Background

The Psychotherapy Act, 2007 restricts the use of the titles “Psychotherapist”, “Registered Psychotherapist”, and “Registered Mental Health Therapist,”* as well as any variations and abbreviations of these titles. The College has the authority to determine who may use these titles and the manner in which they may be used. The College also determines the circumstances in which its members may use other terms, titles and designations, including educational credentials, job titles, and specialty designations.

It is a provincial offence for an unauthorized person to use a restricted title or hold him/herself out as qualified to practise psychotherapy in Ontario. The College has the ability to prosecute unauthorized persons in provincial court. The College also has the ability to bring a restraining order (an injunction) directing any person to comply with the Psychotherapy Act, 2007.

Requirement to use regulated title

Members are required to use the title conferred by the College when acting in a professional capacity, e.g. in all advertising, professional publications, and on business cards and invoices. This includes all such uses via electronic media. The following are the titles that members of this College must use in accordance with their class of registration:

Registered Psychotherapist

The title associated with this class should be used in the following manner:

  • Registered Psychotherapist or
  • RP
  • Psychothérapeute autorisé(e) or
  • PA
Qualifying

The title associated with this class should be used in the following manner:

  • Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) or
  • RP (Qualifying)
  • Psychothérapeute autorisé(e) (stagiaire) or
  • PA (stagiaire)
Temporary

The title associated with this class should be used in the following manner:

  • Registered Psychotherapist (Temporary) or
  • RP (Temporary)
  • Psychothérapeute autorisé(e) (temporaire) or
  • PA (temporaire)
Inactive

The title associated with this class should be used in the following manner:

  • Registered Psychotherapist (Inactive) or
  • RP (Inactive)
  • Psychothérapeute autorisé (inactif) or
  • Psychothérapeute autorisée (inactive) or
  • PA (inactif) or PA (inactive)

Education/training credentials

When acting in a professional capacity, members should display only education/training credentials related to the practice of the profession, specifically, the highest credential earned that is related to the practice of the profession.

Job titles

Members may identify themselves by using a job title in addition to their professional title. The job title should not replace the professional title. For example, a person may hold a position as manager of a clinic, and also be a Registered Psychotherapist.

Use of specialty designations

At this time, the College has not established a program to formally recognize and confer specialty designations. However, members may use a term, title or designation conferred by a third party, provided it meets all the following conditions:

  1. The term, title or designation is earned. “Earned” means that the term, title or designation is not honorary and was not awarded purely through attendance, but that the member demonstrated development of the knowledge and/or competence associated with the term, title or designation. Note: This is not intended as an exhaustive definition.
  2. It is conferred by a recognized credentialing body. “Recognized credentialing body” means one that is broadly recognized within the profession as legitimate.
  3. It meets established standards. “Established standards” mean standards that are broadly recognized within the profession as legitimate. And
  4. Prominence is given to the member’s regulated title.

These conditions enable members to use terms, titles and designations that are meaningful and generally recognized by the profession, while maintaining the distinction between the regulated title and additional qualifications. In considering whether a term, title or designation meets the conditions listed above, the test is whether a panel of one’s peers would view it in this way.

Examples

The following are examples of acceptable presentations of one’s respective titles:

Anna Persaud, M.Ed., RP, (C) OACCPP
Manager, Northwestern Psychotherapy Clinic

Jean-Michel Chénier, M.Sc.
Psychothérapeute Autorisé, RMFT

Sandra Smith, M.A., Registered Psychotherapist
Canadian Certified Counsellor (or CCC)

Note: By placing one’s regulated title immediately after one’s name and educational credential, a member meets
the requirement to give the regulated title prominence.

The doctor title

Use of the title “Doctor” or “Dr.” is protected in the RHPA. Members of this College are not permitted to use
this title in a clinical setting. If a person is not from one of the health professions entitled to use the doctor title
(chiropractic, optometry, medicine, psychology, dentistry) or a social worker with an earned doctorate degree in
social work, s/he cannot use the title “Doctor” or “Dr.” in a clinical setting. This is the case even if the person has
an earned doctoral degree (e.g. the person holds a Ph.D). Under this provision, the title “Doctor” can be used in
other settings, socially or in a purely academic setting, where no clients are present.

Note: The above does not prevent a member from displaying a Ph.D or other doctoral degree in his/her
promotional material, if the degree is their highest credential earned and is related to the practice of the
profession.

Misuse or misleading use of titles

It is also important to use only appropriate titles. The use of false or misleading titles or designations, including their use in advertising is considered professional misconduct, and may lead to disciplinary action. For example, it would be professional misconduct for a member to refer to an educational degree that has not been earned.

Practice description

Members may describe their field of practice as long as it does not suggest that a specialty designation has been earned when in fact it has not, e.g. “practice in family and couples therapy” would be acceptable.

* At the present time, the College has deferred use of the title “Registered Mental Health Therapist.” However, it is still one of the restricted titles set out in the Psychotherapy Act, 2007.

The Standard: Use of Terms, Titles and Designations

A member uses the title conferred by the College when acting in his/her capacity as a member of the profession, giving prominence to this title above any other qualification, designation or title. A member uses a term, title or designation implying a specialization appropriately and only if it is earned, conferred by a recognized credentialing body, meets established standards and prominence is given to the member’s regulated title.

Demonstrating the Standard

Member demonstrates compliance with the standard by, for example:

  • ensuring that his/her title is displayed on promotional material, and on other relevant material (such as letterhead, business cards), including electronic media, that is shared with clients;
  • displaying the title in his/her office setting;
  • ensuring that the member’s regulated title is displayed in a manner that is more prominent than any other title(s);
  • ensuring that the title used is appropriate for the member’s class of registration;
  • using the regulated title with clients and with students in a teaching setting;
  • ensuring that the Doctor title is not used in a clinical practice setting, even if the member holds a Ph.D.;
  • using other titles, such as educational credentials and specialty designations, in accordance with the rules described above.

See also:

Standard 6.2 Advertising and Representing Yourself and Your Services
Professional Misconduct Regulation, provisions 33, 34

Note: College publications containing practice standards, guidelines or directives should be considered by all members
in the care of their clients and in the practice of the profession. College publications are developed in consultation with
the profession and describe current professional expectations. It is important to note that these College publications
may be used by the College or other bodies in determining whether appropriate standards of practice and professional
responsibilities have been maintained.