Scopes of Practice > Psychologists



Scope of Practice from Individual Acts

The practice of psychology is the assessment of behavioral and mental conditions, the diagnosis of neuropsychological disorders and dysfunctions and psychotic, neurotic and personality disorders and dysfunctions and the prevention and treatment of behavioral and mental disorders and dysfunctions and the maintenance and enhancement of physical, intellectual, emotional, social and interpersonal functioning.



Alternate / Additional Description of Scope

Psychologists and Psychological Associates are trained in the assessment, treatment and prevention of behavioural and mental conditions. They diagnose neuropsychological disorders and dysfunctions as well as psychotic, neurotic and personality disorders and dysfunctions. In addition, Psychologists and Psychological Associates use a variety of approaches directed toward the maintenance and enhancement of physical, intellectual, emotional, social and interpersonal functioning.

 

 

Psychologists and Psychological Associates usually focus their practice in specific areas such as clinical psychology, counselling psychology, clinical neuropsychology; school psychology; correctional/forensic psychology; health psychology; rehabilitation psychology; or industrial/organizational psychology. Within these areas a Psychologist or Psychological Associate may work with a variety of individual client populations such as children, adolescents, or adults, or may focus their attention on families, couples or organizations. They work in a range of settings including schools, hospitals, industry, social service agencies, rehabilitation facilities and correctional facilities. Many Psychologists and Psychological Associates have their own private practice.

 

A Psychologist or Psychological Associate who holds a certificate of registration authorizing autonomous practice may provide services without supervision, within his or her area of competence, and may charge a fee for these services.  While most members of the College have no explicit term, condition or limitation on their certificates of registration, some do and must practice in accordance with any such restriction.

 

The College maintains a register of all current members.  Information about an individual Psychologist or Psychological Associate may be found in the searchable Public Register or obtained from the College by telephone 416-961-8817 or by e-mail: cpo@cpo.on.ca.

 

Occasionally clients of Psychologists and Psychological Associates need to have forms completed and signed by their treating professional in order to obtain insurance reimbursement for psychological services or to qualify for some other benefit or service from an insurer or government agency. Normally both Psychologists and Psychological Associates may complete and sign such forms. If there are any questions or difficulties in having such forms accepted, please contact the College for guidance.

 

What is the Difference between Psychologists and Psychological Associates? (*See Note Below)

 The difference is in how they are trained. Both have completed an undergraduate degree and have gone on to complete a graduate degree in psychology.

 

Psychological Associates have completed a masters level degree in psychology (e.g. M.A., M.Sc., M. Ps., M.Ed.), which is then followed by four years of experience working in the scope of practice of psychology. Psychologists have completed a doctoral level degree in psychology (Ph.D., Psy.D., Ed.D., D.Psy.) which typically includes a one-year internship.

 

Both Psychologists and Psychological Associates have then completed at least one additional year of formal supervised experience approved by the College and passed the three examinations required by the College.

 

The profession of psychology in Ontario has a single scope of practice.  There is no distinction made in the legislation or in the regulations between Psychologists and Psychological Associates with respect to scope of practice or with respect to controlled/authorized acts.

 

 

All members must have knowledge and skills respecting interpersonal relationships, assessment and evaluation, intervention and consultation, understanding and applying research to professional practice and knowing and applying professional ethics, standards and relevant legislation to professional practice. Every member of the College, with the exception of individuals whose practice is limited to Industrial/ Organizational Psychology, must be competent to formulate and communicate a psychological diagnosis.

 

*Note:  In June 2009, the Federal/Provincial Agreement on Internal Trade was signed and in December 2009, the Ontario Labour Mobility Act (2009) was enacted.  As a result of this legislation, the College of Psychologists of Ontario must offer registration as a ‘Psychologist’ to individuals who have been registered as Psychologists in other Canadian jurisdictions, regardless of the level of their graduate degree in psychology.   There are some Canadian jurisdictions that award the title ‘Psychologist’ to individuals at the Masters, rather than Doctoral level.  The recent legislation requires that the College of Psychologists recognize this title for these individuals.  Therefore, while the majority of Psychologists and Psychological Associates in Ontario will have the differential training and experience described above, there are some Psychologists, who have come to Ontario from another Canadian jurisdiction, who may have a Masters degree.  Members of the College are required to indicate their degree and title in any professional correspondence, report or promotional information.



Summarized Controlled Acts

Applying or ordering the application of a form of energy (partial)

Communicating a diagnosis (partial)

Treating, by means of psychotherapy technique

 



Authorized Acts

4.  In the course of engaging in the practice of psychology, a member is authorized, subject to the terms, conditions and limitations imposed on his or her certificate of registration, to communicate a diagnosis identifying, as the cause of a person’s symptoms, a neuropsychological disorder or a psychologically based psychotic, neurotic or personality disorder. 1991, c. 38, s. 4.

Note: On a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor, section 4 is repealed by the Statutes of Ontario, 2007, chapter 10, Schedule R, section 18 and the following substituted:

Authorized acts

4.  In the course of engaging in the practice of psychology, a member is authorized, subject to the terms, conditions and limitations imposed on his or her certificate of registration, to perform the following:

1. To communicate a diagnosis identifying, as the cause of a person’s symptoms, a neuropsychological disorder or psychologically based psychotic, neurotic or personality disorder.

2. To treat, by means of psychotherapy technique delivered through a therapeutic relationship, an individual’s serious disorder of thought, cognition, mood, emotional regulation, perception or memory that may seriously impair the individual’s judgement, insight, behaviour, communication or social functioning. 2007, c. 10, Sched. R, s. 18.

See: 2007, c. 10, Sched. R, ss. 18, 20 (2).