Online Psychotherapy Across Ontario

Open Door Therapist Counselling & Psychotherapy Across Ontario

What’s the Difference Between a Psychotherapist and Social Worker (and Which do I Need)?

Difference Between Social Worker and Psychotherapist Ontario

In Ontario, Canada, social workers and psychotherapists are distinct professional roles with different scopes of practice, education, and regulatory requirements. Here are the key differences between a social worker and a psychotherapist in Ontario:

Professional Title and Regulation:

  • Social Worker: In Ontario, social workers are regulated by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). They use the title Registered Social Worker (RSW) once they are registered with the college.
  • Psychotherapist: Psychotherapists in Ontario are regulated by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). They use the title Registered Psychotherapist (RP) once they are registered with the college.

Education and Training:

  • Social Worker: RSW, MSW: Registered Social Workers hold a master’s degree in social work (MSW). They undergo supervised field placements during their education and must complete ongoing professional development to maintain their registration.
  • Psychotherapist: RP, RP(Q): Psychotherapists may have diverse educational backgrounds, including degrees in psychology, social work, or related fields. However, they specifically pursue training in psychotherapy at the master’s degree level (M.Ed, M.A, M.Div, M.Sc, MPS). They also undergo supervised clinical experience.

Regulatory Body:

  • Social Worker: Regulated by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).
  • Psychotherapist: Regulated by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).

Scope of Practice:

  • Social Worker: Social workers in Ontario may engage in a broad range of activities, including psychotherapy, advocacy, case management, and community development. They may work with individuals, families, and communities to address social issues and improve mental health and well-being.
  • Psychotherapist: Psychotherapists focus specifically on providing psychotherapy services. Psychotherapy involves the use of various therapeutic approaches to help individuals address emotional, psychological, or mental health challenges. 

Quick Checklist:

MSW, RSW Social Worker & RP, RP (Q) Registered Psychotherapist:

Provides Psychotherapy: Yes

Level of Education: Master’s degree level of education

Provides Assessment & Treatment: Yes

Prescribes Medication: No

Provides Diagnosis: No

Covered by Health Insurance:

  • MSW, RSW: Covered by most health employer benefit plans
  • RP or RP(Q): Covered by some health employer benefit plans


It is important to check the details of your specific benefit plan.

Which Type of Therapist do I Need?

Difference Between RSW and RP

At Open Door Therapist, our team of therapists are licensed and undergo continuous training in both trauma treatment and wider mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and personality disorders. Our therapists are trained in evidence-based modalities including EMDR, CBT, DBT, IFS, and mindfulness-based approaches to help you not only manage the symptoms at the surface, but also identify and heal the deeper root issues. 

When choosing a therapist, there are logistical factors to consider, such as availability and insurance coverage, as well as factors specific to your therapy needs. Reading information about the therapeutic modalities each practitioner uses, and the specialties in which they are trained and experienced can be helpful when narrowing down your options.

We understand that it can be confusing and overwhelming to choose a therapist who is the right fit for what you need to feel better. We can help you with getting started with therapy as easy and painless as possible: you can either book a free 20-minute consultation with one of our therapists today or reach out to and let us take care of matching you with the right therapist. 

Our door is open and we are ready when you are.

Use the button below to schedule a free 20-minute consultation call with one of our therapists.

Get Started With Open Door Therapist

Use the buttons below to book an appointment or free consultation directly online. Prefer to send us a message? Click here.