Psychotherapies are integral to comprehensive psychiatric care and provide theoretical and clinical foundations that utilize bio-psycho-social and relationship-centred models of treatment.  Psychiatrists need to possess both knowledge and skills in evidence-supported psychotherapies to act as medical experts, consultants, stewards of clinical service teams, shared care collaborators and trainers of future generations of mental health professionals. This Division has contributed to scholarship and research in the areas of:  therapeutic communication, the therapeutic alliance, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based interventions, dialectical-behavior therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, group psychotherapy and supportive psychotherapy.  The Psychotherapy Stream is committed to advancing process and outcome research, upholding best teaching and clinically effective practices and to the training of psychiatrists to apply evidence-supported psychotherapeutic practices in care of patients with complex and chronic forms of mental illness within inter- professional health teams.

What is Psychotherapy?

  • an effective treatment for the mental health of people of all ages delivered in a variety of settings and formats from on-line to in-person delivered in groups or individualized and integrated in psychiatric care
  • included in expert consensus treatment guidelines for mood, anxiety, personality and eating disorders, and can help with various kinds of problems that may trigger psychiatric symptoms and interfere with coping, such as work stress, interpersonal losses, life changes, or relationship conflicts
  • talking in confidence with a health professional or participating in on-line or digital self-help programs and reflecting on thoughts, feelings, relationships, experiences, behaviors
  • enhances patient experiences and outcomes in psychiatric care
  • available through on-line, hospital-based mental health or family health team clinical services, and community-based agencies or clinicians in private practice.

These psychotherapies address multiple psychiatric conditions and include: Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Behavioural Activation (BA),   Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing,Group Psychotherapy, Trauma Therapy, Couples and Family Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

If you have a mental health problem that you think psychotherapy could help with, please speak with your family physician who can provide you with further information about psychotherapy clinical services and determine if you need a referral for a psychiatric assessment and treatment recommendations.  There are also on-line programs such as the Big White Wall that are available.

Training and Education:

A syllabus for psychiatry residents builds clinical competence through seminars and longitudinal, clinically supervised case-work. Professional and faculty development activities include courses, workshops, certificate programs and peer-support supervisors’ groups. Accredited continuing education courses are offered through: CAMH, The Mt. Sinai Psychotherapy Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University Health Network, Hincks Dellcrest, and the University of Toronto, Department of Psychiatry’s Child, Adolescent and Youth Division, annual academic Psychotherapy Day and CME Psychotherapy conference.