Our History and Background
in 1991, psychologists at what was then Vancouver’s University Hospital developed an evidence-based group program for patients who had recently been discharged from inpatient care. The intent was to provide information on effective care strategies that the patients could put into practice themselves.
An evaluation of the program revealed that approximately 1/3 as many of the participants were rehospitalized within six months relative to those who did not go through the program. On this basis, the program was given ongoing funding and a dual mandate:
- To provide the program on an ongoing basis for seriously depressed individuals in the Vancouver area.
- To provide training in the use of the program for the staff of three other agencies.
The program was revised, taking into account the results of the program evaluation. A Clinician's Guide was written, and a two-day training seminar for mental health professionals was developed. The seminar and materials were then offered to agencies across British Columbia. The results were better than anticipated: dozens of agencies signed up to take the workshops, and over 40 communities in British Columbia saw the establishment of Changeways-based programs.
To date, the staff of over 450 agencies in 6 countries (Canada, England, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and China) have attended the workshops, and the program has been provided to thousands of clients. Therapists have adapted the materials for use with various populations, including caregivers for Alzheimer's patients, impoverished single mothers, and college students. The materials for clients are available in English, Chinese, Arabic, and Farsi.
Additional programs have been created as well, including protocols for assertiveness training and relaxation training, plus a diversity awareness program. Two books based on our experiences have been published by New Harbinger Publications: The Assertiveness Workbook and Your Depression Map.
In the fall of 2002 Changeways Clinic became a free-standing agency in its own right. Since that time, we have opened our doors as a centre for one-to-one evidence-based psychotherapy (predominantly cognitive behaviour therapy). Beginning with two psychologists, we have expanded to our present complement of 15 or so. We also offer:
- Professional Continuing Education (CE) programs. We are registered by the Canadian Psychological Association to offer CE Credits to those attending our programs.
- Presentations for the general public.
- Books and resources.
- Online courses for professionals and the public, at psychologysalon.teachable.com.
- Consulting services. We have provided services to the BC Depression Strategy, to a variety of nonprofit public education agencies, to private employee assistance providers, to individual clinicians, and to the media.
It has been an exciting and eventful time. We look forward to continuing our provision of evidence-based therapy services, and to the development of innovative and practical mental health education, training, and therapy programs.