is called a "clinical hour". The remaining 10 minutes is used by the psychologist to review your previous session notes and to write the current session note. Longer sessions (one-and-a-half or double sessions) are available for clients who would prefer more time.

How frequent are the sessions?

The majority of clients attend sessions once a week. However, some clients prefer more frequent sessions (e.g. twice a week), while others prefer less frequent sessions (e.g. once every two weeks).

How long does therapy last?

There is a wide range in the number of sessions that clients attend. Some clients come for as few as six sessions while other clients come for months, or occasionally even years. The most common duration for therapy is 10 to 20 sessions.