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Tuesday 14 August 2012

Resources: A Depression Program in Farsi

The new Farsi-language edition.

Today I'm announcing an exciting development, long in the making.  The Changeways Core Program is now available in Farsi. And we are making it available free of charge to appropriate healthcare professionals.


Changeways Clinic began its life at UBC Hospital in Vancouver as a post-hospitalization group therapy program for clients suffering from major depression. We developed The Core Program, a cognitive behavioural therapy protocol for running these groups. This includes a manual for clients and another for therapists running the program.

This program was remarkably successful, and we have updated the program repeatedly to incorporate client and clinician feedback and new research. (We call the current version the "3rd Edition" but the first few versions weren't numbered - it's probably actually the 6th Edition.) The program is in use across Canada, and has been implemented in the USA, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Australia as well.

The problem, of course, is that not everyone is able to read the English language manual. Canada is a land of newcomers, and some would benefit more from having the materials in their own language. But  translations are notoriously expensive, and so we have been restricted in our ability to provide multilingual editions.

The Farsi Project

Enter Goli Shifteh, a Cross Cultural Counselor working in the Greater Vancouver area with the Farsi-speaking population. She attended the Changeways Core Program training and began offering the program. She was gratified with the results, and struck by the parallels between cognitive behaviour therapy and the writings of the great 13th century Persian poet Rumi.

She embarked on a difficult and exhaustive project to translate the entire Participant Manual into Farsi, with the considerable aid of her friends and colleagues:

Felora Farahani
Solat Toosi
Mahtab Shariatmadari
Behsheed Darvish

The manual is not simply a word for word translation, but also a cultural translation, expressing the concepts in a way that is designed to be most accessible to Farsi-speaking populations. In addition, the layout and cover design were substantially reworked. The new design is actually considerably more elegant and beautiful than the English version.

The project is now complete. Now: What to do with it?


The original intent was to create an edition to accompany groups based on the program that were being offered for the large Farsi-speaking community in Vancouver.

Goli and her team pointed out the obvious:  there are many other communities with large Farsi-speaking populations all over the world, and the team wished to make the work more widely available. But how should we do this? If we make up physical copies and ship them from our offices like we do with our other products, we create a financial barrier. If we charge for the electronic version we do likewise.

In light of the generosity of Goli and her team, we have opted to go another route. We are making the Farsi Participant Manual available free of charge to universities, physicians, and mental health professionals in a pdf format.

One option was to simply post the pdf on the Changeways Clinic website, but we wanted to try to get the manual into the hands of responsible trained professionals. Consequently, we've decided to offer the manual upon email request.

To get a copy

Simply email us at products (at) State your profession, country, and a brief reason for wishing a copy of the program, and we will reply with pdf versions of the client manual and related forms for your use and for reproduction for your own clients.

Once you have the manual, you may make as many copies for as many of your own clients as you wish. We do not require that your service be free of charge or covered by a government-funded health program. Many users of the Core Program are in private practice.

What if I don't speak (or read) Farsi?

The translation includes bilingual English/Farsi headings. If you have an English-language copy of the manual, you can easily tell what you are handing to the client. We imagine that many users of the translation will be English-speaking clinicians already familiar with the Core Program, who wish to provide a translated version for their Farsi-speaking clients.

The fine print 

The Clinician Guide for the program has not been translated, because it is considerably longer than the Participant Manual and translating it would have been an enormous job. This English-language guide is available from our offices as well, but regrettably we do have to charge for it. We have created an electronic pdf version available upon request. This allows us to supply it at lower cost than the hard-copy version. If you don't have a copy, simply inquire about this when you write us.

The pdf translation (and any documents purchased or received from Changeways Clinic) is provided specifically to the professional requesting it. It may not be forwarded on to others without the written permission of Changeways Clinic, nor posted in any way on the internet.

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