B.C. moves to regulate psychotherapy to give oversight for counsellors, therapists | CBC News

Psychotherapy could soon be a regulated health profession in British Columbia, according to the province’s Ministry of Health.

The province is proposing changes to the Health Professions Act to regulate psychotherapy, so that those in the field, including people who use titles such as clinical counselor, counseling therapist and psychotherapist, are subject to government oversight.

The provincial government says that consult with the public over the next month and then decide whether to formally regulate psychotherapy.

If the province decides to regulate, a new regulatory college will be formed and regulations will be created regarding liability, scope of practice and more.

Right now, anyone can call themselves a therapist and advertise their services to British Columbians seeking support for their mental and emotional health. They do not need any training and there is no official body with legal powers that can hold them accountable for any damage they may cause.

Erika Penner, a clinical psychologist and director of public advocacy for the British Columbia Psychological Association, said she’s not sure why those who practice psychotherapy in British Columbia aren’t regulated.

“Psychologists have been regulated in our province for over 20 years and we see the difference that makes in terms of ensuring quality of services,” Penner said. On the coast guest host Amy Bell.

People who practice psychotherapy can voluntarily join associations, according to Federation of Associations of Counseling Therapists in British Columbia (FACTBC) president Nicole Le Bihan.

But professional associations run into conflict because, as Le Bihan points out, they exist to oversee and protect their members.

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“Because being part of a professional association is voluntary, there could be many professionals who don’t have any oversight,” he told CBC. The first edition host Stephen Quinn.

“If the government requires you to be part of a regulatory college, if you don’t comply with the regulations, then you won’t be able to continue practicing.”

DATABC called to the province regulate psychotherapy as a matter of public interest in 2020. Le Bihan said regulation will help protect the public from harm.

“Patients will understand, if they go to a psychotherapist, what that means,” he said.

“Just like when we go to a doctor or a nurse, we understand that… there is a certain code of ethics and expectations around their education, their skills and competencies, and their scope of practice.”

He said the first step is to define what psychotherapy actually includes.

“Psychotherapy works with mental health disorders or mental health issues or problems, psychological challenges,” he said. “There are so many different modalities and theories of change within the field of psychotherapy.”

Regulation will “legitimize” the profession, says FACTBC president

One of the added benefits of regulating psychotherapy, Le Bihan said, is that it will lend credibility to the profession and mental health care as a whole.

“If psychotherapy is designated as a health care profession, then it will be much more legitimized and that would be ideal. Mental health is just as important as physical health,” he said.

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix echoed those sentiments.

“Taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health,” Dix said.

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“By progressing this consultation, we are ensuring that those offering psychotherapy and clinical counselors who focus on the treatment of mental health conditions are recognized as healthcare providers, as well as ensuring they provide safe care to patients.”

LISTEN | Psychotherapy could soon be regulated in British Columbia

The first edition8:13Regulation of psychotherapy in BC

Therapist and president of FACT BC Nicole Le Bihan says regulating the psychotherapy industry will improve patient safety. The Province announced plans to regulate psychotherapists on May 24.

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