Welcome to our site

Details on the education and examination requirements for Psychotherapists and reasons why psychotherapeutic medicine can play a vital role in the healthcare system.


Interest in alternative medicine has grown significantly over the last decade, creating a demand for alternative practitioners.  Three elements must be present to ensure that these healthcare professionals do not pose a threat to public health:


Practitioners must be educated at medical colleges that have been accredited by an agency recognized by the  Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC);


  • Practitioners must be educated at medical colleges that have been accredited by an agency recognized by the  Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC);
  • Practitioners must be examined by a national examining board that sets high standards for eligibility and provides standardized test administration; board examinations must be developed in accordance with national testing standards; and
  • Practitioners must be licensed, required to take continuing education, and subject to peer review.



One psychotherapeutic college in Canada is currently accredited by the  Canadian Council of Psychotherapeutic Examiners (CCPE)


The CCPE is the only psychotherapeutic accrediting body in psychotherapy recognized by the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC)

The education of Psychotherapists  follows a path similar to that of a Psychologists.  Applicants enter psychotherapy school after receiving a baccalaureate degree  from a four-year college.  Students complete two years of post-graduate then have two to three years of didactic and clinical training, including time spent in supervised patient care totaling 1500 hours. 


The Canadian Council of Psychotherapeutic Examiners (CCPE) uses the CCPEX to examine all psychotherapists who want to be licensed in provinces that license..  The  CanadianCouncil of Psychotherapeutic Examiners (CCPEX) exams are criterion-referenced examinations.  Five Part I - Basic Examinations cover the approaches of the applicant.  The Part I Examinations are taken after the second year of training.  Part II - Clinical Examinations cover diagnosis using examination, emergency procedures, as well as psychotherapeutic treatment modalities, counseling & health psychology.  The CCPEX examinations are developed according to all the guidelines set forth in the standards for educational Testing.


After graduation from the accredited psychotherapeutic college and passage of Part II - Clinical Examinations, candidates apply to one of the  jurisdictions that have laws that enable licensed psychotherapist to serve their communities as providers of psychotherapeutic care in Canada.  Licensed psychotherapists are required to obtain continuing education and are subject to peer review.


Psychotherapeutic medicine can play a vital, cost-effective role in the healthcare system:




  • Psychotherapists are care providers who treat patients for a variety of conditions, using therapies that are non-invasive, safe, and effective.  More patients are demanding these kinds of treatment options, and the cost of psychotherapeutic care is minimal when compared to the skyrocketing costs of drugs.
  • Because psychotherapy places significant emphasis on treating the cause (not merely on screening for pre-existing symptoms), it can help stem the increasing incidence of chronic problems.  For a small expenditure now, significant costs can be prevented later.
  • Psychotherapeutic provides vital adjunctive care when a patient is being treated by a medical doctor for a serious condition.  For example, psychotherapeutic care can help allay the severe side effects of medications and can provide support for better healing.  A study done recently showed that this valuable care accounts for only 2% of the cost of psychiatry treatments.
  • Psychotherapists can meet the growing shortage of healthcare providers in rural areas.  Efforts are under way to allow psychotherapists to be granted the same kinds of loan repayment options to encourage participation in rural, veteran’s, and Indian health programs that are available for MDs, DOs, DCs, and other eligible providers.
  • A patient who is rushed through appointments and feels that her/his doctor does not listen is more likely to file a lawsuit in the case of a mistake than is a patient who feels a respectful partnership with her/his therapist.  Psychotherapists spend a great deal of time listening to their patients, attending to their emotional, mental, and spiritual needs as well as to their physical symptoms.  Cases of malpractice are extremely rare in the psychotherapeutic profession.



Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC)

Conseil des Examinateurs en Psychothérapie du Québec (CEPQ)  

Le Syndicat Professionnel des Psychothérapeutes du Québec

Collège de Psychothérapie du Québec a Montreal (CPQM)


During the first 2 ½ - 3 years of college, the education of Psychotherapists follows a path similar to that of a psychologist. Students in both allopathic and alternative medicine colleges receive extensive training in the biomedical sciences, and in physical, clinical, and lab diagnosis.  Both receive training in emergency procedures, public health, and principles of pharmacology.   The alternative medicine colleges use standard medical texts for this phase of the training.  The paths of alternative medicine education and allopathic medical education diverge after this point. Psychologists and Psychiatrists learn how to prescribe drugs or refer for prescriptions.  Psychotherapists learn how to help their patients with scientific tools andmindbody medicine.


Four keys differences distinguish the psychotherapeutic approach from the approach used by Psychologists and Psychiatrists:


  • Emphasis on prevention
  • Search for and treatment of the cause of illness (as compared to an approach that treats the symptoms of the illness)
  • Individualized treatment (e.g. two patients being treated for the same pathology may have completely different treatment protocols)
  • A goal of removing obstacles to the body’s own innate healing processes (as compared to the idea that “cure” must come from external sources)



Psychotherapists: Initial License Requirements



  • Submit a psychotherapeutic license application & pay the required license fee;
  • Possess a good moral and professional reputation;
  • Be physically and mentally fit to practice psychotherapeutic medicine;
  • Graduate from a psychotherapeutic college that is accredited by the Council or another such accrediting agency recognized by the federal government; or graduate from a foreign country psychotherapeutic college that possesses equivalent qualifications; and
  • Successfully complete the Canadian Council of Psychotherapeutic Examiners (CCPE) examinations.



The Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC)'s mission is to ensure the high quality of alternative medicine education in Canada through the voluntary accreditation of four-year, graduate-level programs in psychotherapy. Students and graduates of programs accredited or pre-accredited (candidacy) by AMECC are eligible to apply for the psychotherapeutic licensing examinations administered by the Canadian Council of Psychotherapeutic Examiners (CCPE).


Founded in 1991, CCPE is accepted as the programmatic accrediting agency for psychotherapeutic education by the psychotherapeutic college and programs in Canada, by the Canadian National Psychotherapy Professional Syndicates CNPPS, and by AMECC. CNPPS advocates for high standards in psychotherapy education, and its grant of accreditation to a college or program indicates prospective students and the public may have confidence in the college or program. The CCPE is the national accrediting agency for programs leading to the Doctor of Psychotherapy degree.


An accreditation handbook, containing CCPE standards, policies, procedures, and governing documents, is available for $20, prepaid. A free PDF version is available by e-mail upon request. The PDF file  may be opened and printed with Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download.

CCPE also certifies postdoctoral programs in psychotherapy. Among these programs are psychotherapeutic residencies that provide licensed Psychotherapist with postgraduate training in psychotherapeutic family care and other specialties. A manual containing CCPE's standards for residency programs may be ordered for $15, prepaid. A free PDF version is available by e-mail.

CCPE is a member of the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC) and abides by the CPMDQ Code of Good Practice.


The accredited and candidate of psychotherapeutic programs, as well as the certified residency programs, are listed on the links page. After accessing the links page, click the name of the program or its logo to go to the Website for the college or university that offers the program.


For frequently asked questions, click "FAQs" on the menu.

CCPEs next meeting will be held April 9& 10, 2005, Montreal, Québec, Canada.