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- OCCUPATIONAL TRAUMA PROGRAM THERAPIES
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Based out of Powell River, BC as a resident program, we serve first responders (firefighters, paramedics, police, RCMP), veterans, armed forces, corrections officers, and other “helping” professionals who are struggling with occupational trauma and work-related stress injuries and are seeking trauma treatment options. Our occupational trauma program is filled with clients from Vancouver, Burnaby, Victoria and other cities in British Columbia and throughout Canada.
Our trauma treatment program involves intensive medical, psychiatric, and psychology care one on one and in groups. We focus on providing you with (1) therapies designed to build self regulation skills to deal with dissociation, anxiety, depression, anger, and other symptoms of trauma, and (2) therapies designed to help you make sense of your suffering and pain so you can go forward in pursuit of a meaningful life.
Although there is a Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) component in our trauma program, therapies that focus on the details of your actual trauma experience are purposely kept to a minimum and provided only when you are ready. Your trauma therapy and care will be individualized based on your needs and you will be able to explore different approaches to treatment, discovering what really works for you. Our team of highly credentialed and experienced staff will partner with you to make sure the issues you see as problems are the focus of your time with us.
Trauma arises when the individual’s way of making sense of himself and the world is confronted with an experience that is incompatible with his worldview. This incompatibility is so extreme that the individual cannot integrate the traumatic experience(s) into how he makes sense of himself and the world. Intrusive thoughts, avoidance, and hypervigilance are the most common trauma symptoms.
At SCHC, we emphasize that trauma cannot be reduced solely to neurobiology, maladaptive learned behavior, or environmental conditioning. Trauma also affects our fundamental motivations at the level of self-concept and identity, relationships, personal meaning, and purpose. In other words, treatment that focuses on symptom reduction is less effective than treatment that combines symptom reduction with helping clients pursue personally meaningful lives.
The goal of the trauma program is to help first responders, military personnel, and veterans begin the process of integrating their traumatic experience(s) into how they make sense of themselves and the world. To achieve positive results, this new way of making sense of things must be responsive to reality and to the client’s values.
As one of the top-rated trauma therapy programs in BC, our treatment goal with respect to trauma is to help clients toward transformational change, not merely attaining a measure of physical and emotional stability. Our trauma therapy program prepares clients and their families for a deeper, more meaningful life.
Our program reflects the latest in evidence-based care, focusing on the whole person rather than just the ‘trauma’. Our program combines the best practices of medicine and psychiatry, cognitive-behavioural coping skills, family systems, and narrative therapies, with a special focus on a humanistic-existential approach.
We are an approved provider with Canadian Forces, Veterans Affairs Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We also maintain partnerships with many first responder organizations and unions as well as WorkSafeBC. While our residential trauma program is located in Powell River, BC, we have centres in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary offering group meetings and 1-on-1 counselling to clients after they’ve left our trauma program.
There are many barriers to achieving a personally meaningful life. One primary focus of the trauma program is to help clients overcome these barriers. A common barrier is that clients have lost connection with their physical and emotional selves. The goal of these skills is to help clients develop any number of skills for affect self-regulation. When anxiety increases, they can simply use these skills to self-sooth. Defensive coping skills are provided in both group and individual sessions. Group sessions generally involve grounding exercises, breathing exercises, guided imagery, and information on sleep hygiene. Individual sessions tend to focus on hypnotherapy.
A second program focus is to help clients gain awareness of their authentic values and pursue personal goals. Research shows that affect self-regulation (defensive coping skills) is not sufficient to achieve contentment. Our clients must also recognize that they, like everyone, have desires to fulfill. Human beings cannot live simply by what they do not want (e.g., negative emotions) but also by what they want (meaningful lives).
Existential coping skills help clients gain awareness of self, world, and how they fit in that world. This group processes experiences of post-trauma life and how these have affected their self-definition and relatedness. Past experiences may arise naturally in the group, but the group’s main focus is how they are experiencing their present world. As well as deconstructing current experiences, therapy helps clients construct new ways of coping and making sense of their experiences.
Existential coping skills also include acceptance, humility, and forgiveness. Understanding who he is, what the world is like, and practicing acceptance and forgiveness, gives the client the best chance at working through struggles and growing from them.
The goal of developing existential coping skills is to help clients make sense of their lives in way that is more responsive to reality and to their values.
Expertise in assessment and psychotropic drug therapy is critical in treatment for trauma.
Trauma program clients participate in an initial psychiatric assessment, consisting of a client history, mental state examination, impressions and recommendations. As part of psychiatric services, clients receive ongoing psychiatric care which includes medication monitoring by nursing staff.
EMDR is a therapy that was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1989. The desensitization and reprocessing in EMDR refer to the removal of emotional disturbances associated with the traumatic memory, and the replacement of unhealthy negative cognitions/beliefs related to traumatic events with more positive and healthy cognitions/beliefs.
Sunshine Coast Health Centre has utilized hypnotherapy and active meditation extensively with clients, particularly during evenings and weekends when clients tend to experience heightened anxiety.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To order a copy of our trauma brochure, please see our Brochure page. If you or a loved one is suffering from trauma, please reach out for a confidential consultation about our trauma therapy program. Located in Powell River, BC, we are considered one of the best trauma treatment programs for men not only in BC, but in all of Canada. Clients come to us from not only Vancouver or Victoria in BC, but also Edmonton or Calgary in Alberta or as far away as Toronto, Ontario.
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