Psychotherapy: Information for Patients in Ottawa

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, or "talk therapy", is a way to treat people with conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress, by:
  • Helping one to better understand the condition
  • Giving strategies and tools to deal with stress
  • Manage symptoms better

Psychotherapy helps patients manage their symptoms better and function at their best in everyday life.

Sometimes psychotherapy alone may be the best treatment for a person, depending on the condition and the severity of the condition. Other times, psychotherapy is combined with medications. A therapists work with an individual or families to devise an appropriate treatment plan.

What types of professionals provide psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy can be given by many types of professionals. In order to be able to provide psychotherapy in the province of Ontario, one must belong to a registered health profession (e.g. psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker) or be a registered psychotherapist.

How to find a therapist

1. Do you have access to extended health benefits through your work?

If so, consider the following:

a) Employee Assistance Plan (EAP). Your plan may have recommended therapists, or recommended agencies that you may see, usually for a few visits at least. Or your plan may provide coverage so that you can see a therapist, and be reimbursed for the cost.

b) Find a private practice therapist.
If you have coverage through work, or if you have the resources, consider hiring a therapist privately. Options include:
  • Registered psychotherapist in Ontario (RPO)
  • Private practice psychologists through Canadian Register of Health Service Psychologists (CRHSP)
  • Private practice social workers
  • Private practice Certified Canadian Counsellors (CCC)
  • Ottawa Academy of Psychology

If you do not have extended health benefits, nor the option to hire your own private therapist, consider the following publicly funded services:

3. Community Health and Resource Centres.
Many community health centres or community resource centres offer mental health services. In Ottawa, visit to find a centre closest to you

4. Family Services Centres.
Most family service centres provide counselling services either free, or on a sliding scale based on income.
  • The Walk-in Counselling Clinic
  • Family Service Ottawa (613-725-3601)
  • Jewish Family Service Ottawa (613-722-2225)
  • Catholic Family Service Ottawa (613-233-8478)
  • Youth Mental Health Walk-in Clinic (613-562-3004), service of Youth Services Bureau
  • Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health (613-748-0657)

5. Other services
  • St Paul’s University Centre for Counselling (613-782-3022)
  • The Men’s Project (613-230-6179), which specializes in services for men
  • Centre for Psychological Services and Research, Dept. of Psychology at the University of Ottawa (613-562-5289)
  • Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Org. (613-725-0202), which has services for newcomers to Canada, immigrants and refugees

6. Are you a student at Algonquin College, Carleton University or the University of Ottawa?
  • If so, then contact your student health service for information about counselling services.

7. For more counselling options, visit