Philanthropy Friday: Therapy Center of Philadelphia
Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week, Alison Gerig talks about Therapy Center of Philadelphia, a local organization that provides affordable psychotherapy on a sliding fee scale to working and low-income women and transgender communities in Philadelphia.
Who are you? I am Alison Gerig, the executive director of Therapy Center of Philadelphia (TCP), formerly known as Women’s Therapy Center (WTC). Serving 350 clients a year, our services include individual, couples, family, and group psychotherapy as well as music therapy, yoga, and psychological testing. All our services are queer and transgender-affirming and we have queer and trans-identified therapists on staff. We have a unique, low-cost program for those struggling with trauma. All of our services are offered through a feminist lens, attending to how our multiple identities shape our lives and impact the therapeutic relationship. Our services are collaborative, focus on connection, a de-emphasis on diagnosis, and have no treatment limit. Our clients are able to change their lives – they get better and stay better. To make an appointment, simply call 215-567-1111, extension 12.
When was TCP founded? In 1972 by a group of visionary therapists seeking to challenge gender and class biases that existed in the mental health system at the time. The founders identified a group of women who were working but were under or uninsured and did not qualify for subsidized benefits. These women were in a precarious position and were falling through cracks in the health care system—hair dressers, waiters, bartenders, dancers. They were supporting their families yet often only a paycheck away from slipping into poverty. TCP’s founders created a center for women that would remove barriers of cost and supplant the patriarchal, medical model in order for low-income women to access quality empowering psychotherapy focusing on healing and transformation over pathology and profit. We carried this vision and mission into today. In 2011, again TCP responded to an emerging community need and explored expanding its mission to include all transgender communities, regardless of sex or gender assignment at birth. After a year of education, community building, and dialogue, TCP unanimously voted to become fully transgender inclusive and affirming in all its services. A comprehensive document was written about our process to work towards this expansion. Read that here.
What’s TCP’s shining moment to date? When we changed our name to Therapy Center of Philadelphia, we developed a new tagline of “Wholeness. Transformation. Connection.” This shift reflects how TCP is open to and inclusive of all women and transgender communities who are seeking to change and improve their lives in a space that is safe and affirming.
If a $1 million check found its way to our doorstep … we would expand and create several programs that have been requested of us in the past. Our programming would include a family program for potential parents, including queer/trans parents wanting to start families, new parents, a postpartum group, and a group for blended and single-parent families. We would offer a youth mental health program for transgender and gender non-conforming youth that was free of charge. We would also expand the number of bilingual therapists and work more closely with more immigrant communities to address trauma and loss experienced. We would also expand our EMDR program and would make all the therapists fulltime and give them benefits.
Have any special events coming up? Therapy Center of Philadelphia just hosted our annual luncheon in October with the keynote speaker speaking on “Considering Race and the Matrix of Identities in Psychotherapy.” Over 100 clinicians and community members attended. At the end of 2014, TCP will be launching its new website to reflect its growth and new name.
I’m strapped for cash. Are there other ways to contribute without giving money? TCP is always looking for volunteers with experience in marketing, graphic design, and social media. Contact info here.
I’m strapped for time. How can I give cold, hard cash? If you would like to donate, you can go to our website at therapycenterofphila.org.