Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 2 2018 - Page 7

FROM THE REGISTRAR’S DESK Recognizing the unique nature of psychotherapy A Dan Faulkner Interim Registrar This builds on the work that the College has done in recent years to advance its commitment to prevent and address all matters of sexual abuse t its last meeting, Council voted to develop a regulation that would help further protect psychotherapy patients from sexual abuse. This builds on the work that the College has done in recent years to advance its continued commitment to prevent and address all matters of sexual abuse by physicians of patients. In the past four years, the College has made internal changes and influ- enced key legislative amendments that reflect society’s values and expectations. This proposed College regulation would supplement, not replace, the Ministry regulations that have been developed in regard to the defini- tion of patient in terms of sexual abuse allegations involving physi- cians and other health-care profes- sionals. As detailed in an advisory that was sent to all physicians in April, changes to the College’s governing legislation made by the provincial government came into effect on May 1, 2018. The govern- ment’s regulation, which flows from the Protecting Patients Act, means that now, for the purposes of sexual abuse allegations, a person will be considered to be a patient for one year after the termination of the doctor-patient relationship. This means that any physician who en- gages in a sexual relationship with a patient within one year of the termination of the doctor-patient relationship is subject to manda- tory revocation. The only exception will be if the treatment is provided in emergency circumstances or was minor in nature. For more detailed information, please see page 23. But we believed that it is impor- tant to recognize the unique nature of psychotherapy and the particular vulnerabilities of patients undergo- ing psychotherapy. Our proposed regulation would extend the physician-patient rela- tionship five years beyond termi- nation when the relationship has involved psychotherapy. This would mean that if a physician has a sexual relationship with a former patient any time within the five years fol- lowing termination of the doctor- patient relationship, the physician would be subject to mandatory revocation. This regulation reflects the current expectations of those providing care to patients in the most vulnerable of circumstances, as outlined in the College’s Main- taining Appropriate Boundaries ISSUE 2, 2018 DIALOGUE 7