Canadian College of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists

The Canadian College of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists (CCPCP) is a national, voluntary, self-regulatory college dedicated to protecting the rights of public consumers of mental health services.  Membership is made up of professionals who demonstrate a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of ethics and competence in the delivery of mental health services.

CCPCP’s ‘inclusive model’ is open to practitioners from a variety of educational backgrounds and disciplines including counsellors and therapists, nurses, educators, life coaches, theologians and other professionals.  The college brings together qualified practitioners committed to protecting the public’s interest by providing the highest standard of mental health care for the clients we serve.   And we welcome you to join us.

Interprovincial members of this national college mix and mingle with others in the field either virtually, or in professional and leisure settings. Imagine an organization that connects experts, interns, and students from a wide variety of mental health subjects.  The power of a diverse membership is a valuable asset, providing individual members information and mentoring opportunities from other areas of expertise.


Open Letter from the Board of Directors regarding the role of National, Self-Regulation of Mental Health Providers

September 18, 2017 - The Canadian College of Professional Counselling and Psychotherapy (CCPCP) Board of Directors would like to take this opportunity to discuss an alternative view point to mandated provincial regulation of the mental health industry in Canada.

The CCPCP does not question whether regulation of the industry is necessary, rather how to structure the regulation. This letter will outline the ideological and practical differences between national, self-regulation (represented by the CCPCP) vs. provincial statutory regulations. 

The CCPCP was established as the result of an ongoing debate on how best to safeguard the public, without restricting access to the wide range of competency-based counsellors, psychotherapists, and mental health practitioners.   The collaborative result was the formulation of the Canadian College of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists, registered in 2006, as a national self- governing, regulatory college under the Canada Corporations Act (Not for Profit).   

Until recently, the regulation of mental health services in most provinces (with the exception of Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario) relied on self-regulation through the CCPCP, and professional associations who oversee the ethical conduct of their members. 

The provincial Ministries of Health were typically responsible for regulating health care providers such as doctors, nurses, chiropractors, etc.; whose roles are clearly defined and easily identified as belonging within the scope of practice of that profession.

Handing the regulation of the mental health industry over to the provincial law makers is questionable due to the fact that mental health providers are NOT a homogenous group.  Ours is a heterogeneous profession consisting of different, gradient and blended modalities applicable to a wide variance in cultural and geographic needs; making it virtually impossible to regulate under the one set of constructs.   Allowing only certain types of counsellors to practice (as defined by legislation) would limit consumer access to the full spectrum of mental health providers.  The only quantifiable benefit of provincial regulation would go to the restricted group of practitioners allowed to practice under the protected title. 

Outcome studies show that the efficacy of the counselling experience is based in large part on the therapist’s ability to form a therapeutic alliance with the client.   This ability is made up of a combination of variables including competency-based training, use of the ‘self’ in the counselling session, and genuineness of the therapist; qualities that are demonstrated through a broad spectrum of service providers representing diverse aspects of the industry. 

Although not meant to supersede provincial regulations, the CCPCP plays an important role in regulating the industry; fulfilling the mandate required by both the Canada Health Act, and the Canada Agreement of Internal Trade to protect consumers without limiting their access to competent mental health services.  CCPCP members represent different backgrounds, experience, and cultures yet share high ethical standards, and a strong commitment to safeguarding the wellbeing of their clients.  This self-governed national college provides a regulatory platform for all types of competent mental health providers including those whose services fall outside the bounds of a regulated title, (such as addictions, vocational, and spiritual care counsellors),  and practitioners residing in provinces where a legislated college does not exist.                             

CCPCP’s inclusive membership is open to all qualified professionals within a broad spectrum of education and experience.  Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in core areas of competence;
  • pass the qualifying examination;
  • complete competency-based training and a minimum of two years supervised clinical experience;
  • hold liability insurance;
  • submit letters of reference from supervisors and colleagues;
  • undergo a criminal records check and be approved to work with vulnerable populations. 

After a careful screening process, successful applicants receive professional designation that demonstrates their commitment to maintaining high ethical standards and best practices of care.  Complaints related to a breach of ethical conduct are investigated using the fair and thorough protocol outlined in the bylaws.

Because the CCPCP’s primary role is to serve in a regulatory capacity, membership is not meant to be exclusive of other organizations.  Many CCPCP members also obtain dual membership and multiple designations from various professional associations.

The current trend toward provincial regulation of the mental health industry impacts us all.  We’d like to hear your thoughts on this important issue, and encourage you to send feedback to your local MLA.  

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the CCPCP Board of Directors. 

Karen Kuchta,
CCPCP Registrar 

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