Check back to this page periodically to see new Frequently Asked Questions that are added. Click on a question below to jump to the answer.

Q: I’ve heard that the controlled act of psychotherapy fully comes into effect January 2020. What does this mean for supervision?

On January 1, 2018, a legal provision that defined the controlled act of psychotherapy came into effect, meaning that the controlled act of psychotherapy is now, technically, a restricted professional activity, where previously, it was not restricted.

The government provided a phase-in period to facilitate this transition which lasts until December 31, 2019. It is up to individual colleges to determine how they will interpret the laws and their regulations in light of this transition phase. On January 1, 2020, the controlled act of psychotherapy goes fully into effect.

Section 29 (b) of the Regulated Health Professions Act says that a person who is in the process of fulfilling the requirements to become a member of a profession may perform a controlled act when it is under the supervision of a member of that same profession. Because of this provision, from January 1, 2020 onward, individuals in training to practise psychotherapy who perform the controlled act will need to assure they are receiving clinical supervision from an appropriately qualified registrant with CRPO.

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Q: As a CRPO registrant, am I allowed to be supervised by a psychologist?

Yes. See here for more information from CRPO about who can supervise who and learn more about what CPO has to say about clinical supervision by reviewing their Standards and updated FAQ regarding the controlled act of psychotherapy.

As a CRPO registrant, if you are required to receive clinical supervision for registration purposes, you must assure that your clinical supervisor meets the criteria set out in the definition of clinical supervisor. In addition, your relationship with any clinical supervisor
must not interfere with your ability to abide by the Professional Practice Standards for RPs.

Understand that you and your clinical supervisor would be operating within the regulatory frameworks of two distinct professions. Members of the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) have a duty to maintain the standards of the psychology profession.

It is important to note that RPs can perform the controlled act of psychotherapy on their own authority, i.e. as CRPO registrants. They do not require supervision to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy.

Finally, CPO has standards related to supervision which prohibit supervision for the sole purpose of third party billing. Likewise, CRPO requires RPs to participate meaningfully in clinical supervision. If meaningful supervision does not take place, and the arrangement is merely a guise to access third party billing, a registrant may be subject to investigation or discipline by CRPO.

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Q: Will CRPO recognize “consultation,” “mentorship,” and “training” provided by psychologists as equivalent to clinical supervision for CRPO registration purposes?

Registrants who require clinical supervision for registration purposes must:

  • Ensure the clinical supervisor meets CRPO’s definition of a clinical supervisor.
  • Assure that the relationship has the following purposes: 1. to promote the professional growth of the RP; 2. to enhance the RP’s safe and effective use of self in the therapeutic relationship; 3. to discuss the direction of therapy; and 4. to safeguard the well-being of the client. This is demonstrated when the RP’s knowledge, skill and judgment are assessed; when RP’s learning needs are assessed; when the RP is provided with formative feedback; and when actions are taken to ensure client safety.

Ensure that the relationship will not impede their ability to meet the Professional Practice Standards for RPs, particularly those that relate to competence, clinical supervision, informed consent, issuing accurate documents and financial record-keeping.

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Q: What should I do if my supervisor does not meet CRPO’s definition of a clinical supervisor?

The answer to this question depends on your registration status. If you require clinical supervision for registration purposes (e.g. because you are a student, a Qualifying member, or a registrant who does not yet qualify for independent practice), you need to receive supervision from someone who meets CRPO’s clinical supervisor criteria. If you’re someone who requires clinical supervision for registration purposes and you wish to continue working with a supervisor who does not meet the criteria, it’s important for you to know that the College will not recognize this as fulfilling the requirement to practise with clinical supervision. Learn more by reading our chart on Who Can Supervise Who.

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Q: Can I supervise a member of another college?

CRPO registrants may provide clinical supervision to regulated and unregulated professionals provided they have the competence to do so, and providing they adhere to the Professional Practice Standards for RPs, in particular those that relate to clinical supervision.

CRPO registrants who provide clinical supervision to a supervisee who is a member of another profession must recognize that they would be operating within two regulatory frameworks. The supervisee will have a duty to adhere to the standards of their own profession, just as the RP will have a duty to uphold the standards of the psychotherapy profession.

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Q: Can I supervise a student who will eventually become registered with another college?

Please consult with the college that the supervisee expects to join in order to determine whether that college will accept clinical supervision provided by a member of another profession.

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Q: Does CRPO pre-approve clinical supervisor training activities?

CRPO does not pre-approve clinical supervisor training activities, nor does CRPO maintain a list of approved or qualified clinical supervisors. Registrants who provide supervision are encouraged to develop their own competence in providing clinical supervision in order to provide supervisees with the richest possible learning experience. Registrants are encouraged to rely on their professional judgment to identify appropriate training activities, using the clinical supervisor criteria and standards on supervision as baseline guideposts in cultivating their practice as a supervisor – see, in particular, section 4 of the Professional Practice Standards for RPs.

To improve their range and competence in providing effective clinical supervision, we encourage registrants to draw from a variety of activities that comprise directed learning (i.e. course work, supervised practice as a clinical supervisor, individual/peer/group learning, and independent study that includes structured readings) as a way to become exposed to and incorporate emerging best practices.

In general, training should be demonstrably intended to train current or prospective clinical supervisors in providing supervision of psychotherapy. Taking into account the general framework offered in section 4 of the Standards and the clinical supervisor criteria established by CRPO, registrants may identify specific learning content and training formats that best meets their needs.

Considerations in Clinical Supervision

In our ongoing discussions with clinical supervisors, we have found that the topic areas listed below routinely stimulate discussion. In addition to engaging in courses that address interests and specific learning needs, consider whether there is merit to engaging in training offerings that address some of these topics:

  • Effective evaluation of supervisees’ learning needs.
  • Supporting the growth and development of the supervisee.
  • Defining/managing responsibilities of the supervisee and supervisor.
  • Supervisor’s role in preventing harm to clients.
  • Disclosure of client personal health information in supervisory relationships.
  • Record-keeping.
  • Conflict of interest.
  • Ethical issues in clinical supervision.

When supervisees submit supervision hours in their application to CRPO, the supervisor must indicate on the Clinical Supervisor Attestation Form how they have met the training requirement. This information is reviewed by staff, who will contact a supervisor if further information is required.

As such, supervisors should maintain records of their learning activities in case confirmation of the training is requested (e.g. letter from supervisor, reading list, course outline and completion letter).

Looking for more information about clinical supervision? Check out our supervision page, review the special bulletin or email us at practice@crpo.ca.

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Q: Who is responsible in the event of a complaint – the supervisee or supervisor?

According to Section 4 of the Professional Practice Standards, clinical supervision has specific characteristics:

  1. it is contractual;
  2. it is purposeful (intentional);
  3. records are kept;
  4. there are regular meetings; and
  5. there may be shared responsibility for the well-being of clients depending on circumstances and modality

Registrants are required to set out the details of their supervisory arrangements in an agreement – ideally a written one. Among other things, the agreement should address responsibility for client well-being. The sharing of responsibilities should be reasonable in light of the circumstances, taking into account a variety of factors including: the training and experience of the supervisee, the practice setting and supports or oversights within, the client population and potential population risks, among other things.

In the event CRPO ever received a complaint and a supervisory relationship was involved, the matter would be addressed by closely reviewing the situation and understanding the roles and conduct of the parties involved in the complaint. All of this information (and any other relevant details) would inform the degree and manner in which the parties involved would be held responsible. Note if a complaint involves cross-professional supervisory relationships, each party would be subject to the processes of their respective regulator.

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