The TICP Clinic offers an accessible resource for individuals in our community in need of psychotherapy as the growing demand for mental health treatment is at epidemic proportions. So almost a century later, we continue the legacy and spirit of Freud’s Free Clinics in the city of Toronto. The clinic opens its doors in September 2021.
The TICP Community Clinic is conceived from a long history of social interest in psychoanalytic communities originating concurrently with the inception of Psychoanalysis. In contrast to the caricatures of Sigmund Freud as a doctor to the bourgeoisie, we have archival evidence documenting the social justice mission in psychoanalysis. Between 1920 and 1938 and in ten different cities, the first and second generations of psychoanalysts created a transnational network of outpatient centers that provided free mental health care for people who were otherwise unable to afford treatment. Psychoanalysis would share in the transformation of civil society, the analysts believed, and the new community‐based outpatient centers would help restore citizens to their inherently good and productive selves (Danto, E., 2005).
Fast forward to the emergence of the Toronto Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (TICP) in 1991. A dynamic and innovative group of psychoanalysts began a contemporary institute in Toronto to offer psychoanalytic training that integrates new and emerging expressions of psychoanalytic theory and practice with classical paradigms. Quietly and unbeknownst to many, analytic training cases at the TICP typically are completed with individuals who cannot afford the fees associated with the services they are receiving. Notably, Dr. Dan Merkur, Psychoanalyst, and esteemed member of the TICP community who sadly passed away in 2016, engaged in psychoanalysis during his training with a homeless gentleman who paid one dollar per session. Over the years, the TICP referral service has paired individuals seeking low fee psychoanalytic treatment with training candidates.
In 2017, Dr. Frances Newman, C.Psych., Psychoanalyst, brought the attention of the TICP to the important work of Elizabeth Danto, Ph.D., author of “Freud’s Free Clinics-Psychoanalysis and Social Justice, 1918-1938” and the TICP invited her to present her research to our community to open dialogue about community outreach and psychoanalysis. For years, Dr. Newman supervised new candidates and offered them the use of her office to work with analysands at a nominal fee. She planted the seeds and spirit for the TICP Community Clinic.
In 2017, the TICP hosted a fundraiser and invited members of our community as well as the public to attend the play “Freud’s Last Session” to raise funds to launch the Community Clinic. This inspiring event attracted the attention of donors who are interested in supporting resources for the growing mental health needs of Torontonians. The success of “Freud’s Last Session” created the path for many future sessions at the TICP Community Clinic.
In 2019, the development of the TICP 3-year Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Diploma Program commenced led by the exceptional efforts of Dr. Stephanie Bot, C.Psych., Psychoanalyst. Dr. Bot’s initiative to formally conceptualize this new program generated the development of its operational framework and its recognition at both the professional regulatory college and the provincial ministry of education. This clinically based program enables students to receive their clinical training through the TICP Community Clinic while well over 100 clients access affordable treatment in psychotherapy. This program received approvals from the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities as well as the College of Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario. The dual purpose of the training site allows students to meet the College’s practicum expectations for licensure while giving back to their community. Graduates of the program depart with a breadth of clinical experience from a diverse client base with a commitment to promoting the psychosocial well-being of others.