What is Required to be an Edmonton Therapist, Counsellor, Practitioner or Clinician?

There are no legal or practice requirements to call oneself a therapist, counsellor, practitioner or clinician in Edmonton.  Anyone may call themselves a therapist, counsellor, practitioner, or clinician and provide mental health services under that title.  Therapists, counsellors, practitioners, and clinicians do not need to demonstrate education, training, supervised practice, or competency to use these titles.

In Alberta it is legal to set up a private practice and use the title therapist, mental health therapist, counsellor, practitioner or clinician without demonstrating any certification.

Agencies may set internal definitions for these terms and may publish these definitions for the benefit of the clientele.  For example, Alberta Health Services hires many clinicians to provide services under the title of 'Mental Health Therapist', 'Mental Health Clinician', or 'Mental Health Practitioner'.  Current hiring requirements for these roles are that the provider holds a degree in social work, psychology, general nursing, psychiatric nursing, or occupational therapy and that they are registered with a professional body.  The degrees may be at the Bachelor or Master's level. 

The terms therapist, counsellor, practitioner and clinician are often used interchangeably.  These terms are not limited to the practice of mental health, but may also be used in a variety of other fields such as physiotherapy, medicine, or addictions, for example.  It is up to the client to ask the therapist, counsellor, practitioner or clinician about their education background, length of supervised practice, ongoing education and accreditation (if any).

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