With the increase of “busy-ness” overwhelming many, and the limited time and opportunities for people to forge and maintain authentic relationships with open and honest communication, the stressors of everyday, and sometimes much more are piling up. Mental wellness is crucial for navigating through today’s challenges and building our self worth and resiliency are key, but we can’t always do these things alone, or tackle the tougher issues like anxiety, depression, addiction without professional guidance. Finding the right practitioner can be confusing, but it’s important to take the first step and start the conversation.
Why would I choose a Registered Psychotherapist?
When searching for a mental health care practitioner, at some point we will most probably become overwhelmed and confused by all the terminology, all those abbreviations following the name, wondering whether it’s important that there’s a “Dr.” before the name, and maybe asking ourselves, so what really is the difference between a “counsellor” or “therapist” (two different terms used interchangeably), “psychiatrist”, “psychologist” and “psychotherapist”?
First, let’s clarify what calling oneself a “Registered Psychotherapist” really means.
In December of 2017, the “controlled act of psychotherapy” was put into force in Ontario, meaning that mental health practitioners in Ontario could no longer call themselves “psychotherapist” and use this title interchangeably with “counsellor” (as many had often done prior to this) and that only those registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) were deemed qualified to use this title and practice psychotherapy.
The whole intention behind this new legislation is to PROTECT THE PUBLIC, ensuring that when seeking psychotherapy, people can be 100% confident with their search and that when choosing a Registered Psychotherapist, they can know, without a doubt, that they are seeing a qualified and competent professional who abides by very strict ethical standards and whose practices were are being consistently monitored by the CRPO. And the great news is that as of September 2019, Registered Psychotherapy has been added to most Extended Health Coverage (EHC) packages (also know as benefits plans) in the Halton region!
A counsellor and psychotherapist may have similar educational backgrounds and they may overlap in many similar techniques, but experience is usually the main factor in choosing a psychotherapist over a counsellor. Psychotherapy is more treatment based, focusing on diagnosable mental health issues and symptoms that are significantly negatively impacting one or more aspects of your life, usually resulting in longer term, in-depth work. Counselling tends to be more wellness oriented, helping clients gain insight into everyday challenges and issues and learning ways to cope. A Registered Psychotherapist can act as a counsellor as well and their approach will change according to presenting problems and goals of their client.
Now if we consider a psychologist or a psychiatrist, these are the practitioners with a Dr. title and they focus primarily of research, assessing, diagnosing and prescribing medications (solely psychiatrists are qualified to prescribe medications as they have a medical background). EHC usually includes registered psychologists in their packages as well, whereas a psychiatrist is usually the “specialist” that family doctors refer their patients to (as they are covered by OHIP) and these visits primarily result in a medication prescription (which is also very important and helpful for some cases, but definitely not for all). Despite this, the amazing news is that most family doctors are now also becoming aware of the vital role that psychotherapy plays in the integrative treatment of their patients, recognizing the role and connection of the mind and body. So, we are slowly welcoming more and more doctor referrals and are excited to see this shift and change in the new wave of integrative health.
Adriana Komorniczak, M.C.P., R.P., is a Registered Psychotherapist who has been working in private practice since 2011, specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression and self-esteem related challenges. She has vast experience in treating trauma, stress-management, anger-management, substance abuse and disordered eating. She offers training in assertiveness, conflict resolution and strength based parenting.
Adriana is now accepting new clients and can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for an initial consult.