Counselling and Psychotherapy

What are Counselling and Psychotherapy?

Counselling is “the skilled and principled use of relationship to facilitate self- knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth and the optimal development of personal resources” (Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association). In contrast, “the practice of psychotherapy is the assessment and treatment of cognitive, emotional, or behavioural disturbances by psychotherapeutic means, delivered through a therapeutic relationship based primarily on verbal or non-verbal communication” (College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario - CRPO). Other regulated healthcare professionals like registered social workers and occupational therapists may also practice psychotherapy. Un-registered counsellors may not practice psychotherapy in Ontario.

Regulated by: Psychotherapists
College of Psychologists of Ontario
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
Educational Path Appropriate training in psychotherapy Master and PhD in Clinical Psychology Medicine (MD)
Scope of Practice Psychotherapy
Assessment, not diagnosis
Psychotherapy Diagnosis Psychotherapy


What are the common requirements to become a Registered Psychotherapist?

All applicants must complete the following:

  • A recognized education and training program in psychotherapy
  • 30 hours of competency development in safe and effective use of self (SEUS), normally part of the educational program
  • 450 direct client hours, can be part of the educational program
  • 100 hours of clinical supervision
  • The Professional Practice & Jurisprudence e-Learning Module
  • The registration exam

Start Early!
Graduate programs in psychotherapy/counselling require a minimum B average. Many look for demonstrated interest in psychotherapy on your application.

Improve your GPA:
Visit the AA&CC and the Centre for Teaching & Learning to improve your academic skills.


Cultivate References:
Get to know your professors. Their research is interesting! Professors who know you fairly well are able to write strong reference letters for you.

Get Involved:
Join volunteer and cocurricular activities that demonstrate your skills and ongoing interest in a career in psychotherapy.

Looking for Related Experience?
You can find volunteer and paid opportunities in Also watch your email for messages from your department about opportunities to get involved.

Recognized Educational Programs

The CRPO pre-approves training programs. A few of these include:

  • University of Toronto/OISE, Master of Education in Counselling & Psychotherapy
  • University of Guelph, Master of Science in Family and Couple Therapy
  • Yorkville University, Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology
  • Tyndale University, Master of Divinity in Counselling
  • Gestalt Institute of Toronto, 5-Year Training Program

Remember to check CRPO’s website for the most up-to-date list of programs.

What are the common academic requirements for Master’s programs in counselling/psychotherapy?

The CRPO pre-approves training programs. A few of these include:

  • 4-year bachelor’s degree from a recognized university; some programs may require a major in psychology and an undergraduate honours thesis (senior research project)
  • Mid-B (3.0 GPA) average or better in your last 5-10 credits/last 1-2 years of study
  • Training in statistics/research methods is recommended
  • At least 1 year of relevant experience (voluntary and/or paid)

Note: admission to programs leading to a PhD (Psychologist licensing) requires a higher GPA

What supporting documents may be required?

The CRPO pre-approves training programs. A few of these include:

  • Official transcripts from all previous postsecondary education
  • Letters of reference (up to three) from professors and/or work/volunteer supervisors
  • Statement of Intent/Personal Statement
  • Resume or CV

What should I include in my personal statement?

The CRPO pre-approves training programs. A few of these include:

  • Your interest in counselling and psychotherapy
  • Your future goals and career path, as well as why their school in particular fits your goal
  • What you will contribute to the program
  • Related knowledge, experience and skills, including community involvement
  • Research interests (where applicable)

Other programs and paths to consider

Watch for an additional CRPO category upcoming, called Mental Health Therapists. The training for these professionals should be similar to the following college programs:

  • Addiction and Mental Health Worker
  • Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate
  • Social Service Worker
  • Child and Youth Worker

Paying for a Counselling and/or Psychotherapy Program 

Annual tuition for Ontario students ranges $4,600-15,000. Remember to ask about scholarships and bursaries!  You might also find financial support here

Where can I find more information and resources?

College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario
Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP)

Application & Personal Statement Resources

The AA&CC can help!

Attend the Graduate & Professional Schools Fair, go to a Preparing for Professional & Graduate School workshop, or speak with a Career team member to learn how to get relevant experience!

Please Note: While this page aims to ensure accuracy, requirements do change. Consider it a starting point for your further research. Visit individual program websites for detailed, up-to-date information about admission requirements and application procedures.