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Wounded Warriors Canada announces new Trauma Resiliency Program


Program will support ill and injured Veterans and First Responders

VICTORIA, Oct. 12, 2017 /CNW/ - Wounded Warriors Canada is proud to announce the launch of the Wounded Warriors Canada Trauma Resiliency Program (TRP): a group-based training program combining the power of a team approach with effective, trauma-resilient skills development. The TRP is an innovative Operational Stress Injury program that is aimed at helping serving members of the Canadian Forces, Veterans and First Responders who have been exposed to traumatic events.

The Trauma Resiliency Program is a professionally facilitated program that helps participants acquire the necessary tools for overcoming the natural and understandable effects of traumatic exposure based on a clear understanding of the physical and social effects of traumatic injury.

The program focuses on the value of hard work and the importance of peer recognition in transforming wounds into scars, and scars into roadmaps for resiliency. The first program will be delivered this weekend in Victoria and is fully funded by Wounded Warriors Canada.

The program was clinically developed by Dr. Tim Black and Alex Sterling, MA, RCC. Dr. Black is an Associate Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Victoria and he is the Wounded Warriors Canada National Clinical Advisor. Alex Sterling is a clinical counsellor specializing in group and individual approaches to treating trauma and she has worked extensively with veterans and their families coping with the effects PTSD in their relationships.

"This is a proud day for our organization. Thanks to the compassion and generosity of Canadians, Wounded Warriors Canada has grown to a position where we are able to develop and deliver innovative, life-changing programs like the Trauma Resiliency Program. We know our Veterans and First Responders are trained to be resilient. The TRP will provide them with the necessary tools to help them cope with their injury and bounce back better prepared to face challenges ahead," – Scott Maxwell, Wounded Warriors Canada Executive Director.

"We know now more than ever how exposure to traumatic events leads to traumatization. Through a comprehensive and systematic group-based approach, the TRP is the first step in directly addressing the individual and social aspects of trauma as the keys to becoming more resilient in dealing with posttraumatic stress symptoms," – Dr. Tim Black, Associate Professor of Counselling Psychology.


Wounded Warriors Canada is a national mental health charity whose mission is to honour and support Canada's ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans, First Responders and their families. The organization provides a wide range of programs and services for individual members and families affected by Operational Stress Injuries. As a privately funded charity, the organization is made possible thanks to the care, compassion and generosity of Canadians and Canadian businesses from coast-to-coast-to-coast.


Dr. Tim Black, R. Psych. specializes in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Military to Civilian Transition and group counselling approaches. He has been working with the Canadian military and Veteran community as a clinician and researcher for 20 years, has co-developed national programs for Veterans in transition, and is the co-founder and lead researcher of the Wounded Warriors Canada COPE (Couples Overcoming PTSD Every Day) Program. Tim has trained psychologists and counselling clinicians across Canada to work with Veterans and is training the next generation of counsellors at the University of Victoria to understand issues related to Veterans and their families in transition from military to civilian life.


Alex Sterling MA, RCC holds a Master's degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria and she recognizes that people are highly interconnected, both internally (body, mind, emotions and spirit) and externally (to our families, history, culture, and systems). Alex has worked extensively in promoting trauma informed work environments and is a senior facilitator for the Wounded Warriors Canada COPE Program.

More information can be found online by visiting:


Oct. 12, 2017

Expert Q&A: Trauma Resiliency Program aims to change the culture around PTSD

Wounded Warriors Canada announced today the launch of a new Trauma Resiliency Program (TRP) for serving members of the Canadian Forces, veterans and first responders who have been exposed to traumatic events.

The TRP is an innovative Operational Stress Injury program designed and developed by University of Victoria counselling psychologist Tim Black and Alex Sterling, who holds a master's degree in counselling psychology from UVic. It combines a group-based training program with the power of a team approach and trauma-resilient skills development.

Tim Black, chair of UVic's Educational Psychology & Leadership Studies, explains what's unique about the program and why society needs to rethink PTSD.

Q. Why did you create this new program?

A. We want to change the culture around PTSD in our society, particularly with veterans and first responders who are exposed to traumatic events on a regular basis. We're directly addressing the role that societal responses play in traumatization.

Q. What part does society at large play in an individual's recovery from trauma?

A. Traumatization occurs in part because of the way people respond to others following traumatic exposure. A society that stigmatizes and shames individuals who are exposed to trauma, contributes to the process of traumatization. We need to get to a place where people feel the same about seeking treatment for PTSD as we do about going to the gym to recover from an injury—to see it not as an indication of weakness, but a sign of resiliency and strength.

Q. What's unique about the approach in the trauma resilience program?

A. What's new about this program is the focus on changing the culture of psychological injuries from one of perceived weakness to one where hard work is required, team work is valued and transformation is the goal. We are shifting away from the illness models and helping people understand that the "blood, sweat and tears" required for recovering from post-traumatic stress is something that people can be proud of and even share with their communities. In an era of violence and ever-increasing trauma, recovery becomes an act of courage, resistance and resilience.

Q. What does resiliency have to do with recovery from PTSD?

Living with and recovering from PTSD requires a tremendous amount of individual resiliency. Effective education, skills training and strategic use of social responses can help to increase an individual's resilience in their process and help to protect from future harm due to stigmatization.

Q. How has previous research informed your approach?

A. Previous research studies on group-based couples counselling for PTSD (COPE) have influenced our desire to create a program for trauma that focuses on the value of social interventions in addressing PTSD. Also, the dialogues and conversations taking place at national conferences such as the Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research (CIMVHR) Annual Forum are addressing the connections between shame and PTSD recovery.

Media contacts:
Tim Black (Dept. of Educational Psychology & Leadership Studies) at 250-721-7798 or 
Suzanne Ahearne (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-6139 or

Follow us on Twitter: @uvicnews

UVic media relations & services:


SOURCE Wounded Warriors Canada

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