Psychology is a self-regulated profession under the Nova Scotia Psychologists Act (2000).
“Psychologist” is a title protected by a law that governs the practice of psychology in Nova Scotia.
Pursuant to section 22 (1) of the Psychologists Act, one must be registered with the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology in order to use any title or description of services containing the words “psychology”, “psychologist” or “psychological”; to practice or offer to practice psychology; or to hold himself or herself out in any way to be entitled to practice psychology.*
As provided by statute, psychologists may examine the behavior of children and adults; diagnose psychological and emotional disorders; provide consultation and therapy; counsel individuals, groups and organizations to enhance physical and mental health and to achieve more effective personal, social and vocational development and adjustment; teach and apply psychological theory and principles regarding behavior and mental processes such as learning, memory, perception and human development, and design, conduct and communicate the results of psychological research.
Psychologists are required by law to deliver competent, ethical and professional services. They are accountable to the public, through the NSBEP. Psychologists meet rigorous professional requirements and adhere to prescribed standards, guidelines and ethical principles. They must also follow requirements for maintaining competency throughout their career.
To be registered, psychologists must meet the standards of the profession, which include at least the following:
- a doctoral or masters degree in psychology
- two years of supervised experience, in the case of a doctoral degree, or four years, in the case of a masters degree, and
- have passed a standardized, written examination and an oral examination.
The NSBEP protects the public by regulating practitioners of psychology in Nova Scotia. This involves setting registration requirements and professional standards; and investigating and addressing complaints against Psychologists. The Psychologists Act also enables the Board to prosecute anyone holding him/herself out as a provider of psychological services who is not authorized to do so.
It is important to know that many terms are not licensed titles in Nova Scotia. For example, the term “psychotherapist” and singular terms such as “counsellor” and “therapist” are not licensed titles. There is no assurance of the qualifications of anyone using only these titles and no regulatory body to handle complaints about their practices.
To find out if a person is a psychologist in NS, please check the Directory of Psychologists.
Career in Psychology?
For those interested in a career in psychology, there are a couple of very helpful publications:
From the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards;
And from the Canadian Psychological Association.
*As per 22(2) of the Psychologists Act (2000), professors of psychology are not required to register with the NSBEP while carrying out their teaching and research duties. However, they must use a title or description of services that clearly indicates their professor of psychology status.