psychotherapy- diversity and freedom of choice

I spoke yesterday with Mme Andrée Thauvette-Poupart, Président of la Société Québécoise des Psychothérapeutes Professionnels (SQPP), who told me about some of the initiatives the SQPP has recently undertaken to promote psychotherapists and various modalities of psychotherapy practiced in Quebec.  (To sign the petition asking for better access to psychotherapy services, click here.)

The SQPP has been doing amazing work collating resources to promote psychotherapy as well as sensitizing and educating insurance companies, unions and employers in Quebec so that they take steps toward a more equitable representation of psychotherapists within their organizations.  

I wish to express solidarity with the SQPP’s initiatives, its overall commitment to the diversification of the practice of psychotherapy, and its representation of all licensed psychotherapists regardless of professional order.  

I also wish to express solidarity with those therapists who may not qualify for a psychotherapist’s permit because they are not members of any professional order and with those who, in the near future, will no longer be able to apply for the acquired right to practice psychotherapy as a psychoanalyst, sexologist, etc.  

Many competent professionals with backgrounds in creative arts therapy, somatic therapy, psychoanalysis, sexology or toxicology are uniquely qualified to offer certain forms of psychotherapy to the public.  Under Bill 21, however, the public will no longer have access to their expertise as psychotherapists.

It is very curious when the people publicizing a crisis in mental health and promoting access to psychological services ("Mon cheval de bataille, c'est d'améliorer l'accès aux services psychologiques, quel que soit le niveau de revenu") are the very same people limiting access to those services. It is a public policy error to limit public access and choice of psychotherapy, and wrong of the OPQ to appropriate all therapies when psychologists are not trained or qualified in them.

The regulation of psychotherapy by the Order of Psychologists (OPQ) was justified on the grounds of 'public protection' and was followed by a campaign by the OPQ to 'not let just anyone into your head'.  But in fact this "evidence based" community has no evidence that permit-holding therapists are any less dangerous or more effective than others.  On the contrary:
...there is evidence and substantive argument that [regulation] will do more harm than good, both in the matter of public protection and to the field generally.  A number of full-length books have undermined the ‘common sense’ public protection assumption... no such extensive, thoroughly researched and cogently argued literature exists to support the decision to regulate. (Therapy Today; vol. 20/6, 2009)


  1. I have a buddy in a mental health facility that suffered from a mental breakdown. It's sad to see him in that state at first, but he's been getting a lot better. I think it's because he has such a good therapist that listens to him and what he has to say. He's been doing really good and I hope he'll be ready to leave when the time comes.

  2. I have a cousin who has been seeing a psychotherapist for a few years now. It basically saved her life. No one will let her stop going, after the improvement that we have seen in the last few years. Honestly, I thought it was just a bunch of voodoo that wouldn't do anything. http://www.stressandanxietyofnj.com/individual-psychotherapy

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    Chicago Psychotherapy