Psychotherapists in Quebec to Meet Challenge of Regulation

A GoodTherapy.org News Update

The idea of government regulation of mental health professions, especially where therapy is concerned, has long been an issue of considerable contention for those in the practice. Laws, paperwork, and the stress that can often accompany either are widely variable throughout the country and the world, where in many places the rules have been relatively loose for quite some time. One such place is the Canadian province of Quebec, where regulations have been remarkably lax for years, as legislation to introduce official control was tabled during the dissolution of the National Assembly in 2007. But this modern, urban, and bustling region is getting ready to embrace the benefits –as well as the setbacks– of regulation for the mental health industry.

One of the key concerns serving as an impetus for the introduction of regulation in the area has been the fact that anyone, regardless of background or qualification, is able to market themselves to potential clients as a “psychotherapist.” With many untrained individuals passing off their amateur, or agenda-driven work as professional psychotherapy, local therapists have noted that clients have often found it difficult to navigate the sea of advertisements and assurances.

Under the new laws, only those professionals with the proper licensing as psychologists, social workers, doctors, family and educational counselors and so on will be able to retain the title of “psychotherapist.” All of those wishing to present the title must also have a post-graduate degree. Legislators, as well as local professionals, hope that these measures will help ensure that Quebec’s psychotherapy clients are able to make informed and confident decisions when it comes to finding a therapist. Though working with regulation can be a frustrating process as professionals toil to fit the imposed mold, the overall winners in the scheme –the clients– are bound to find it worthwhile.

© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Christina

    Christina

    May 11th, 2009 at 2:55 AM

    This will help people who need to seek a therapist in Quebec to feel more confident in the therapist they choose.

  • Austin

    Austin

    May 11th, 2009 at 4:23 AM

    This is so bad. Are there not any accrediting agencies in Canada who can stop this type of misuse of terms by quack doctors out there?

  • Mel

    Mel

    May 12th, 2009 at 1:56 AM

    Amen Austin! Anyone who is willing to help people and be therapists should get all the training and the appropriate degree so the people who need help get their money’s worth. It’s a shame that anyone can just become a therapist and have no clue on what they are doing.

  • Cole

    Cole

    May 12th, 2009 at 3:37 AM

    Same in Canada as it is everywhere else. When it comes to choosing any doctor, choose wisely and do your reserach. Know the licensing procedures for any particular field and determine if the therapist or doctor that you have chosen does meet those standards. Look at the people who have died because they chose physicians without doing any type of investigation or research into his background. Think about that the next time you are spilling your secrets to your therapists and decide if this is really a person you feel comfortable doing this with.

  • Olivia

    Olivia

    May 14th, 2009 at 2:27 AM

    I am dismayed that even industrialized countries like the United States and Canada are having problems like these! There has to be a better way of keeping our eyes open to those who are out there definitely doing more harm than good by posing as professionals that they are not and leading people to conclusions about their backgrounds and experience that are not necessarily true. Do they not realize how unsafe, unfair, and potentially dangerous their actions like these can be? Patients trust them and rely upon them. What if they make suggestions that do place someone in harm’s way? Will they then be held accountable for the outcome?

  • Laura

    Laura

    May 14th, 2009 at 3:05 AM

    You are right on, Cole. Whether we live in Canada or not, we really need to do our home work when it comes to finding a doctor, therapist, etc. I would hate to have some kind of mishap just because I didn’t do my research.

  • Georgia

    Georgia

    May 15th, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    Very disheartening

  • Brit

    Brit

    May 19th, 2009 at 2:32 AM

    I can’t even imagine having work done by an unprofessional. I think I would go totally ballistic if I found out the doctor I was seeing was fake.

  • Garrett

    Garrett

    May 19th, 2009 at 8:48 AM

    My parents still live in Canada, I left several years ago. I do not care what anyone says- they are scared to death that all of this new regulation is only going to send the unprofessionals underground. Things may be more expensive here but at least most of the time you know that you are getting what you pay for. The Canadian system is not always like that. Just goes to show that no matter where you are you just can’t let your guard down.

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