The College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) has recently amended and clarified its standards of practice that relate to supervision provided by its members. We understand that many members of CRPO are concerned about potential impacts on their relationships with clinical supervisors who are psychologists.

This matter is being explored deeply, and more information will be available in the future. For the time being, we invite you to review responses to the most frequently asked questions on this subject, and to check back to our Supervision page.

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

The short answer is yes, but understand that you and your clinical supervisor would be operating within the regulatory frameworks of two distinct professions. CPO members have a duty to maintain the standards of the psychology profession, just as members of CRPO must uphold the standards of the psychotherapy profession.

The terms “clinical supervision” (as used by CRPO) and “supervision” (as used by CPO) have different meanings. The CPO’s Standards of Professional Conduct and a related FAQ can be found here and a Q&A document relating to the controlled act of psychotherapy can be found here.

CRPO defines “clinical supervision” as a contractual relationship in which a clinical supervisor engages with a supervisee to:

  • promote the professional growth of the supervisee;
  • enhance the supervisee’s safe and effective use of self in the therapeutic relationship;
  • discuss the direction of therapy; or
  • safeguard the well-being of the client.

As a member of CRPO, 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.

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

This matter is currently under review. The potential impacts to clients and key aspects of professional practice are among the considerations. Until such time that CRPO is able to provide further information, please consider the following:

  • Ensure your potential clinical supervisor meets CRPO’s definition of a clinical supervisor.
  • Assure that the relationship between you and the clinical supervisor 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 your 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.
  • If you will obtain clinical supervision or consultation regarding the work you do with a client, and you disclose information that would identify the client in the course of this supervision or consultation, be mindful of your professional obligations with respect to informed consent. Refer to Standard 3.2: Consent.

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

Students who intend to become members of CRPO and members who are required to practise with clinical supervision – Qualifying members and Registered Psychotherapists who are not yet eligible for independent practice – need to transition to a clinical supervisor who meets CRPO’s criteria. If you wish to continue working with a supervisor who does not meet the criteria, understand that the College will not recognize this as fulfulling the requriement to practise with clinical supervision.

Q: Can I supervise a member of another college?

Members of CRPO 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.

Members who provide clinical supervision to a supervisee who is a member of another profession must recognized 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.

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

The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 limits supervision of controlled acts when the supervisee is a student. The Act seems to indicate that a student must be fulfilling the requirements to join the same college as their clinical supervisor if the clinical supervision will involve supervision of a controlled act. Therefore, if an RP is supervising a student who expects to become a member of another college, it is unlikely an RP will be able to supervise the student in the controlled act of psychotherapy. 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.

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