Beginning January 1, 2024, this version of the Standard is out-of-date. For the current version, visit the 2024 Standards document. This page will be updated to the current version in the coming months.


Effectiveness of therapy

It is important for members to ensure that any assessment or course of therapy offers a reasonable prospect of benefit to the client. Unnecessary therapy poses a risk of harm by raising false expectations and wasting the client’s time and money. Ultimately, one of the important goals of therapy is to foster independence and autonomy from therapy. Similarly, members should be sensitive to the effect that particular labels or assessment findings may have on clients. Registered Psychotherapists should try to share such information in a way that is beneficial to the client.

Client’s understanding of therapy

Members help ensure that clients make informed decisions about attending therapy. It is important that clients understand the purpose of therapy and the therapeutic approach employed, and are aware of potential risks of therapy.

Continuing therapy

If therapy is no longer indicated, proves to be ineffective or has ceased to be effective, the member must discuss the option of discontinuing therapy.

The Standard: Unnecessary Treatment

A member provides therapy only where there is a reasonable prospect of benefit to the client, and continues therapy only when there is a reasonable expectation of continuing benefit.

Demonstrating the Standard

A member demonstrates compliance with the standard by, for example:
  • providing assessment/therapy that has a reasonable prospect of benefit to the client;
  • continuing to provide therapy to a client only when it continues to be indicated, effective or beneficial;
  • discussing the option of discontinuing therapy when the therapy is no longer indicated, effective, or beneficial;
  • periodically reassessing, with the client, the goals and expected outcomes of the therapeutic relationship, and the likelihood of ongoing benefit.
See also:
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.