The College’s authority
In accepting a Certificate of Registration from the College, members obtain privileges, such as use of the title Registered Psychotherapist or RP. At the same time, members take on obligations, such as recognizing the authority of the College. By accepting the College’s authority, members help maintain public confidence in the College and in the profession itself.
Complying with the terms of a Certificate of Registration
When the College issues a Certificate of Registration to a member, s/he must adhere to all terms, conditions and limitations (TCLs) associated with the certificate. Members should ensure that clients and colleagues are aware of any TCLs. A breach of TCLs could result in disciplinary action by the College.
Some TCLs are imposed by regulation, such as the requirement to practise only in areas of the profession in which the member has knowledge, skill and judgment. TCLs may also be imposed by a College committee. Some TCLs, such as requiring a member to practise with clinical supervision, allow a member to grow professionally and expand his/her professional competency.
Responding to the College
When formally contacted in writing by the College, including by email, members must provide an appropriate response within 30 days. A response is appropriate if it is complete (providing all the information requested), accurate, and made in writing.
Complying with panel orders
Panels are sub-groups of College committees. Several committees of the College have the ability to issue orders that are binding on members. These committees include: the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC, Discipline Committee, and Quality Assurance Committee. If a member fails to comply with an order of a panel of the College, s/he is openly challenging the authority of the College.
Appearing for a caution
In response to a complaint or report, the member may be ordered by the ICRC to attend a private meeting, called a “caution”. Attendance at this meeting is mandatory, and members must respond to a notification from the ICRC. During the meeting, the member may be advised of a concern and given an advisory and educational warning about his/her conduct. A caution is not disciplinary in nature.
Fulfilling an undertaking
An undertaking is a promise made by a member to the College. An example of an undertaking would be a requirement to complete a course to upgrade a skill. Members often enter into undertakings as an alternative to formal disciplinary action. It is considered an act of professional misconduct if a member does not complete or abide by an undertaking.
Complying with a suspension
The College has sole authority to suspend a member’s Certificate of Registration. The suspension may result from non-payment of fees, or from the decision of a committee (e.g. the Discipline Committee). Members under suspension must refrain from practising psychotherapy, and must not receive any benefit or income, either directly or indirectly, from their professional status while suspended. Members should retain appropriate financial and other records to show that they have not benefitted from their professional status while suspended. During a suspension, a member may transfer the operation of his/her practice. As part of contingency planning, members should consider who will manage their practice in the event that they are suspended. Failure to comply with requirements relating to suspension may result in disciplinary action.
In certain circumstances, the Executive Committee may occasionally grant an exemption to allow a member to receive income indirectly from the practice of the profession (e.g. it would be unfair, if the member’s spouse is also registered with the College, to prohibit the spouse from practising during the suspension because the family will receive income from the spouse’s work). This is determined on a case-by-case basis. In applying for an exemption, the member must make full disclosure to the College regarding the circumstances and nature of the benefit. Approval must be granted prior to receiving the benefit.
Participation in Quality Assurance
Promoting the continuing competence and quality improvement of members is an important part of the College’s role. Members must participate fully in all mandatory aspects of the College’s Quality Assurance Program. This includes complying with a request for disclosure of a member’s self-assessment and professional development information, and participating in a peer & practice assessment, when requested to do so.
Cooperating with College investigations
A member is obligated to fully cooperate with the College during an investigation of the member or another member. It is expected that the member will cooperate in a timely manner, including providing access to facilities, records, or equipment relevant to the investigation. The member must also exhibit appropriate behaviour during the investigation and not subject the investigator to rude, threatening or obstructionist behaviour. Similarly, once evidence of the appointment of a formal investigator by another college is made known to the member, s/he is obligated to cooperate with that investigator. This responsibility reinforces the member’s obligation to assist that college in protecting the public by investigating any complaint or report.