Professor welcomes recognition of social work as mental health profession

A change in Ontario law to allow registered social workers to use the title “psychotherapist” will protect the public while ensuring greater access to mental health services, says Robin Wright, director of the UWindsor School of Social Work.

Robin WrightThe provincial government passed the controlled act of psychotherapy as a component of the Psychotherapy Act, 2007, in December after a 10-year campaign by the Ontario Association of Social Workers. It makes psychotherapy a health profession regulated by the provincial government.

The landmark legislation will “ensure greater public protection by identifying that the practice of psychotherapy will be carried out by highly-trained registered social workers and other designated regulated professionals,” Dr. Wright says.

“This achievement is an outstanding recognition by the Ontario government of the contribution that social workers make in practice and research on the impact of mental health conditions on physical health and social well-being in our communities.”

In a letter to its members, the association said “the provision of these services has always been core to social work practice and failure to have this recognition posed the serious risk of downgrading how the public perceive our scope of practice.”