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Description of Clinical Services

The Family Therapy Program at the Calgary Family Therapy Centre delivers high-quality family therapy services to Albertan families of adolescents or children who are experiencing severe emotional and/or behavioral problems struggling with serious mental health issues. Family therapists join families to explore the relational and emotional environment surrounding children and adolescents, in the understanding that the resources available for them within such an environment or “socioemotional and cultural ecology” is critical for their possibilities to develop and flourish. As a result of the exploration, family therapists collaborate with the family to keep and expand the types of relationships that are most consistent with the family’s values, and thus most effective in promoting therapeutic change. 

The specific procedure to achieve such client-oriented goals are collaboratively discussed by the therapists with each family, to better fit the family’s unique needs and resources. A key element in the process is to foster family solidarity, inclusiveness, or teamwork: to explore ways in which all family members may support one another working towards a mutually desired goal. Accordingly, our client is the family: our focus is always on how family members relate to one another rather than on any individual. When people struggle with an interpersonal problem we believe the problem, not a particular person, is the problem. 

Another key procedure is informed consent. In the first session, the therapist will initiate a process of informed consent, letting the family know more about our procedures, your rights, and your responsibilities. For instance, the right to attend therapy voluntarily, to refuse or withdraw at any time, or the right to understand and ask questions about any suggested procedures*. Our preference to work with the whole family system, regardless of whether children live in one or two homes. Our preference is that all legal guardians provide consent to their children participating in family therapy.   

Family members and the therapist have the responsibility to comply with the rule of confidentiality or privacy of information. The therapist will invite family members to honor confidentiality to create conditions where everybody can feel safe attending and sharing their perspectives. To promote safety, the therapist will also share with the family the limited situations where a therapist may need to breach such confidentiality agreement: to prevent serious threats of people harming themselves or others; or to comply with legal obligations (e.g., files subpoenaed by a Provincial court of law). Remember:  All program parts are optional; the therapist has a responsibility to explain the potential benefits or risks of any interventions they may suggest (and the potential risks of not following their suggestions). Family members will always have a right to raise any questions they may have about the process, and the therapist has the responsibility to answer to their best of their ability, including questions about likely benefits and risk of proposed services, alternative modalities of assessment and treatment, and estimated timelines.  

While the length of therapy mostly depends on the initial clinical assessment process (e.g., assessing the level of severity of Pathologizing Interpersonal Patterns), and on the family members’ evolving self-report about progress, families pursuing our regular track of services are eligible for up to 10 sessions of 60 to 90 minutes duration. The time interval between sessions is also determined collaboratively with families but most families tend to agree on two sessions a month. 

If you have any complaints about our services, please refer to our conflict resolution and grievance policy.


 (*) Clients at CFTC possess rights extended to all Canadians and Albertans as acknowledged in current legislation, inclusive but not limited to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act, and the Family Law Act. You may learn more about it here: Your Rights and Responsibilities as a CFTC Client.

Online Services

When the pandemic arrived in Calgary in March 2020, the Centre started offering Internet-based virtual meetings (by videoconferencing). If you are in Alberta, you may ask your therapist to provide online services. You will be instructed to sign an ad-hoc informed consent form ahead of time, as there are some known limitations and other relevant information which we want you to be informed about before you start receiving this form of tele-therapy. While we use a video platform designed to provide secure online care (Microsoft Teams), it is important to know that there is no technology that can be as private as a face-to-face appointment.


Service Tracks

The Centre offers 2 alternative streams of family therapy services: a regular track and a limited fast track. We will invite you and your family to help us determine the best alternative for your family. After having called our office requesting services, you will receive an intake call from one of our staff clinicians, who will ask about your current concerns, and will assist you in choosing one of these two tracks.

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