Psychology is both a science and a profession. As a science, psychology can broadly be described as the study of human behaviour, emotion, and thought. It includes the study of personality, how people develop from early life through late adulthood, biological bases of behaviour, and how we as humans function and adapt within various contexts such as work, families, and social relationships. Psychology also focuses on understanding mental health difficulties as well as links between mental and physical well-being. Importantly, psychology involves understanding both normal human experience as well as mental health difficulties.
Professionals in psychology provide clinical services to the public in areas such as clinical / counseling psychology, neuropsychology, school psychology, and forensic psychology. Practitioners have defined scopes of practice working with populations such as children, adolescents, adults, seniors, couples, families, and organizations. Services provided include psychological assessment, diagnosis, and interventions such as psychotherapy (or, “therapy”) focused on a wide range of issues including disorders of mental health as well as optimization of one’s sense of life satisfaction, relationships, life at work etc. Psychologists work in a number of settings including: private practices, hospitals, clinics, schools, prisons, and military settings.
The broad-based understanding of human experience provides a core aspect of the training of a psychologist. Practitioners have then built on the core knowledge base extensive training for clinical practice such as therapy, intervention, and psychological assessment and diagnosis. The training of a doctoral-level psychologist, for example, includes: an undergraduate degree in psychology from a recognized university, completion of a graduate level doctoral degree including the completion of a pre-doctoral clinical internship, and one year of post-graduate supervised practice. This rigorous training process typically takes approximately 10-11 years of study.
This web-site provides a searchable directory of professional psychologists and psychological associates who are members of the Ottawa Academy of Psychology. To locate a Ottawa psychology practitioner please click here.
Psychology practitioners in Ontario must be registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. There are two professional titles within the psychology profession in Ontario: Psychologists and Psychological Associates. Psychologists are licensed on the basis of a doctoral degree. Psychological Associates are licensed on the basis of a Master’s degree. Both provide a wide range of clinical services, within each practitioner’s scope of practice as approved by the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
Psychologists and Psychological Associates are regulated health service providers, registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario to practice psychology in Ontario, within the framework of the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), 1991, the Health Professions Procedural Code under the RHPA and the Psychology Act, 1991.
The College maintains a register of all currently registered Psychologists and Psychological Associates. This information is available through the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
To qualify for registration, each member must:
- meet rigorous educational and training requirements for entry to the profession,
- successfully complete a standardized comprehensive written examination,
- successfully complete a written examination of ethics and jurisprudence in the province of Ontario, and
- successfully complete an oral examination designed to evaluate readiness for professional practice and knowledge of ethics and standards
As regulated health providers, Psychologists and Psychological Associates are required by law to deliver competent, ethical and professional services and are accountable to the public, through the College of Psychologists of Ontario, for their professional behaviour and activities. As members of the College, Psychologists and Psychological Associates must:
- meet rigorous professional entry requirements,
- adhere to prescribed standards, guidelines and ethical principles,
- participate in quality assurance activities to continually update and improve their knowledge and skills.
In contrast, the College has no jurisdiction over unregulated service providers. For unlicensed service providers, there is no regulatory body to set minimum levels of education, training and competence or to establish and monitor professional and ethical standards of conduct and hold unregulated providers accountable for the services they provide.
Some Psychologists and Psychological Associates employ unregulated providers in their practice. When supervised by a regulated professional, the legal and ethical responsibility for all services provided remains fully with the regulated professional. In this way, accountability to ensure professional, competent and ethical care is maintained.
Licensed Psychologists undergo approximately the same number of years of training as do Psychiatrists. Psychiatrists’ basic training is in medicine while Psychologists’ basic training is in human development and behaviour. Because Psychiatrists are physicians they may also prescribe medication, whereas Psychologists in Ontario do not.
Psychologists offer services such as individual, group, marital, or family therapy. They also provide assessment (testing), and consultations to organizations and employers.
Psychologists and Psychological Associates accept referrals from a variety of sources including family physicians, psychiatrists, social service workers, and lawyers. Importantly, clients may also contact the psychologist of their choosing directly and self-refer to book an appointment. In this way individuals may select the psychologist of their choosing and with whom they feel a good fit. It is important to note that some extended health insurance plans may require you to get a referral from a physician in order to claim reimbursements. Clients should check the requirements of their insurance plan.
There are several methods to find a psychologist who provides the services that you are looking for. This on-line listing provides a searchable directory of members of the Ottawa Academy of Psychology. Using this directory, you may locate a practitioner and narrow your search by region of the city and practice area. Other methods to finding a psychologist or psychological associate include: consulting with your family physician, checking the Yellow Pages listings, or conducting your own web search.
Most extended health insurance plans, such as those carried by numerous employers, provide at least partial coverage for psychological services to families and individuals. Because maximum yearly coverage varies considerably among insurers, individuals should inquire of their insurance companies.
The cost of the psychological services, if performed outside of a hospital, are not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).