Women's College Hospital - Health Care for Women, Revolutionized

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25 years of success meeting women’s mental health needs

July 22, 2013

The Brief Psychotherapy Centre for Women invited special guests and Women’s College Hospital staff, physicians and volunteers to join in celebration of 25 years of service, research and dedication to WCH.

“It was wonderful to see so many supporters of the BPCW at the event, some we had known since the beginning and others we met along the way, right up until the present,” said Shirley Addison, psychotherapist at the BPCW. “The positive energy was palpable and appreciated.”

Established in 1988 at 984 Bay St., the centre provides psychotherapy to clients based on a feminist mental health model designed to meet unique needs and with goals that each woman identifies in collaboration with her therapist. From the beginning, the BPCW has honoured and practised a philosophy that emphasizes the empowerment of women through therapy.

“In order to walk the talk, we aim to have this core value inform all aspects of the centre: the clinical work, peer supervision, training of new staff, organizational structure, program evaluation and research,” said Anne Oakley, program coordinator and psychotherapist at the BPCW. “This has not been without its challenges!”

At the anniversary party, Anne Rochon Ford, chair, community advisory council,  welcomed guests, reflected on the past 25 years and delivered messages on behalf of the Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Maureen Walker, director of program development, and Judy Jordan, director of Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at Wellesley Centers for Women.

“I’m very grateful that Ontario is home to mental health champions like the Brief Psychotherapy Centre for Women,” said the Hon. Matthews in her congratulatory letter to the centre. “The centre’s work has made a tremendous difference for many women in Toronto and continues to empower women across the province.”

Heather McPherson, vice-president of patient care and ambulatory innovation, also congratulated BPCW on years of success and commitment to women’s mental health at WCH.

Walker and Jordan praised the BPCW for the development of a brief relational-cultural therapy model and groundbreaking research recently published in Psychotherapy Research, an international academic journal.


Both Oakley and Addison extended unending gratitude to their community, supporters, researchers, colleagues and particularly their clients for making 25 years so rewarding and possible. They also extended their appreciation for the opportunity to develop an innovative program for women.

The BPCW offers two types of service: individual and group psychotherapy that spans over 16 or 20 weeks. Both approaches have assessment and followup sessions to ensure the best care for women. For more information on how brief relational-cultural psychotherapy works, click here.

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