When I get a referral for my private practice I ask people if they have private insurance. If they do, I tell them to check with their insurance to see if they will be covered. As often as not, they won't be covered for my services as a Social Worker - Psychotherapist. Despite years of graduate and post-graduate training, despite the Quebec government's law 21 which requires all professionals practicing psychotherapy to meet the same rigorous standards -- not to mention additional fees -- in order to be licensed by the order of psychologists. The law does not require private insurance companies to respect the title of psychotherapist. It is frustrating as a business person and clinician to hear regularly, "I would like to see you, but my insurance won't cover me."
Let's leave aside for now the question of why psychotherapy is not covered by our public health insurance (I have written some about this here). Insurance companies aren't required to recognize the title psychotherapist even though mental health professionals are. This means additional costs for me, higher fees for consumers and a distortion of the market because clients with private insurance tend to go to psychologists, who often charge more than other psychotherapists.
The insurance industry could fix this. They know the law. They choose not to respect it. (It is impossible to tell which companies and which policies do cover psychotherapists and which don't because insurance companies keep the various policies they offer secret). The Quebec government could correct this. Private insurance is provincially regulated. The government could require insurers to respect the title of psychotherapist and reimburse clients equally whether they see a 'social worker - psychotherapist', 'a creative arts - psychotherapist' or a 'psychologist - psychotherapist'. They haven't. It is, after all, easier to pass legislation that affects hundreds of small, independent clinicians than to pass a law that would affect a few big and very wealthy companies.
If you care about this issue, I would urge you to contact your MNA. (as of writing this, Kathleen Weil hasn't returned my emails or my call. UPDATE: April 17, 2015. Got a form email a few weeks back and on April 8, after tweeting a lot about this, I got a call from a staffer who said 'we take it very seriously' though he didn't really seem to have any idea what I was talking about. He also said Ms. Weil's office would be in touch in a week. Hmmm.). If you hold a private insurance plan, contact the company and ask them if you are covered for psychotherapy by a psychotherapist. I would love to know. Tell your insurer and your employer that you want your insurance to respect Quebec's law 21 regarding the title of psychotherapy.