About the MDPAC

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 in 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 everyday life, if possible, or at least minimization of discomfort and despair.

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, the MDPAC now has over 200 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. The Association will support Medical psychotherapists in other provinces in their efforts to obtain recognition within their provincial professional bodies.


The Theratree logo of the MDPAC was conceived by Dr. Dianne McGibbon in 1993. The Theratree painting was a collaboration with Canadian artist and illustrator Mr. Don Klutke and was completed in 1994. Dr McGibbon also initiated the Theratree Award, an annual award which recognizes a member's contribution to the association.

The Recipients of the Theratree Award are as follows:

1994 Robert James
1995 Terry Burrows
1996 Dianne McGibbon
1997 Roy Salole
1998 Marc Gabel
1999 Michael Cord
2000 Joan Barr
2000 Mel Goodman
2001 Allen Kalpin
2002 Ann Cox and Gisele Microys
2003 Muriel Van Lierop
2004 Bill Taylor and Riva Ripstein-Soicher
2005 Mel Borins
2006 Jaga Iwanowska and Carol Brock
2007 Lynn Marshall
2008 David Cree
2009 Peggy Wilkins
2010 Lucinda Sykes
2011 Victoria Winterton
2012 Janice Coates
2013 Michael Pare
2014 Catherine Carmichael
2015 Edward Leyton
2016 Helen Newman