Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a psychologist?

Psychologists study how we think, feel and behave from a scientific viewpoint and apply this knowledge to help people understand, explain and change their behaviour.  In Ontario,the term psychologist applies to those who have completed a doctoral degree in psychology and at least one year of supervised professional practice as a provider of psychological services. This means that, on average, psychologist commit about 11 years to their education and training. Psychologists are regulated as health service providers who work as clinicians, teachers, and researchers in various settings. Services provided by psychologists include assessment, therapy, consultation, and research. for more information on psychologist and the services they provide, please visit the official websites of the College of Psychologist of Ontario and the Canadian Psychological Asssociation.

2. What is a psychological associate?


A psych associate has completed an undergraduate degree and completed a graduate degree in psychology.

Psych associates have completed a masters level degree in psychology (e.g. M.A., M.Sc., M.Ps., M.Ed.), which is then followed by four years of experience working in the scope of practice of psychology.  Some psych Associates have been granted permission to use the title of Psycholgist, based on registration in other provinces, but do not hold a PhD and thus are not doctors.

3. What is the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist?

As stated above, a psychologist is a regulated health service provider who has been awarded a Doctoral degree in psychology; and completed at least one year of supervised practice. Psychologists are governed by the College of Psychologists of Ontario. A psychiatrist is also a regulated health service provider. However, a psychiatrist is a physician who has completed a medical degree (M.D.) as well as additional training in mental health. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication; psychologist cannot. The services of psychiatrists are covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP); the services of psychologists are not.

4. What does it mean to be a registered psychologist or psychological associate?

To practice psychology in Ontario, a person must hold a current certificate of registration form the College of Psychologist of Ontario; the regulatory body for the profession. Under the authority of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and practitioners; psychologist and psychological associates.

5. What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy involves talking with a psychology service provider about thoughts, feelings, and behaviour that may be causing problems in day-to-day life. The therapist helps people gain insight into their feelings, change behaviours, resolve problems or learn how to deal with feelings like stress, grief, loss, fear, and sadness. Psychotherapy is sometimes combined with homework assignments between sessions.

6. When should I seek psychological services?

Psychology services are helpful in the assessment and resolution of problems that interfere with day-to-day life. Psychological services may be helpful for most for most people at some point in their lives.