Psychology Works for coping with emergencies, disasters, and violent events: Psychologists giving back to Ukrainian Canadians


It has been said more than once in the past two years that we live in unprecedented times. Public health emergencies (e.g., pandemics), disasters (e.g., tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes), and violent events (e.g., mass shootings, terrorist acts, wars), challenge the way we cope.

The CPA issued its statement of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.  In the statement, the CPA asserted its position that military aggression has no place in a civilized society and that the CPA stands with all people of conscience who are committed to living in peace, with respect for the dignity of all the world’s peoples.

The CPA also issued a fact sheet intended for use by members, health care partners and the public on coping with emergencies, disasters and violent events. The fact sheet is available in English, French and Ukrainian.

Canada is home to the third largest number of people of Ukrainian origin, with the largest numbers living in Ukraine and Russia. Many of these individuals and households will experience clinically significant distress. Research has unequivocally demonstrated the significant psychological consequences of exposure to war for adults, children, and families. Such traumatic stress responses can emerge from direct and vicarious exposure to conflict.

There are significant barriers to accessing psychological services in Canada; barriers related to insurance coverage, supply and wait times. Upon the initiative of Dr. Dillon Browne and his lab at the University of Waterloo, the CPA decided to organize a psychological service offering from Canada’s psychology practitioners to Ukrainian Canadians who may be feeling distressed as they navigate the military aggression against the Ukraine.

If you are a practitioner, registered by a regulatory body of psychology in Canada, and want to consider donating some of your time to provide psychological services to Ukrainian Canadians who may be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or distressed about their homeland and families in Ukraine, please let us know.  Please see below for information on how this will work and to confirm your interest in participating.

Program Logistics

Here is how it will work.

  • Psychology practitioners are asked to complete a brief registration form.  By completing the form, you are confirming
    • your interest in providing pro bono psychological services to Ukrainian Canadians.
    • that you are a psychologist or psychological associate, in good standing, registered in the province or territory from which you provide service and to where service is received – this is particularly important when providing services virtually.
    • that you carry professional liability insurance which includes disciplinary hearing coverage. You will identify how prospective clients should contact you, ensuring that the coordinates you give for contact are a secure and private means of communication.
  • Before putting you on the roster, the CPA will confirm that you are registered in good standing with a provincial/territorial regulatory body of psychology.
  • You agree that all services you provide under this initiative will be delivered in compliance with all relevant privacy and security legislation, and professional standards of practice in my province or territory.
  • Psychologists/psychological associates who volunteer must be able to make first contact with the patient within 24 hours.
  • How much service you provide, how many people you see and for how long are fully up to you. However, if someone needs more or different care than you can provide, you will redirect them to the roster so that they can select a different practitioner and/or you will offer them an alternative referral.
  • The scope of pro-bono services that you will provide will be limited to the direct and indirect effects of the military aggression against the Ukraine. When the times comes that you must terminate services with any client you take on, you will need to safely discharge them or transfer their care to a local practitioner who can provide ongoing treatment if necessary.
  • If you are put on the roster, but later decide you cannot offer any more service, please let us know promptly and we will take your name off the roster.
  • The names and phone numbers of psychologists/psychological associates put on the roster will be posted on a specific page on the CPA’s website and will be organized geographically by province or territory.
  • Public facing materials, and promotion done with associations that work with or represent Ukrainian Canadians, will drive Ukrainian Canadians to the website to choose among the psychologists listed.
  • Ukrainian Canadians seeking psychological services will be advised to choose among psychologists/psychological associates who practice in the province or territory where services are received.  It is up to the psychologist, however, to ensure they have the necessary licensure – in the province or territory from where they practice and/or where their service is received.
  • If someone contacts you for service, you will return their call within 24 hours (if you did not connect with them directly). During your first connection, you will arrange to deliver your first session as soon as it is mutually convenient.
  • You are expected to abide notably by the legislation applicable to you in your jurisdiction, the standards of your respective Colleges and, if relevant, to the directives pertaining to tele-psychology in the provision of this treatment.
  • Regarding the consent process, you will agree to insert the following into the consent materials your clients sign at the start of your intervention: “I confirm that I am Canadian of Ukrainian heritage or otherwise related to people living in the Ukraine.”
  • At the outset of the initial contact and at the outset of each treatment session if virtual, you must verify your patient’s identity.

If you are interested in being part of this initiative, please click on the link to provide further information: