Two Ontario family physicians - Terry Burrows and Robert T. James – founded the GP Psychotherapy Network in 1984, to promote and advance quality GP psychotherapy. Incorporated in 1995 as the General Practice Psychotherapy Association (GPPA), and now heretofore known as the MDPAC, it has over 300 members across Canada.
The Board of Directors approves the Association's strategic direction and position statements, and sets policy in support of these. Committees work to achieve the goals of the MDPAC which are to "support and encourage quality medical psychotherapy by physicians in Canada, and promote professional development through ongoing education and collegial interaction". MDPAC works to accomplish this through training, supervision, and conferences.
In 1996, on the initiative of the MDPAC, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) Section on GP Psychotherapy was created, providing medical psychotherapists in Ontario with direct political representation. In 2013 the name of the section was changed to the Primary Care Mental Health Section of the OMA. MDPAC is a national association and will support medical psychotherapists in other provinces in their efforts to obtain recognition within their provincial professional bodies.
In 2011, the CPSO announced that all physicians wishing to continue practicing medicine in Ontario would be required to register with and report evidence of continuing professional development activities to either the CFPC, the RCSP or a third pathway authorized by the CPSO for this purpose. In 2012 MDPAC applied to be recognized as a Third Pathway and this status was granted by the CPSO in 2013.This new status meant that MDPAC needed to create a new category of membership Clinical/CPSO to suit the needs of members who chose to make use of this pathway.
Over the years MDPAC (formerly the General Practice Psychotherapy Association) had recognized that many of its members were not GPs but in fact came from a variety of medical specialities including family medicine. This fact, along with the knowledge that there were an increasing number of physicians from provinces other than Ontario within the association, prompted the search for a new name. In 2015 at a special meeting of the membership the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of the current name and the association is now in the process of rebranding itself as the Medical Psychotherapy Association Canada or MDPAC.
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