History and Present Direction of the Center

Dr. Christopher “Chris” Wilson established the Center for Healthier Relationships, Individuals, and Sexualities (CHRIS) in 2017. CHRIS was initially founded as part of the Philadelphia Institute for Individual, Relational, and Sex Therapy (PHIIRST). Dr. Wilson stays connected to PHIIRST as a supervisor and virtual therapist.

When establishing CHRIS, Dr. Wilson envisioned a community of therapists to help meet the needs of diverse population, including people in the LGBTQ+ community. Since its inception, there has been an increased need for therapists in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas. As such, the network of providers has grown. The needs has grown in part due to COVID as well as a recognition that those who are part of a given community, often seek therapists in such community. As such, many of the clinicians at CHRIS work with people who have similar lived experiences/personal identities as their own. This can help clients feel as though they are being seen without having to teach their therapist about their individual identity based struggles. While therapist at CHRIS work to connect with people based on lived experience, they also recognize that all people are individuals, with their own lived experiences and life narratives.

As COVID became an increasing risk, services extended to online throughout the state of Pennsylvania. These services have continued to meet the need of clients who would prefer to work with therapists virtually. As such, all providers at CHRIS are licensed in PA or under the supervision of a licensed therapists. In order to reach clients in areas that may not have as many therapists or therapists with specific specialities, many of the therapists at CHIRS have licenses in other states, including Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, California, Florida, and South Carolina. Therapist are able to see clients virtually in these states.

In 2022, CHRIS began a collaboration with PHL Therapy Collective. The two groups share an office in the Land Title Building in downtown Philadelphia, just south of City Hall.