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Consultation begins to designate psychotherapy as regulated health profession

May 24, 2024 at 2:35 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

The Province is introducing changes to increase patient safety and create more consistent care delivery for people accessing mental-health services as consultation begins to designate those who offer psychotherapy as a regulated health profession under the Health Professions Act.

The practise of psychotherapy is used to treat mental-health conditions, disorders and psychological problems, which can involve directly treating a patient’s psyche. Those who offer psychotherapy with a focus on patients’ mental health may include some individuals currently using titles such as clinical counsellors, counselling therapists and psychotherapists.

“Taking care of our mental health is as important as caring for our physical health,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “By moving ahead on this consultation, we are ensuring that those who offer psychotherapy and those clinical counsellors who focus on treating mental-health conditions are recognized as health-care providers, as well as making sure they provide safe care to patients.” 

The consultation process will take place for one month, following which, government will decide on formal regulation of psychotherapy.

If psychotherapy is designated as a regulated health profession, the next step would be to regulate psychotherapy professionals under a regulatory college. This would require profession-specific regulations to be developed to assign regulatory responsibility, scope of practice and more.  If cabinet approves the proposal to designate psychotherapy, details about further aspects of regulation would become available in the future.

“Mental-health care is health care and is critical to building healthy communities,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Psychotherapists provide vital support to help people navigate mental-health challenges, so it’s important that their services are consistent, reliable and safe. That’s why we are launching consultations to regulate psychotherapy as a health profession, ensuring everyone in B.C. has access to quality and effective care.”

Regulatory colleges provide oversight and establish education requirements, licensing and other public protection measures, while ensuring the professionals they regulate are qualified, competent and follow clearly defined standards of practice and ethics. Regulating professions helps ensure patient safety, a consistent patient-complaint process and better accountability for professionals. 

Learn More:

To learn more about the Health Professions Act, visit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022HLTH0202-001566

To take part in the consultation, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/practitioner-professional-resources/professional-regulation

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