Professional Practice Update: Use of the Title “Psychotherapist” and Other Announcements

In this update:

The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College) is pleased to share the following updates and resources to support members’ practice.

Use of the Title “Psychotherapist”

Members of the College are authorized to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy in compliance with the Social Work and Social Service Work Act (SWSSWA), its regulations and bylaws.

College members may use the title “psychotherapist,” provided that they also note their membership in the College or the titles restricted to them as a member of the College. College membership and/or the protected title must come before the term “psychotherapist.” For example: “Your Name, Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist.”

Visit the College’s website for more information on performing the controlled act of psychotherapy, as well as examples of the proper use of the title “psychotherapist” on business cards and email signatures.

Clarification to Insurance Providers Regarding the Title “Psychotherapist”

The Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) recently informed the College that they have received numerous reports related to insurance claims for psychotherapy services provided by social workers being denied by insurance providers. Both the College and the OASW share the concern that refusal of these claims creates barriers to client care and is a matter of public protection.

In response, the College sent a letter to nearly 20 insurance companies explaining that College members are authorized to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy and can refer to themselves as psychotherapists (subject to certain conditions) and that College members are the largest group of providers of psychotherapy and mental health supports in Ontario. The College hopes that the information provided to these companies will allow them to reconsider their reimbursement policies and practices.

If members encounter insurance providers who are not reimbursing clients for their services, they can:

  • send a copy of this eBulletin to inform the provider that College members are qualified to provide psychotherapy services and authorized to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy (in compliance with the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 its regulations and bylaws); and
  •  inform insurance providers to contact the Professional Practice Department at for clarification on members’ scope of practice.

Frequently Asked Questions on Practising in Another Province or Jurisdiction

The College continues to receive a high number of inquiries related to practising in another province or jurisdiction. As previously noted in communications to members, the College has developed frequently asked questions to offer some guidance on this topic, including whether members are allowed to practise in other provinces/jurisdictions and if members currently not living in Ontario can provide care to Ontario-based clients. For the full list of FAQs on practising in another province or jurisdiction, visit the College’s website.

Please contact the Professional Practice Department at for all practice-related inquiries.

Reminder: 2022 CCP Required Readings

As part of the 2022 Continuing Competence Program (CCP), you are required to review – along with the Standards of Practice – the following practice resources:

Please note: The CCP is mandatory for all members of the College (except those holding a retired class of certificate of registration), and includes those who are not currently practising, are members of the inactive class, are on maternity, parental or sick leave, or who registered late in the year.

Visit the College website for more information on CCP learning activities, documents, evaluation, frequently asked questions and more. For all CCP-related inquiries, please contact the Professional Practice Department at

Free Learning Resources Available Through the OASW Learning Centre

The OASW continues to offer free professional development and educational opportunities though the OASW Learning Centre. These resources are available to both social workers and social service workers.

Participation in these professional development sessions can be used towards the completion of the CCP.

The free learning resources available include webinars, online courses, and a seminar series. Visit the OASW Learning Centre website for more information.