CRPO defines clinical supervision as a contractual relationship in which a clinical supervisor engages with a supervisee to discuss the direction of therapy and the therapeutic relationship; promote the professional growth of the supervisee; enhance the supervisee’s safe and effective use of self in the therapeutic relationship; and safeguard the well-being of the client.

CRPO considers clinical supervision key to the development of a competent professional.

Informal “peer supervision”, i.e. unstructured discussion of clients with colleagues, is not considered an acceptable form of supervision for registration purposes.

Supervision Requirements

Individuals in the following categories will rely on clinical supervision for registration purposes:

  • Those in the process of fulfilling their requirements to become a registrant with CRPO – this includes students and others who are not yet registrants with CRPO.
  • RP (Qualifying) Members – Qualifying registrants, as a condition of their Certificate of Registration, must receive ongoing clinical supervision while they are a Qualifying member. These registrants will need to complete a total of 100 hours of clinical supervision as part of requirements to enter the Registered Psychotherapist category. Qualifying members must continue to receive ongoing clinical supervision once they have completed the 100 hours required to complete the Registered Psychotherapist category requirements.
  • Registered Psychotherapist Members – Members in the Registered Psychotherapist category must receive ongoing clinical supervision until they have completed a total of 1,000 direct client contact hours and 150 hours of clinical supervision. Should a registrant acquire 150 clinical supervision hours prior to completing 1000 direct client contact hours, they are still required to receive ongoing clinical supervision until both requirements are met for “independent practice.”

Click here for information about who can supervise who.

Requirements for Clinical Supervisors

In Ontario

The requirements for serving as a clinical supervisor have changed over time. When CRPO reviews clinical supervision hours reported in an application, we are assessing whether the clinical supervisor has met the criteria that were relevant at the time the supervision was provided.

The current criteria for clinical supervisors are listed below. Click here to see the criteria that applied in the past.

Clinical Supervisor Criteria:

  1. The supervisor must be a member in good standing of a regulatory college whose registrants may practise psychotherapy.*
  2. The supervisor must have five years’ extensive clinical experience.
  3. The supervisor must meet CRPO’s “independent practice” requirement (completion of 1000 direct client contact hours and 150 hours of clinical supervision).
  4. The supervisor must have completed 30 hours of directed learning in providing clinical supervision. Directed learning can include course work, supervised practice as a clinical supervisor, individual/peer/group learning, and independent study that includes structured readings.
  5. The supervisor must provide a signed declaration that they understand CRPO’s definitions of clinical supervision, clinical supervisor, and the scope of practice of psychotherapy.

*College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, College of Nurses of Ontario, College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, College of Psychologists of Ontario, Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

CRPO staff may request evidence of the 30 hours of directed learning in providing clinical supervision and may also request a letter of verification and a statement describing the supervisor’s approach to providing supervision.

Outside Ontario

Outside Ontario, a clinical supervisor is an experienced practitioner of psychotherapy qualified to provide clinical supervision in their jurisdiction.

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Group Supervision

Clinical supervision can be individual, dyadic or group. Group supervision may include structured peer group supervision if it is formal and structured, and includes at least one group member who meets CRPO’s definition of a clinical supervisor.

Structured peer group supervision differs from group clinical supervision in that the latter is led by a clinical supervisor, whereas the former includes at least one member who would qualify as a clinical supervisor but is an equal participant (not the leader). Structured peer group supervision often occurs in an institutional setting but may be formalized outside such settings.

Grandparenting Registrants

At application, a grandparenting applicant may have submitted all of their clinical supervision hours that were completed in a group format. Once registered, a grandparented registrant requiring additional clinical supervision to meet the independent practice requirements must complete half of the outstanding clinical supervision hours in an individual or dyadic format.

Practitioners who applied through grandparenting could include group clinical supervision that included up to 12 supervisees.

Regular Route and Other Applicants

At least 50 per cent of clinical supervision hours required to transfer to the Registered Psychotherapist category and to achieve independent practice must be completed in an individual or dyadic format. The remaining 50 per cent may be group supervision, including structured peer group supervision.

Currently, up to 20 per cent of group supervision hours (i.e. a maximum of 30 hours, out of 150 total hours) can be completed in groups of nine to 12 supervisees, provided the clinical supervisor attests that learning is promoted for all supervisees in the group. All remaining group supervision hours can include up to eight supervisees.

Effective April 1, 2022, CRPO will only accept reported clinical group supervision hours that occurred in a group size of eight or fewer supervisees . The public is better protected by practitioners receiving high-quality supervision through smaller group sizes.

Clinical Supervisor Attestation

When a registrant or applicant wants to report hours of clinical supervision which took place on or after April 1, 2018, they can point their supervisors to the Clinical Supervisor Attestation form. On the attestation form, supervisors must:

  • Attest to the supervision provided
  • Attest to their qualifications to provide clinical supervision

Clinical supervisors (regardless of college affiliation) are asked to download and save the fillable form, type in their answers, and email the form to their supervisee. The supervisee then uploads the completed form to the “Documents” tab of their CRPO user account for review by staff. CRPO cannot accept forms directly from clinical supervisors themselves.

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Directed Learning Activities in Providing Clinical Supervision

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 use the clinical supervisor criteria as baseline guideposts in cultivating their practice as a supervisor.

To improve their range and competence in providing effective clinical supervision, registrants should 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.

Clinical supervision is a key aspect in the establishment of competent professionals. You have a responsibility to provide competent clinical supervision which includes assessing the knowledge, skill and judgment of supervisees, evaluating their needs and responding to those needs with appropriate and timely clinical supervision, which may include feedback and consultation, among other things, as negotiated between you and the supervisee.

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Frequency of Clinical Supervision

Professional Practice Standard 4.2: Practising with Clinical Supervision addresses the frequency that registrants should receive clinical supervision:

Members required to practise with clinical supervision participate meaningfully in such a way as to promote the purpose and effectiveness of clinical supervision.

Supervision hours should occur at regular intervals in relation to client contact hours. Determining “regular intervals” will depend on individual circumstances, as set out in the supervision agreement. It is not appropriate, however, to accumulate required clinical supervision hours over a short period of time, i.e. to clump them together; hours should be spaced out over time in relation to client contact hours. For example, unless clinical circumstances require more supervision, it is considered appropriate for Qualifying Members to obtain one clinical supervision hour per four or five direct client contact hours.[1]For RPs who are required to practise with clinical supervision, it is generally considered appropriate to obtain one clinical supervision hour per ten hours of direct client contact.[2]The suggested ratios are guidelines only.

When required clinical supervision hours have been completed, Members continue to meet with their supervisor on a regular basis, until such time as they have been notified by the College that they have met all of the requirements for ‘independent practice’, i.e. practice without clinical supervision.

[1] This ratio is based on the requirement of Qualifying Members to complete 450 direct client contact hours and 100 hours of clinical supervision in order to be registered as an RP.
[2] This ratio is based generally on the requirement of RPs to have completed a total of 1,000 direct client contact hours and 150 hours of clinical supervision, in order to be able to practise without clinical supervision, i.e. independently.

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