Concerns About a Psychologist

CAP is the governing body for registered psychologists and registered provisional psychologists (hereinafter referred to as “psychologists”) as regulated members in the province of Alberta. This section provides information and resources to address concerns about the conduct of a psychologist. 

CAP's mandate is to serve the interests of the public and to guide the profession of psychology. CAP registers, issues practice permits and regulates its members in accordance with provincial legislation, the Health Professions Act, R.S.A. 2000, c.H-7 (HPA). The HPA also sets out specific steps that CAP must take when dealing with complaints.

Many concerns arise as a result of a breakdown in communication between the client and the psychologist. In some circumstances, a psychologist is unaware of your concern(s) until a concern has been expressed or a complaint has been lodged. You may wish to discuss your concern(s) with the psychologist to see whether you can resolve the matter directly with the psychologist before lodging a formal complaint.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint, potential complainants are encouraged to outline their concern(s) with a CAP staff member. CAP may be able to provide information and suggestions about CAP’s concerns and complaints process and alternative resolution options, and if appropriate, possible resolutions that could be considered without making a formal complaint may be discussed. 

The complaint process is an important part of ensuring quality and accountability in the provision of psychological services to the Alberta public.

Concerns CAP cannot address

CAP can only address concerns that are within its legislated authority as set out in the HPA. CAP cannot address the following types of concerns:

  • Concerns about unregulated practitioners. CAP has no authority to deal with concerns about individuals who are not regulated members of CAP. The titles that regulated members can use are: psychologist, registered psychologist, provisional psychologist or registered provisional psychologist. If an individual who does not use one of those titles and provided services to you, the individual may not be regulated by CAP. If this is the case, CAP cannot take any action with respect to your concern(s). You can check whether an individual is registered through our online Member Directory.
  • Concerns about members of other colleges. If you have concerns about members of other professions, it is appropriate to contact that practitioner's own regulatory body.
  • Employment or labour relations difficulties not addressed by professional standards or laws governing the profession.
  • Compensation. CAP cannot compensate individuals who feel they have been wronged by the actions of a psychologist.

The following links provide related information and forms:

Primary difference between concerns and formal complaints

Are all public concerns handled as a formal complaint?

The simple answer to this question is, “No.”

CAP also has a less formal process that is offered to the public, when appropriate, to resolve concerns outside of the formal complaint process. This process is offered through a process of collaborative problem-solving that requires the consent of both the concerned party and the psychologist. This option is not given however for matters that may require an investigation, or for allegations of sexual abuse and/or misconduct or other serious boundary violation allegations. The informal process is also not available when the only way to determine the facts requires a more extensive investigation and access to otherwise confidential information, such a client’s file or record.  In such cases a formal complaint is required, as the HPA grants authority to the CAP Complaints Director and/or investigators to collect any information required, regardless of consent from clients or other parties.  

CAP has developed a table to outline the primary differences between information concerns and formal complaints under the HPA. Read more.

Learn more

The following section provides further forms and resources related to the complaints and professional conduct process.

File a Complaint

Obtain a Complaint Reporting Form to submit a formal complaint. 

Download

Complaint Process

Learn more about CAP’s complaint process and how complaints are addressed under the Health Professions Act.

LEARN MORE

Sexual Abuse and Misconduct

Learn more about complaints related to sexual abuse or misconduct.


Copyright 2021 by College of Alberta Psychologists

Pathways

This content appears in certain menu dropdowns as well as the homepage pathways. Editing these edits all of them.

Form icon

Registration and Renewal

This section provides information and resources regarding registration requirements, fees and renewing a practice permit.

Read More

Speech bubble icon

Concerns About a Psychologist

This section provides information and resources to address concerns about the conduct of a psychologist. 

 

Read More

People heart icon

Professional Guidance

CAP communicates with members, providing regulatory information and guidance. Regulated members are welcome to contact CAP for professional guidance related to regulatory information.

Read More

About CAP

Learn more about CAP and its mandated responsibiliites under the Health Professions Act. 

Resources & Regulatory Information

A number of documents govern the regulation of the profession of psychology and documents and resources are developed in order to promote competent and ethical practice and to guide its members. 

Sexual Abuse/Misconduct

Addressing and Preventing Sexual Abuse and Misconduct for Psychologists