The Trauma Therapy Program is a specialized trauma-focused therapy service for persons with childhood histories of trauma. The program offers confidential, time-limited and primarily group-based psychotherapy to adults who have experienced childhood interpersonal trauma including physical, sexual, emotional abuse and/or neglect that occurred between the ages of 0-18. The program fees are covered by OHIP and service are available between the hours of 9am-5pm. We do not provide crisis services or long-term therapy.
The Trauma Therapy Program is composed of an interdisciplinary team of trauma therapists with backgrounds in psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychology, social work, and nursing. Women’s College Hospital is a teaching facility and students training in these professions may also be involved in the provision of therapy.
We are committed to promoting an environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and can live their lives free from violence and all forms of discrimination. The Program follows a stage-based approach to healing from trauma as outlined by Judith Herman in her book Trauma and Recovery.
Through a feminist anti-oppressive framework we work collaboratively to promote trauma-focused therapy while supporting the unique needs of individuals.
Typical goals addressed during assessment and therapy:
- Explore and learn about the impact and symptoms of trauma;
- Learn new coping strategies to manage overwhelming emotions, anxiety, numbing, dissociation, flashbacks, urges to self-harm, suicidal thoughts and other trauma symptoms;
- Better understand and identify difficult patterns in relationships and learn to negotiate boundaries;
- Improve self-care and self-soothing capacities.
Group therapy is a primary modality of treatment in the Trauma Therapy Program with a focus on relational therapy. As such, it is not equipped to provide acute stabilization of mental health symptoms and requires individuals to have adequate affect regulation skills so as to be able to form and maintain a therapeutic relationship with the therapist and other participants.
The Trauma Therapy Program is not a domestic abuse or sexual assault treatment program. The focus of therapy is directly related to managing impact of symptoms related to childhood trauma. Physical and emotional safety is paramount to therapy and to maximize the benefits of the therapy and to mitigate any risks of harm.
Individuals will be assessed based on the following criteria to be considered for the program:
- Identify with a history of childhood trauma
- Are being referred by a Physician or Nurse Practitioner providing ongoing care
- Not in acute crisis (e.g. housing instability, unsafe relationships)
- No recent psychiatric hospitalizations
- No acute symptoms that interfere with ability to attend regularly and/ or get full benefit of therapy (e.g. acute psychosis, severe substance use, excessive case management needs)
- Ability to keep regular appointments and attend in a timely manner
- Capacity to engage in treatment and maintain guidelines (e.g. confidentiality)
- Ability to communicate with the treatment provider, treatment team and other patients in a respectful manner
- Clinical rationale and capacity to formulate goals for trauma therapy
Access to our Trauma Therapy Program services requires a referral by a Physician or Nurse Practitioner providing ongoing care. Every newly referred client is invited to a Trauma Therapy Program orientation session and attendance is required in order to be considered for our services. A subsequent intake interview will determine whether Trauma Therapy services are a good fit, starting with the Resourced and Resilient Group. Following this group, individuals will be offered an exit interview and will be assessed for further treatment.
The Resourced and Resilient Group is the entry point for accessing therapy in the Trauma Therapy Program. It is a mandatory foundational trauma group that is designed to meet the needs of individuals who are interested in learning strategies to help manage current symptoms of trauma and to enrich their quality of life. Note: The focus of the Resourced and Resilient Group is on helping people explore the impact of past traumatic experiences on their current life and is not a group for processing the details of individual trauma histories.
The Trauma Therapy Program offers a variety of weekly, time-limited, stage-one groups for individuals who have completed the Resourced and Resilient Group and could benefit from further trauma treatment. These groups will focus on healing trauma through various treatment approaches including: healing through the arts, healing through the mind, healing through the body, and healing through relationships. We also provide some stage one couples therapy interventions.
Following the completion of up to 2 group pathways, individuals will be discharged for one year to consolidate gains made in therapy. Individuals can be re-referred to the program or to WRAP after this one-year period, if they are interested in additional services.
The Women Recovering from Abuse Program (WRAP) is an intensive group therapy program with accompanying individual therapy for women (trans and cis), non-binary and gender diverse people who have experienced physical, emotional, sexual abuse and/or neglect in childhood (0-18 years old). The program runs Monday to Thursday from 9am to 1pm for 8 weeks. The program is running as a hybrid model where participants will be in virtual sessions 3 days/week and in-person 1 day/week.
WRAP is part of the Trauma Therapy Program (TTP). After completing the Resourced and Resilient Group or other groups in TTP, individuals who are interested in WRAP will meet with a member of the clinical team for an assessment. If the clinician and clients agree WRAP would be a good treatment option, individuals will attend the Building Resources Group, a weekly therapy group to assess readiness and prepare for the intensive phase of WRAP, prior to attending the intensive component of WRAP.
The WRAP facilitation team includes individuals from various disciplines with specialized knowledge and training in trauma. Women’s College Hospital is a teaching hospital. WRAP provides education to graduate-level students, health care professionals and community agencies. Research may also be conducted to explore the impact of childhood trauma and determine the effectiveness of treatment.
This referral is for the General Psychiatry Program, Trauma Therapy Program, and Reproductive Life Stages Program. Once completed, please fax to 416-323-6356. Referrals to the Reproductive Life Stages (RLS) Program for pregnant and postpartum patients must include a completed EPDS form.
The General Psychiatry Program accepts internal referrals from WCH programs only (with the exception of the Day Treatment Program, where external referrals are accepted.)
Due to high volumes, Addiction Psychiatry is currently only accepting referrals from the Women’s Mental Health Program at Women’s College Hospital. Please check back on the website for ongoing updates as we will soon be opening back up to internal and external referrals.