Family physicians and Psychiatrists in Canada provide over half of the country's mental health care.  While both specialities receive some instruction in psychotherapy during their medical training, that basic training is often insufficient to meet the needs of their practice.

The Medical Psychotherapy Association Canada (MDPAC) is one of the leaders in the movement to improve the quality of psychotherapy provided by physicians.  It has developed documents on the role of psychotherapy in primary care, as well as guidelines on training physicians in psychotherapy.  The MDPAC provides training in medical psychotherapy and psychotherapy supervision, as well as opportunities for physicians to interact in various educational modalities, and to gain support and feedback in their practice of psychotherapy.

The Medical Psychotherapy Association Canada (MDPAC) was formerly known as the General Practice Psychotherapy Association (GPPA)

MDPAC is a non-profit professional association of physicians, organized to:

  • Develop and protect standards of practice of psychotherapy by physicians.
  • Provide opportunities for physicians to train in psychotherapy, to interact in various educational modalities, and to gain support and feedback in their practice of psychotherapy.
  • Protect the right of physicians to provide psychotherapeutic care to their patients.

Please note that the MDPAC is an organization of physicians who are responsible to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the province in which they practise.  These Colleges control the licensing of physicians and answer to the public on matters of competence and behaviour. The MDPAC offers education and support to members, but has no disciplinary function and therefore does not have the power to investigate or act in any way in a complaint against a member.  For confidentiality reasons, any questions about a member’s training, qualifications or experience must be directed to that physician and not to the MDPAC.

Medical psychotherapy is the deliberate establishment by a physician of a professional relationship with a patient, for the purpose of communication and collaboration to address potential or actual health-impacting problems.  The relationship can foster and nurture the positive attitude and emotional strength necessary to take actions to prevent illness or to accelerate healing.  The goal is the resumption of optimal functioning in everyday life, if possible, or at least minimization of discomfort and despair.

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