FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHERE WILL I STAY WHILE ATTENDING A RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM?
Clients stay in private suites at our warm and inviting partner residence, the Vernon Lodge, a 7-minute walk from the clinic. You will have your choice of private rooms; we reserve a block of rooms and clients call in to confirm their room and request any changes if desired (such as a king-sized bed, or two queens, or a pet-friendly room, etc.). The Lodge has a pool, hot tub, fitness center, and two restaurants on-site in a natural setting with a running creek and atrium throughout the hotel. VAC clients have health-related travel, accommodations, and meal expenses approved before they attend the program and are promptly reimbursed upon submission of receipts. 
WHAT MAKES YOUR PROGRAM DIFFERENT?

Our program is truly distinguished by its multi-faceted and holistic approach to healing that encompasses a range of transformative elements. Through a careful combination of interaction with qualified professionals, intensive trauma-informed psychotherapy, self-regulation training, and somatic/body-centered therapies, we create a comprehensive and tailored experience for each participant.

What sets us apart is the extensive variety of therapeutic activities we offer, each designed to cater to the unique needs of the group. These include innovative approaches like equine therapy, trauma yoga, art/music therapy, and nutrition, among others. Our commitment to thorough needs analysis and assessments prior to your program ensures that we understand your specific requirements and can craft an experience that best meets them.

However, what truly makes our program exceptional is our passionate and dedicated team of professionals who consistently receive the highest reviews for their role in facilitating transformative change. Their expertise and compassionate approach make them an integral part of your healing journey, contributing significantly to your overall experience.

We firmly believe that you are not broken; rather, you are temporarily out of balance due to the experiences you’ve endured. Our program is dedicated to helping you rediscover your innate strength and healing capacity. We’re here to empower you to become the author of your own story, to reshape your narrative, and to guide you on the path of healing, rediscovery, and growth. This collaborative journey is an honor, and we’re grateful to walk alongside you every step of the way.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF APPLYING?

Applying to our program is a thoughtful and individualized process that ensures we understand your unique needs and can tailor our approach to best support your journey to healing, growth, and empowerment. Here’s an overview of the application process:

1. Initial Inquiry: Begin by expressing your interest in our program. You can do this by reaching out to us through our website, email, or phone.

2. Exploratory Conversation: Once we receive your inquiry, a member of our team will reach out to you for an exploratory conversation. This conversation is an opportunity for you to share more about your background, challenges, and goals. It also allows us to provide you with a deeper understanding of our program and how we can support you.

3. Assessment and Needs Analysis: To ensure the best possible fit between your needs and our program, we’ll conduct a thorough assessment. This may involve collecting information about your trauma history, past treatments, medical history, and any other relevant details. This step helps us identify the most appropriate therapeutic modalities and activities for you.

4. Customized Treatment Plan: Based on the assessment, we’ll create a personalized treatment plan that outlines the specific therapies, activities, and interventions that will be part of your healing journey. This plan is tailored to address your unique challenges, goals, and preferences.

5. Confirmation and Preparation: Once your customized treatment plan is finalized, we’ll provide you with all the necessary details about the program, including the schedule, accommodations, and logistics. This step ensures that you are well-prepared for your time with us.

6. Program Enrollment: With your agreement, you’ll officially enroll in our program. We’ll guide you through the enrollment process, including any required paperwork and administrative steps.

7. Program Participation: Your healing journey will begin as you participate in the various therapeutic activities, workshops, and sessions that have been carefully curated for your experience. Our experienced and compassionate team will be there to guide you every step of the way.

8. Ongoing Support: Even after the program concludes, our commitment to your well-being doesn’t end. We provide ongoing support and resources to help you continue your healing journey and integrate the skills and insights you’ve gained into your daily life.

9. Feedback and Reflection: We value your feedback and encourage you to share your thoughts on the program. This information helps us continuously refine and improve our offerings to ensure the best possible outcomes for all participants.

