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What is psychotherapy, anyway?



Psychotherapy. Its formal definition, according to the Psychotherapy Act (2007), is: "the assessment and treatment of cognitive, emotional or behavioural disturbances by psychotherapeutic means, delivered through a therapeutic relationship based primarily on verbal or non-verbal communication.” (Psychotherapy Act 2007, c. 10, Sched. R, s. 3.)


In general, the term psychotherapy refers to any type of therapeutic treatment (or, combination of treatments) that is largely based upon a talk-based approach. By exploring, expressing, and discussing feelings, people who participate in psychotherapy become able to minimize distress and change their behaviours, habits, and attitudes to replace them with healthier or more proactive ways of coping.


Similar to counselling, psychotherapy can help improve or maintain your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Unlike counselling, psychotherapy is a controlled act. In Ontario, this means that this service is only permitted to be performed by health care professionals who are authorized to do so. In Ontario, this is a Registered Psychotherapist. This means that the services that a Registered Psychotherapist provides must be competent, ethical, and of quality. These duties stem from an RP's licensure with a regulatory college called the CRPO (College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario).


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