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Psychotherapy is primarily a talk-based therapy and is intended to help people improve and maintain their mental health and well-being. Registered psychotherapists work with individuals, couples and families in individual and group settings. Psychotherapy occurs when the registered psychotherapist (RP) and clients(s) enter into a psychotherapeutic relationship where both work together to bring about positive change in the clients' thinking, feeling, behaviour and social functioning. Individuals usually seek psychotherapy when they have thoughts, feelings, moods and behaviours that are adversely affecting their day-to-day lives, relationships and their ability to enjoy life.

In psychotherapy clients should be able to observe the following key elements over the course of their work with RP:

—a conversation about the benefits, risks and expected outcomes(s) of the psychotherapy and the opportunity to give their informed consent

—a clearly communicated, mutually agreed upon a goal or plan for the psychotherapy

—each therapy session has a clear beginning and a clear end where problems or concerns are presented and discussed and outcomes are explored

—The Registered Psychotherapist demonstrates the appropriate use of boundaries to create a safe and confidential environment. These important elements are part of the effective client-therapist psychotherapeutic relationship that is the foundation of psychotherapy. Through this relationship, RPs are expected to:

—ensure that the client’s well-being is at the forefront of the relationship;

—work with the client(s) to gather relevant information that will support the formulation of a plan for psychotherapy;

—continuously evaluate outcomes of each session and the impact on the overall treatment goal(s);

—practise safe and effective use of self throughout the psychotherapeutic process; and adhere to the standards of practice for the profession What to Expect from a Registered Psychotherapist.

—When you seek the services of a Registered Psychotherapist, you can expect to receive competent, ethical, quality care from a qualified professional who is registered with CRPO.

—RPs are accountable to CRPO for the quality of care they provide and for their professional conduct. Only individuals who are registered with CRPO are able to use the title “psychotherapist,” “Registered Psychotherapist” or any abbreviation or variation thereof in any language, or to hold themselves out as qualified to practise as a psychotherapist in Ontario (no matter what title they use).

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