VAC Clients:

Referrals are approved by a VAC CM and his or her team, you do need a VAC CM. So if you have no case manager, you should get a written recommendation from your GP or psychologist recommending inpatient treatment at the OSR program and have your doctor fax it to the centralized fax # at 1-833-983-1378 to help get the ball rolling. 

 Then you will need to call into VAC tollfree # at 1-866-522-2122 & ask to speak with a Resource Case Manager and inform of your need/interest in attending inpatient treatment for your mental health pensioned condition. You will then be screened and possibly assigned to a case manager to begin the process.

Once you are assigned this person, we can fax the intake, cost information etc. for approval. If your current CM wants more information, please have that person call our clinic at 778-653-2738.

DO I NEED A DOCTOR'S REFERRAL?
For VAC Clients, you will need a referral (a written recommendation — just a brief note is fine), from your primary physician or psychiatrist/psychologist to get coverage for this program. A note from your psychotherapist may be sufficient, depending on your file. 
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

Packing list:

  • Laptop/tablet eg. in case you or your therapist get sick/other reasons, requiring virtual counselling sessions.
  • Weather appropriate clothing and footwear for outdoor activities.
  • Comfortable clothing for the clinic, that you can move and breathe freely in (eg. Physical movement/Trauma Yoga)
  • Any personal items that bring comfort and relaxation, such as a favorite book, music, or photos.
  • A journal or notebook for taking notes, tracking progress, and writing down thoughts and feelings.
  • Any medication or supplements that have been prescribed by a doctor.
  • A willingness to participate fully in the program and to be open to new techniques and approaches to healing.
  • Review the joining instructions.
WHAT THERAPIES SHOULD I EXPECT?

Here’s a brief explanation of each therapy along with an example:

1. Trauma-Informed Individual Psychotherapy (e.g., CBT, CP, CT, PE, EMDR):
   These therapies are designed to address the impact of trauma on an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. They aim to help individuals process traumatic experiences, reframe negative beliefs, and develop coping strategies. For instance, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) might involve identifying and challenging negative thought patterns related to trauma triggers, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CP) could focus on modifying unhelpful beliefs about oneself and the world, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) might involve guided eye movements to reprocess traumatic memories, reducing their emotional intensity.

2. Group Therapy and Psycho-Education:
   Group therapy involves participants coming together in a supportive setting to share their experiences, learn from one another, and receive guidance from a trained therapist. Psycho-education in this context involves educating participants about trauma, its effects, and coping strategies. For example, in a group therapy session focused on post-traumatic stress, participants might share their personal challenges and learn from peers who have successfully managed similar experiences. Psycho-education sessions could teach participants about resilience-building techniques, such as mindfulness and grounding exercises.

These therapies work in conjunction to create a comprehensive and holistic approach to healing from trauma. Individual psychotherapy provides personalized strategies to address specific triggers, while group therapy offers a sense of community and shared understanding. Psycho-education equips participants with knowledge and tools to enhance their resilience and manage their post-traumatic stress.

WHAT ARE THE PROGRAM OUTCOMES?
You can expect to communicate a thorough comprehension of operational stress symptoms; demonstrate competence in employing newly acquired skills to successfully cope, manage, and minimize symptoms of PTSD and comorbid conditions; accelerate recovery and enhance quality of life. Quantitative and qualitative evaluations of PTSD symptom reduction are conducted utilizing assessment methodologies and instruments for program evaluation purposes only (these will not be sent to any third party without your consent).
WHAT ARE SOME HEALTHY MEAL OPTIONS IN VERNON?

When it comes to healthy meal options in Vernon, BC, there are numerous choices available. Here are some suggestions for nutritious and wholesome meals you can explore during your time in the area:

1. Local Farm-to-Table Restaurants:
   – Visit the Naked Pig Café, which offers farm-fresh, organic ingredients and a menu featuring seasonal dishes.
   – Check out Eatology Kitchen, known for its nutritious and locally sourced meals made from scratch.

2. Wraps and Meal-prep Options:
   – Try WrapZone, offering customizable wraps and bowls with fresh vegetables and protein options.
   – Visit Bliss Bakery & Bistro for their salad bar, where you can create a refreshing and nutritious salad with a variety of toppings.

