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Brief Psychotherapy Centre for Women (BPCW)

Service updates for appointments at WCH

  • We continue to provide mental health services during COVID-19.
  • If you have an upcoming in person appointment at Women’s College Hospital and you have a fever, cough, or new onset of shortness of breath, have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days, tested positive for COVID-19, or been instructed to self-isolate by Public Health please do not come to the hospital, call the clinic directly for more information.
  • The hospital is open only to patients with appointments, please see our visitor restrictions information.
  • New and follow-up appointments are booked as virtual visits, using the telephone or over video.  Learn how to set-up a video visit.
  • Some current appointments may need to be rescheduled. You will receive a call from us with any changes to your appointment.

Since its inception in 1988, the Brief Psychotherapy Centre for Women has developed, refined, practiced and researched a distinctive approach to therapy with women. This therapy is based on a feminist mental health model, called brief relational-cultural therapy, designed to meet the unique needs and goals that each woman identifies for herself.
Our approach is:

  • woman-centered
  • time-limited: 16 individual 50-minute weekly therapy sessions
  • collaborative with client driven goals

Our philosophy emphasizes the empowerment of women. The Brief Psychotherapy Centre for Women is the only program of its kind in Canada.

The goal of brief psychotherapy is to support women in understanding and addressing their own challenges. Your therapist will work with you to better understand the relational patterns you learned in early life and how they impact your current relationship with self and others

Our Program has a small dedicated team of therapists who have extensive training and experience in providing psychodynamic psychotherapy. Women’s College Hospital is a teaching facility and students training in psychotherapy may also be involved in the provision of therapy.

There are no program fees and services are available between the hours of 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. We do not provide crisis services or long-term therapy.

Services Provided

Individual Psychotherapy

  • Assessment sessions to determine suitability for therapy
  • 16 weekly 50-minute sessions (commitment of up to five months)
  • Two follow-up sessions at approximately three-months and one-year after therapy has concluded

Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

The primary focus of therapy at the Brief Psychotherapy Centre for Women is to explore and understand relational patterns. Our program is not equipped to provide acute stabilization of mental health symptoms and requires individuals be able to form and maintain a therapeutic relationship with the therapist. We are not suited for treatment focused on symptom management, case management, and do not offer specific treatment such as trauma therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.

Individuals will be assessed based on the following criteria to be considered for the program:

  • Women, including all who identify as women, ages 18 and over
  • Capacity to engage in an open, self-reflective dialogue with your therapist
  • Commitment to keep weekly appointments and attend in a timely manner
  • Ability to communicate with members of the team in a respectful manner
  • Capacity to maintain your safety, manage your feelings, and tolerate uncomfortable emotions within and in between sessions
  • Ability to identify clear goals for therapy
  • Clinical rationale for treatment
  • 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. current suicidal intent or plan, acute psychosis, severe substance use, excessive case management needs)
  • No reliance upon substances, disordered eating or other harmful strategies to cope or that impact daily functioning

Accessing Services

This is a self-referral program. Please note that if you are a health care provider, please have your client self-refer.

The steps of the referral process are as follows:

  • Women who are interested in the program must self-refer by calling the Brief Psychotherapy Centre at 416-323-6011 and select option 2.
  • Within three months of receiving your self-referral, you will be contacted by phone to invite you to attend a mandatory information session about our program.
  • At the program information session, you will be invited to complete and submit a questionnaire for review by one of our therapists to determine your suitability for our program.
  • Following review of your questionnaire, women who meet program criteria will be placed on the waitlist for an in-person assessment.

Please note that there is a waitlist for our program.

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