Purpose of Program

The Centre primarily provides family therapy services. Professional therapists work with families whose children are experiencing psychological, emotional, or behavioural problems, with the primary goal of enabling these families to develop their own methods of managing these problems more effectively.

Therapy Process

The orientation of the Centre is specialized in that the major emphasis is placed on working with the family group rather than with individuals. The initial task is to define the nature of the problem or concern and clarify how it is embedded in the family system. Thus, all members of the household are usually asked to attend the first interview and each member is encouraged to share her or his view of the problem as well as possible solutions. After therapy is started, interviews may continue with the whole family or may be arranged for parts of the family. Several therapeutic approaches are utilized in the Centre.  Each family situation is unique and efforts are made to apply the most appropriate approach for that specific family. On average, families attend five to eight sessions of about one and a half hours duration. The time interval between sessions varies from one to four weeks.

Therapy Team

The therapy team is composed of professionals from a variety of disciplines. It includes psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and post graduate trainees in these disciplines, all of whom have specialized interests and skills in family therapy. Each family is engaged by a specific team member who carries primary responsibility for therapy with that family. During the course of each therapy, the primary therapist may seek input from other team members through discussion, supervision, or consultation. In this way, the knowledge and skills of other team members may be drawn upon and the family may have the benefit of several opinions even though they may work with only one team member.

Teaching and Research

Although the Centre is legally a Non-Profit Society, it is affiliated the University of Calgary; therefore, families may be invited to participate in teaching or research activities by having their interview(s) recorded or observed through a one-way screen. A family's explicit consent is always sought before such participation with the understanding that the family may refuse without prejudice. The Centre staff and professional trainees assume the responsibility to respect the privacy of the family and to treat all information as highly confidential.

Medical Responsibility

Physicians are not routinely involved with families at the Centre. Only family psychotherapy services are provided by the therapists on staff. Psychiatric consultation may be arranged by the primary therapist when indicated but family members should consult their family physician in regards to any medical issues such as pharmacotherapy and for any ongoing medical care.

Referral Procedure

Any family whose children are experiencing psychological, emotional, or behavioural problems may contact the Centre directly by calling 403-802-1680.  Any outside professional, agency, or community resource may also refer a family by phone, letter, or fax (403-270-7446). The primary intake criterion is that the problem or concern revolves around a child or adolescent 18 years of age or younger.


There is no out-of-pocket charge to families seen at the Centre since the program is funded through a grant from Alberta Health Services (AHS). When psychiatrists are involved, they bill the Alberta Health Care Insurance Commission (AHCIC).