3. Juice Bars and Smoothie Shops:
   – Head to Crush Juicery for a selection of cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and healthy snacks.
   – Stop by Booster Juice for a wide range of fruit and vegetable smoothies, packed with essential nutrients.

4. Vegetarian and Vegan Options:
   – Explore Eat Good Market and Café for plant-based meals, including nourishing bowls, sandwiches, and wraps.
   – Visit Ratio Coffee & Pastry for vegan-friendly options, such as plant-based burgers and creative salads.

5. Health-Focused Cafés:
   – Check out Ratio Coffee & Pastry, known for its specialty coffee and a menu featuring wholesome, nutrient-dense options.
   – Visit Triumph Coffee for a variety of healthy choices, including gluten-free and vegan baked goods.

6. Fresh Seafood:
   – If you’re a seafood enthusiast, consider trying Okanagan Street Food, which offers delicious fish tacos and fresh seafood dishes.

Remember, these are just a few examples, and Vernon has a wide range of eateries catering to various dietary preferences and needs. Don’t hesitate to explore local farmers’ markets for fresh produce and ingredients to create your own healthy meals as well.

DOES YOUR CLINIC UTILIZE REENACTMENTS?

Reenactments, which involve recreating traumatic events, have been utilized in some therapy settings. However, we firmly believe that the well-being and safety of our veterans should always be the top priority. At our program, we have carefully considered the potential impact of reenactments on our clients and have chosen not to incorporate them into our treatment programs. Here’s why:

1. Trauma-Informed Approach: Our therapeutic framework is rooted in a trauma-informed approach, which means we prioritize creating a safe and supportive environment that recognizes and responds to the unique needs of individuals who have experienced trauma. Reenactments, by their nature, can retraumatize participants and potentially worsen their symptoms.

2. Individualized Care: Each veteran’s journey is unique, and our focus is on providing personalized, evidence-based treatments tailored to their specific needs. We understand that exposure to traumatic events differs among individuals, and we believe in fostering healing through alternative methods that do not involve reenactments.

3. Risk of Triggering: Veterans with PTSD often have specific triggers that can evoke intense emotional and physiological responses. Engaging in reenactments can inadvertently expose individuals to distressing stimuli, potentially triggering symptoms and causing further distress.

4. Safety and Ethical Considerations: We adhere to the highest ethical standards and prioritize the safety and well-being of our clients. By avoiding reenactments, we aim to create a space where veterans can heal, grow, and regain control over their lives without unnecessary risks.

We are committed to providing effective, evidence-based treatments that prioritize our veterans’ safety, well-being, and long-term recovery. Our comprehensive programs incorporate a range of therapeutic modalities, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and mindfulness practices, all conducted in a safe and supportive environment.

WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY ON COMORBID ADDICTIONS?

We believe in providing comprehensive care that addresses both the underlying trauma and any related addictions. Allow us to shed light on why our integrated approach sets us apart from addiction centers offering add-on PTSD programs.

1. Understanding the Complex Relationship: We recognize the profound connection between addiction and PTSD, as individuals may turn to substance use as a coping mechanism to self-medicate the distressing symptoms associated with their traumatic experiences. Our clinicians have extensive knowledge and experience in working with co-occurring disorders, acknowledging the unique challenges that arise when addressing addiction and PTSD simultaneously.

2. Holistic Treatment: Our clinic adopts a holistic treatment approach that takes into account the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of recovery. By offering evidence-based therapies for PTSD, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and trauma-informed care, we help clients navigate the root causes of their addiction and PTSD, promoting comprehensive healing and sustainable recovery.

3. Integrated Care Team: At our clinic, our multidisciplinary team consists of dedicated psychologists, trauma therapists, and other mental health professionals. This collaborative approach ensures that each client receives individualized care, tailored to address their unique needs and goals. By working together, we create a cohesive treatment plan that addresses both addiction and PTSD, fostering lasting positive change.

