Walk-in Clinics

There are fantastic developments occurring in Ontario Canada with increasingly more Walk-in Counselling Clinics opening to provide services to children, youth, adults and families.  This movement has been founded on the input of communities across the province noting not only the usefulness of a single session but also the importance of accessible services in times of need.  The Walk-in, as its name suggests, is a venue for counselling accessed on a  first come first served basis similar to medical walk-in clinics.  There is no wait list as people and families meet with a therapist at their time of need after completing a short intake form.  This provides a single session therapy format with an open door policy should people want to return.

Sample Brief Narrative Walk-in Logic Model

The history of Walk-in Clinics in Canada can be traced to Calgary Alberta where the Eastside Family Centre, led by Arnold Slive and colleagues, opened in 1990 (see Slive, A., McElheran, N., and Lawson, A., 2008).  Here in Ontario, perhaps the Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK) was one of the first to open their clinic in 2001 as a means to address wait list times.  They continue to support other agencies throughout the province in opening their own walk-in doors.  Since 2006 the Clinic where I practice at HN REACH has been open serving children’s mental health and demonstrating that Walk-in Clinics are not just for the urban centres but are an integral part of a diverse service menu for even rural communities.    

By 2008 several clinics had opened in Ontario serving diverse communities in both rural and urban settings.   These clinics were learning from their various populations about the usefulness of walk-in services as well other important understandings.  As a means to get a snapshot of the Walk-in Clinic landscape An Inventory of Walk-in Clinics in Ontario was compiled and serves to paint an important picture of the diverse ways Walk-ins take shape, the many populations they serve, and the varying means by which they are evaluated.  

It is at the Walk-in that a brief narrative practice provides ways forward in time constraint while foregrounding practice ethics.  I have included a sample logic model here to give you a sense of what goes into a small rural clinic as well as the activities and intentions of the clinic.  

In Curiosity,




Slive, A., McElheran, N., & Lawson, A. (2008). How brief does it get? Walk-in single session therapy. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 27(4), 5-22.


© Scot J. Cooper Inc. 2023