Carol Anne Sipe, 62, of Mount Airy, a psychotherapist who left the bureaucracy of government social work for a private practice in which she could work more closely with her clients, died of ovarian cancer Tuesday at home.

Miss Sipe worked in leadership positions with Family Service of Burlington County and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families in Delaware, but it was in one-on-one therapy sessions that she realized her true calling.

"She felt it was more rewarding to be in an intimate environment trying to help people make change," her brother, Daniel said.

Out of her Mount Airy offices, Miss Sipe offered therapy for clients who were often musicians, painters, and professionals in the arts.

She had developed a group of friends in the arts when she was a student at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1970s. She frequented small music venues such as the Cherry Tree Music Co-op and Geno's Empty Foxhole. Her client base grew from those early connections.

"Sometimes in the early days when people were starting out, she got paid in artwork," said Marian Sandmaier, Daniel Sipe's wife.

Miss Sipe embarked on a career in social sciences, partly as a result of the inspiration of her grandmother, who was a social worker.

She earned a bachelor's degree in English from Smith College in 1968. Then she was a social worker in New York and Boston before taking off on a year-long trek through Africa and Europe.

She entered Penn when she returned, and earned a master's degree in social work in 1978.

Miss Sipe was chief social worker at a community mental health center in West Philadelphia, where she supervised a program on parenthood. In the early 1980s, she was director of counseling services at Family Service of Burlington County. After eight years with the agency, she joined the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families in Delaware as director. She left the Delaware agency in 1993 to focus on her private practice.

Outside the office, she developed a group of devoted friends, whom she loved to entertain. She helped start a writing group and a women's support group. A longtime Buddhist, Miss Sipe also founded a Buddhist group that met to study and chant.

When she became ill, she accepted it, and she was willing to talk about it just as her clients had shared their experiences with her.

"She fought very hard to stay alive," Sandmaier said. "But at the same time, she often said, 'This is part of the process of life. Sometimes you get ill and you die.' "

In addition to her brother and sister-in-law, Miss Sipe is survived by a sister, Sarah "Sally" Sipe; and nieces Darrah Sipe and Elizabeth and Carolyn Wagner.

Services are private. Memorial donations may be made to Keystone Hospice, 8765 Stenton Ave., Wyndmoor, Pa. 19038.

Contact staff writer Kristin E. Holmes at 610-313-8211 or kholmes@phillynews.com.