4. Safe and Supportive Environment: We understand the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment for our clients to embark on their healing journey. Our clinic fosters a compassionate atmosphere where individuals feel validated, respected, and understood. This sense of safety allows clients to explore their trauma, address their addiction, and develop healthy coping strategies in a nurturing setting.

5. Comprehensive Aftercare: Our commitment to long-term recovery extends beyond the treatment program. We provide comprehensive aftercare support, including relapse prevention strategies, ongoing therapy, and access to community resources. Our goal is to empower individuals to maintain their recovery and build fulfilling, meaningful lives beyond their time with us.

Choosing the right path for PTSD treatment requires careful consideration. We believe in empowering individuals to overcome the interplay between addiction and PTSD through our integrated, evidence-based approach. Our dedication to holistic care, an experienced care team, and a safe and supportive environment sets us apart as a leading clinic in the field.

WHAT IF I DON'T FEEL READY FOR A GROUP RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM?

We are committed to providing comprehensive and tailored care to our participants, regardless of where they are on the continuum of readiness for change. With this in mind, we have developed a Pre-Admission Program that offers a range of services to support individuals on their healing journey. This program is specifically designed to provide a solid foundation for successful participation in our main treatment program.

Here are the key components of our Pre-Admission Program:

1. Psychological Assessment and Treatment Recommendation: Our experienced psychologists will conduct a thorough assessment to gain a comprehensive understanding of your unique needs and challenges. Based on the assessment results, they will provide a personalized treatment recommendation that aligns with your specific goals and circumstances.

2. One-on-One Counselling: You will have the opportunity to engage in 11 individual counselling sessions with our skilled therapists. These sessions will provide a safe and confidential space for you to explore your concerns, gain insights, and develop strategies to address your mental health needs.

3. Personal Coaching, Guided Mindfulness, and Self-Regulation Practices: Our expert coaches will work closely with you to provide guidance, support, and tools for personal growth and self-care. Through 8 dedicated sessions, you will learn techniques for mindfulness, self-regulation, and overall well-being, empowering you to navigate challenges more effectively.

4. 24/7 Access to our Members Portal: As a participant in our Pre-Admission Program, you will have exclusive access to our Members Portal. This online platform offers a wealth of resources, including educational materials, therapeutic exercises, and self-help tools. You can engage with these resources at your own pace, enhancing your knowledge and skills outside of session hours.

We understand that each individual’s journey is unique, and our Pre-Admission Program aims to provide the necessary support and preparation for a successful transition into our main treatment program. By investing in your well-being through this program, you are laying the groundwork for meaningful progress and long-term healing.

If you are interested in enrolling in our Pre-Admission Program or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to support you on your path to recovery.

DO YOU HAVE A LESS IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE THAN THE INTENSIVE GROUP PROGRAM?
Yes! We offer “trauma-coaching” programs, conducted by our highly skilled team of Master’s and Doctoral level clinicians. This typically looks like a thorough assessment and needs analysis, development of a treatment plan, one intensive session  followed by weekly coaching zoom/calls to monitor your progress and provide support and additional counselling as needed, along with email and text support between sessions. 
WHAT IS HEARTMATH AND HOW IS IT UTILIZED IN YOUR PROGRAM?

​HeartMath is a biofeedback-based program that utilizes heart rate variability (HRV) to help individuals manage stress, anxiety, and emotional regulation. While HeartMath is not a standalone treatment for PTSD, it can be a valuable complementary tool to support veterans in managing some of the symptoms associated with PTSD. Here’s how HeartMath can help veterans with PTSD:

1. Emotional Regulation: Veterans with PTSD often struggle with emotional dysregulation, experiencing intense emotional responses to triggers. HeartMath’s biofeedback techniques teach individuals how to control their heart rate variability, which in turn helps regulate the autonomic nervous system. This can lead to improved emotional self-regulation and reduced intensity of emotional responses.

2. Reducing Anxiety: Anxiety is a common symptom of PTSD. HeartMath exercises, such as coherent breathing and heart-focused visualization, can activate the body’s relaxation response, leading to decreased levels of anxiety and a greater sense of calm.

