Are you prepared for the policy changes for supervision in the mental health field in Ontario?
The College of Psychologists of Ontario (or the CPO) is changing some of their policies for supervision in the mental health field and this might pertain to you if you supervise any members or non-members in your practice. In this article, we’ve outlined the changes, what requirements you can expect, and how this might affect you and your mental health practice.
The good news is that Owl Practice is equipped to help you navigate these changes. First, let’s break down the policy updates:
The Supervisor is Responsible
Based on the guidelines and policies from the College of Psychologists of Ontario, keep in mind that when you’re supervising psychological services provided by another person who is not a self-governing practice member of the College, the client they’re providing services to is considered your client. That means that you are the professional who is held responsible and you must review any actions by that service provider. This policy can include a wide variety of people including students, trainees, employees, service providers who are not members of the CPO, members providing services they’re not authorized to provide, or members holding certificates of registration authorizing supervised practice.
However, this supervisor policy does not apply to situations with individuals in roles like receptionist or secretary who assists a member with administrative tasks.
On the other hand, the supervision policy does apply to non-members who assist in performing clinical tasks that need prior training, such as interpreting test results.
What you Need to Know
1. Sign an Agreement
Before initiating any supervisor/supervisee relationship, you need to make sure that both parties have signed an individual supervision agreement. The agreement should have the following criteria:
- Date the agreement is effective
- Date the agreement is expected to expire
- Specific duties the supervisee is expected to perform
- Limitations the supervisee must adhere to
- Specific duties the supervisor is expected to perform
- Expected frequency of meetings between supervisor and supervisee
- Details as to how the supervisor will be involved in planning, monitoring, evaluating services provided to clients
- Contact information and emergency contact information for both parties
- Confirmation that the supervisee will comply to all requirements and regulations as stated in the Standards of Professional Conduct
- Procedure to obtain appropriate help in the event the supervisor is not available
2. Keep a Record
Accurate record keeping is already an essential aspect of the mental health field, and that’s also true of this policy change. You must keep a record of any supervision activity when dealing with a supervisee. The CPO states that your records must include the date and length of each meeting, identification of each client, an overview of the discussions held between supervisor and supervisee at each meeting, any instructions given by the supervisor to the supervisee, and notes pertaining to the supervisee’s strengths and progress for further development.
Don’t forget that you must also keep your records for two full years after the last meeting between supervisee and supervisor!
3. Supervising Other Members
If you’re the supervisor of another practice member, remember that you must provide training, guidance, and mentoring to assist the supervisee in the registration process. As the supervisor, you must also co-sign all documents related to psychological services prepared by the supervisee including psychological reports and formal correspondence.
4. Supervising Non-Members
If you’re going to supervise someone who isn’t a member of the CPO, there are some specific policies and procedures you must follow. Similar to supervising members, you must also co-sign any psychological service documentation. The supervisor of a non-member must also ensure that the supervisee doesn’t assign any services to another provider and a supervisee may not supervise another provider, unless they’re going through the procedures to become a member of the CPO themselves.
5. Communicate with your Clients
Part of the policies set out by the CPO regarding the supervision rules also state that you must confirm that your clients know about your supervisee before the supervisee begins providing services. Specifically, this policy means that your clients should know the professional status and qualifications of the supervisee, that all actions and services are reviewed by the supervisor, the identification and contact information of the supervisor, that meetings can be scheduled with the supervisee and supervisor at request of the client, and that the supervisor must have access to any information regarding the client.
As Canada’s comprehensive practice management solution for therapists, psychologists, and social workers, Owl Practice is equipped to help you comply with these policies as you manage the supervisor/supervisee relationships. Our supervisory functionality makes the process as smooth and easy as possible. Request a demo or contact us for more information.