Psychiatrists & Psychotherapy



The topic: Psychiatrists and psychotherapy elicited strong emotions among psychiatrists, and others and I wonder whether this is for the right reasons.

Dr. Ari Zaretsky in today’s Globe and Mail imho hit the nail on the head.

…in the end it is about the client’s needs.

These are my sentiments:

We are getting there eventually, but only if all of us working as mental health professionals perceive every single one profession within our field as contributing equally whether we are Social Workers, Psychologists, Counsellors & (Psycho)therapists, and I include Psychiatrists. Rather than protecting our own club, we then may be capable to working together and to distribute our resources to the patients/clients based on their needs. Some need short term, others long term and many require more intensive therapy at the start followed up by less sessions spread out over a longer time.

Quite a number of people commented on the article published in the Globe and Mail on Monday April 22, 2019: Psychiatrists shouldn’t have a monopoly over psychotherapy. Some are from people who are not well informed on research and on who really does most of the psycho-therapy in Canada. I could not have said it better than Claire Watson and Matt Cahill. Please read below:

It’s heartwarming to hear from Dr. Zaretsky that psychiatrists do not have a monopoly on providing effective psychotherapy.

What he didn’t point out is that there already exists an entire profession dedicated exclusively to providing psychotherapy. In Ontario these practitioners are Registered Psychotherapists (RPs),numbering 6700, regulated by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). In other provinces these practitioners may be called counselling therapists.

Becoming registered to practice in Ontario involves several years of training at a recognized training institute plus hundreds of hours of client work and supervised practicum.

RPs have the expertise among them to work with any issue from depression to trauma to addiction to relationship conflict, and many others.

What people seeking help need is for RPs to become equal partners in the provision of mental health services both government-funded and covered by employee benefit plans. Given the size and scope of our profession, psychotherapy should be accessible to all who reach out for this service.

Claire Watson, RP
President, Ontario Society of Registered Psychotherapists

Another letter, published on April 24th:


The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition)April 24, 2019 Re Psychiatrists Shouldn’t Have A Monopoly Over Psychotherapy (April 22): To call Ontario’s (let alone Canada’s) mental health system a patchwork is to insult quilt-makers. There are psychiatrists and psychologists( who may or may not have training in psychotherapy), then there are psychotherapists (whose work may or may not be regulated, depending on the province). Which profession is covered by what public or private plan, and for whom, is an ordeal: Only psychiatrists are covered by OHIP, for example, yet for some reason, social workers are covered by far more private plans than psychotherapists.

The battle over which therapeutic approach is more effective puts the cart before the horse: There is too little public access to trained professionals, with grave consequences for some who cannot gain access. Meanwhile, demand is growing. Let individuals decide on the approach; in my experience as both a therapist and someone who has been in long term personal therapy as part of my training, psychotherapy works best when the “fit” is good; it’s not about which style is supposedly better than the other.

The most important point is the primacy of allowing Canadians the ability to gain access to psychotherapy in the first place.

Matt Cahill Psychotherapist, Toronto

4 thoughts on “Psychiatrists & Psychotherapy

    1. You are so right Marty!

      It is kind of frustrating because I am sure so many agree that 1) we do not have to invent the wheel as we can follow examples of UK, Australia, US, and others. 2) There is international research available that consistently confirms that there are no clinical significant differences in outcomes across approaches. 3) Most agree that mental health professionals have something important in common: They want the best for their clients, but so many seem to want to argue that they as a group of professionals are superior over others while there is no evidence for that. 4) We are not getting anywhere if we are not working together…and we need to do exactly that…working together and not asking government to sort out these issues.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This spoke to me because my wife’s psychiatrist is very open and transparent about *all* medical disciplines working together with mental health issues. In particular he’s talked about how in his opinion, GP’s are the ones truly on the front lines. He said it starts with them, which I think is true.

        Thanks, Elizabeth. Very illuminating post.

        Liked by 1 person

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