3. Stress Reduction: HeartMath emphasizes techniques that promote coherence between the heart and brain rhythms. This state of coherence has been associated with reduced stress levels and improved overall well-being. Veterans can use these techniques to manage stress triggers and responses.

4. Enhancing Resilience: HeartMath training can enhance an individual’s resilience to stressors. Veterans can learn to shift their physiological response to stressors, allowing them to cope more effectively with challenges.

5. Improving Sleep: Sleep disturbances are common among individuals with PTSD. HeartMath techniques can help individuals relax before bedtime, promoting better sleep quality by reducing the physiological arousal that contributes to sleep difficulties.

6. Empowerment and Self-Awareness: HeartMath provides veterans with practical tools to take an active role in managing their mental and emotional well-being. Learning to control physiological responses empowers them to feel more in control of their symptoms.

7. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation: HeartMath uses biofeedback technology to provide real-time data on heart rate variability and coherence. This feedback allows veterans to learn how to consciously influence their physiological responses and practice self-regulation.

It’s important to note that HeartMath is most effective when integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan for PTSD, which may include trauma-focused therapies, and other evidence-based interventions. 

HeartMath is not a replacement for traditional PTSD treatments, but it can be a valuable addition to a holistic approach that addresses the multiple dimensions of recovery and well-being.

ARE SPOUSES/FAMILIES INCLUDED IN THE PROGRAM?

Recognizing the importance of family involvement in the healing process, our program actively encourages the participation of adult family members or significant others. Their presence not only provides valuable support to participants but also offers insightful perspectives that contribute to formulating meaningful goals.

At the beginning of the program, we invite family members to attend a comprehensive orientation session. This orientation serves as a platform for mutual support, enabling families to gain a deeper understanding of the program and its objectives. It also creates an opportunity for families to provide valuable input that assists in shaping personalized goals for participants, ensuring a more effective and tailored approach to their treatment.

Throughout the program, couples sessions are available as needed. These dedicated sessions recognize the unique dynamics and challenges that may arise within intimate relationships due to operational stress injuries. By addressing these issues within a safe and supportive environment, couples can work towards improved communication, mutual understanding, and shared growth.

On the last day of the program, we extend a warm welcome to families to attend an educational session specifically designed for them. This seminar provides families with valuable education and insights into operational stress injuries, fostering a greater understanding of their loved one’s experiences. Furthermore, transition meetings are conducted for each participant and their family (if available) to ensure clarity on follow-up plans and available services, ensuring continued support and consolidating the successes achieved throughout the program.

By actively involving families, we aim to create a holistic support network that recognizes and addresses the impact of operational stress injuries on both the individual and their loved ones

HOW IS MST ADDRESSED IN WOMEN'S PROGRAMS?

1. Women Only Participants: Our program is designed specifically to meet the unique needs of women first responders and veterans. We recognize the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment that addresses the specific challenges and experiences that women may face in these roles. 

2. Military Sexual Trauma-Informed Care: We incorporate military sexual trauma (MST)-informed care into our program. Research shows that the overall prevalence of MST was 44.6% in females in the Canadian military, emphasizing the significance of providing specialized care to address the impact of such experiences.

3. Experienced and Highly Qualified Team: Our core team has remained unchanged since our inception, and our clients consistently report profound treatment experiences with our team members. We handpick the best, most experienced, and highly trained clinicians who are sought-after in their field and internationally recognized speakers. Their dedication stems from the profound impact they can make when working with clients on a daily basis.

4. Designed by Veterans and First Responders: Our program is designed by veterans and first responders who possess deep insights into the occupational stressor-related disorders and trauma that individuals in these roles may face. We consult with veterans and first responders on a daily basis to ensure that our program remains relevant and effective, and utilize peer supports (program graduates) for each program to provide a veteran touchpoint and mentorship.

WILL I HAVE THE FREEDOM TO LEAVE IF I NEED TO?

Of course. We recognize the importance of balancing individual autonomy with the well-being of the entire group. Our approach to participants’ freedom of movement within the program is rooted in creating a safe and supportive environment that fosters healing and growth while maintaining group dynamics.

