Couples-based PTSD program gets big boost

COPE, a program that helps couples deal with post-traumatic stress disorder has received a $375,000 donation from the Wounded Warriors Canada organization.

Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday is an innovative program designed to support ill and injured currently serving and retired Canadian Armed Forces members and first responders suffering from PTSD, and their families.

COPE was co-founded by Lt. Col. (retired) Chris Linford, his wife Kathryn Linford and Dr. Tim Black.

Linford served for 33 years in the CAF and has battled PTSD since 1994 after his deployment to Rwanda. COPE includes the spouse or partner as a significant element of the learning and experience in understanding and addressing the effects of PTSD.

“This is a big day for Wounded Warriors Canada. Being injured with PTSD can make even the smallest aspects of life difficult – especially when faced alone,” Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada said in a press release. “We are very proud that the COPE Program includes the spouse or partner working together as a team to conquer all aspects of life and, in turn, improving their chances for a happier and more successful future as a family.”

During the COPE’s program’s five-day Phase One, five couples managing PTSD gather together to work on their relationships as a group. They are guided by two expert trauma therapists through this intense program providing them with tools for the couple to battle the effects of PTSD as a team rather than as an individual in isolation.

Phase Two offers an ongoing family coaching process that will commence as the Phase One retreat ends.

The coaching aspect will extend for six months and will involve three sessions per month for the duration conducted via telephone contact.

The program is built on the belief that veterans need their families to get better and their families need support to help them deal with the challenges of living with PTSD.

“The COPE program is impacting couples in a new and very positive way. Those attending COPE learn to understand the injury better and how to manage it as a team and family versus in isolation,” the Linfords said. “With this historic donation from our national founding partner at Wounded Warriors Canada, we are able to continue to broaden the delivery plan that will see many more veterans and first responders – joined by their spouses and partners – participate in the program.”

Author: Nestor Arellano

Nestor Arellano is editor of Vanguard Magazine. Nestor is a seasoned journalist who has written extensively on defence and military industry issues as well as technology and business developments. He is also associate editor of Vanguard's sister publication, IT in Canada.

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