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The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) only covers psychotherapy services provided by a psychiatrist or a general practitioner (GP) psychotherapist. Unfortunately, services provided by other mental health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, or private practice psychotherapists are not covered by OHIP. 


This means that most people in Ontario who receive psychotherapy services have to pay for therapy out of pocket or through their private insurance plans. 


It’s a good idea to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage for psychotherapy.

The frequency of your therapy sessions depends largely on your unique situation and needs, as well as your therapist’s recommendations. Some people may benefit from weekly sessions, while others might need bi-weekly or monthly sessions. Your therapist will work with you to establish a schedule that best supports your mental health journey. 

You might consider seeking a therapist if you’re experiencing persistent sadness, anxiety, or stress, having difficulty coping with life changes, struggling with negative thoughts or unhealthy behaviours, or feeling isolated. You can also see a therapist if you are simply trying to understand yourself better or find better ways to cope with daily stress. 

In Ontario, Registered Psychotherapists (RP) can assess and treat a range of conditions, but they cannot make formal diagnosis like a psychiatrist or a psychologist. They can, however, work collaboratively with other healthcare providers to support the client’s treatment plan.

Yes, confidentiality is a fundamental part of psychotherapy. Therapists are obligated to keep information about their clients private and confidential, unless there is consent from the client to share information or if there is an immediate risk of harm to the client or others. 

While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some differences. Counselling tends to be more short-term and focuses on specific issues or life changes. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, often involves longer-term treatment and dives deeper into patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. 

Access to free psychotherapy in Ontario can depend on a variety of factors such as where you live, your income, and your specific circumstances. 


Here are some options for free or low-cost psychotherapy in Ontario:


Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) → many workplaces offer EAPs that provide free or low-cost counselling and therapy services for employees and their families. 

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works → some individuals may be eligible to receive funding for psychotherapy services through these programs. 

Outreach and Community Clinics → some free or low-cost community clinics and outreach centers may be available through local health departments, hospitals, and community health centers. 


Keep in mind that the availability and accessibility of these services can vary depending on location and resources, so you may need to check what is available in your area specifically. 

Absolutely! Therapy isn’t just for addressing problems or navigating crises. It can also be an incredibly useful tool for personal growth, self-discovery, and preventative mental health care.

When looking for a therapist, there are a few red flags to be aware of that may indicate that the therapist is not a good fit for you, or that they may not be a qualified therapist: 


Lack of credentials → A therapist should be licensed or certified to practice in the province where they are located. Be sure to check the therapist’s credentials to make sure they have the proper training and qualifications to practice therapy. 


Unprofessional behaviour → A therapist should maintain professional boundaries and conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner. red flags include: making inappropriate or personal comments, discussing their own problems or personal life, or not keeping the session focused on you. 


Inability to respect boundaries → A therapist should respect your boundaries and preferences, and not pressure you to do anything you are not comfortable with. If a therapist is not willing to respect your boundaries, or seems to have an unclear boundary, it might be a red flag. 


Lack of empathy → a therapist should be able to understand and empathize with your concerns and feelings. If a therapist seems dismissive, unresponsive, or not genuinely interested in your concerns, it might be a red flag. 


Pushy approach → a therapist should work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your individual needs and goals. 


Finding a therapist that you feel comfortable with and trust can take time, so it’s okay to shop around before making a decision. It’s also important to communicate with your therapist and raise any concerns you may have, as they can work with you to address them.