We believe that participants should have the freedom to make choices that are in alignment with their healing journey. We respect each individual’s autonomy and acknowledge that healing is a deeply personal process that unfolds differently for everyone. This includes the ability for participants to engage in various activities, take breaks, and choose how they participate in the program.

While we encourage individual autonomy, we also recognize the importance of group dynamics and the impact they have on the overall experience. Our program is designed to create a cohesive and supportive community where participants can relate to one another’s experiences and share their healing journey. Group cohesion enhances the sense of belonging and emotional safety.

To strike the right balance between individual autonomy and group dynamics, we have established guidelines that prioritize both aspects:

1. Structured Activities: Our program includes a variety of structured activities, therapeutic sessions, and group interactions that contribute to the overall healing process. These activities are designed to benefit participants collectively while also respecting their individual needs.

2. Freedom: Participants have the freedom to engage in activities that resonate with them, take breaks when needed, and navigate their healing path at their own pace. However, we do provide some structure to ensure that essential program elements are covered and that participants can experience the full benefits.

3. Consultation and Communication: We encourage open communication between participants and our program facilitators. If a participant wishes to make adjustments to their schedule or needs additional support, our team is available to discuss and accommodate whenever possible.

4. Safety Measures: To ensure the safety of all participants, especially those who might be more vulnerable due to their trauma experiences, we have certain safety measures in place. These may include guidelines around respectful interactions, confidentiality, and behaviour that supports a positive and healing-focused environment.

5. Supportive Environment: Our program fosters a non-judgmental and understanding atmosphere where participants can share their needs and concerns. The freedom to communicate openly contributes to a respectful and empathetic community.

By striking this balance between individual autonomy and group dynamics, we aim to create an environment where participants can explore their healing journey with the support of their peers while respecting their unique needs and preferences. Our ultimate goal is to provide a transformative experience that promotes healing, growth, and a sense of empowerment for all participants.

WALK ME THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN THE PROGRAM!

9:00 am – 9:45 am: Group Therapy/Education Session
Engage in a supportive and educational group therapy session where participants have the opportunity to share experiences, gain insights, and learn valuable coping strategies. Our expert facilitators guide discussions and provide psychoeducation to promote healing and growth.

9:45 am – 10:00 am: Break
Take a brief break to rejuvenate, reflect, and recharge for the next phase of the day’s activities.

10:00 am – 12:00 am: Individual Therapy Sessions
Experience the benefits of personalized one-on-one counselling sessions tailored to address your specific needs. Our skilled therapists offer a compassionate and confidential space for you to explore, process, and practice your unique journey towards healing. Additionally, engage in self-regulation therapy and biofeedback.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch Break / Exercise
Enjoy a well-deserved lunch break where you can nourish your body and connect with fellow participants or take some solo time to recharge your social battery and process the morning’s therapy. Engage in optional physical exercise options tailored to your abilities and preferences, fostering overall well-being and promoting the release of endorphins to support your healing journey.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Psychoeducation / Group Discussion
Continue your personal growth and healing through focused psychoeducation and discussion sessions on topics such as Chronic Pain, Moral Injury, Relationships, Nutrition, and more. 

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Somatic Therapy
Experience the power of somatic-based approaches, which can further enhance your healing process. Engage in practices such as mindfulness, yoga, art therapy, or other modalities tailored to the group and individuals to promote mind-body connection and support holistic well-being.

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Walking and Social Integration
Engage in gentle physical activity through guided walks, allowing you to reconnect with nature and promote a sense of grounding and inner calm. This session also offers opportunities for social integration, fostering connections with fellow participants and providing a supportive network for mutual support and understanding.

4:00 pm: Daily Wrap-Up
Conclude the day’s activities with a reflective and informative wrap-up session. This is a valuable opportunity to process the day’s experiences, reinforce key learnings, and set intentions for continued growth and progress in your healing journey.

Our daily schedule ensures a structured and balanced approach, offering a diverse range of therapeutic modalities and activities designed to address your unique needs and promote comprehensive healing.