New focus for Homecoming Vets to meet PTSD needs


The number of veterans and currently serving military are more plagued with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder now that the Afghanistan War is being closed down for Americans and Canadians. In Canada, the lack of empathy within the military services and certainly by our federal government can be classed as criminal. We have left our service people adrift, and current government cutbacks further exasperate this tragic need for professional help.

To date, Homecoming Vets has invited veterans who have worked to create their self-help groups to share their successful experiences with you. They will continue to contribute the progress of their efforts. As well, Sylvain Chartrand of Canadian Veterans Advocacy has been steadily collecting all the articles he can find on PTSD treatments and developing knowledge on the CVA’s website, while here I have found professional therapists willing to contribute and interact with helpful advice to bridge the growing need to deal with PTSD sufferers.

With the format here, you will be able to ask these trauma experts questions through the Comments function, and they will be able to respond to your questions directly.

At this time, I am delighted to introduce two professionals who have volunteered to contribute to our upcoming PTSD FORUM. BONNIE

MARY K. ARMSTRONG, TRAUMA THERAPIST

Mary K. Armstrong is one of Canada’s most accomplished trauma therapists. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from the School of Social Work, University of Toronto, and has trained extensively in the techniques of FOCUSING and EMDR. Mary lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Mary K. Armstrong is one of Canada’s most accomplished trauma therapists. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from the School of Social Work, University of Toronto, and has trained extensively in the techniques of FOCUSING and EMDR. Mary lives in Toronto, Ontario.

“My focus is on how trauma is trauma whether it happens in the battlefield or in the victim’s home.”

“In my book — CONFESSIONS OF A TRAUMA THERAPIST: A MEMOIR OF HEALING AND TRANSFORMATION, I detail Guidelines for Healing – all do-it-yourself approaches for reducing stress and helping the body normalize. For instance, cardio vascular exercise is really important – as this is the way all animals are programmed to deal with the fight-or-flight response to trauma.

“My practice has been made up of folks with trauma from terrible accidents, fires and ski accidents. Childhood trauma became my specialty. The changes to the brain are the same and the same treatments are useful for all kinds of trauma.”

NOTE: Mary is bringing techniques in self-healing to those suffering from PTSD in her efforts to help those who have no access to professional help but need to find ways to cope with after-effects combat traumas have brought into their lives and the lives of the ones they love.

DR. DEE RAJSKA, C. PSYCH, CLINICAL AND REHABILITATION PSYCHOLOGIST

Dr. Dee Rajska, C. Psych.

Dr. Dee Rajska, C. Psych, Clinical and Rehabilitation Psychologist, focuses on the treatment of trauma in her clinical practice located in St. Catharines, Ontario. She originally received her Ph. D. from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

“Currently my professional activities are focused on treating combat-related trauma in veterans. I believe that those who have put their lives on the line to serve their country deserve to be treated with the utmost compassion, dignity, respect, and gratitude.

“To me, serving those who have served includes striving to continually educate myself to provide the very best possible care to my patients. As well, I’m eager to expand my involvement in volunteer and advocacy roles, to help make mental health care more accessible to veterans, active duty military, law enforcement personnel, and first responders.

“It is mind-boggling just how poor the access to appropriate professionals is for veterans. I’m happy to get involved in helping to change that. Currently, I’m moving forward with an effort in Ontario to form a task force within the Ontario Psychological Association to help attract more psychologists to do this type of work, and to disseminate the type of information (on veterans’ needs and military culture) that would be required for psychologists getting started in this area to do the work well. That’s obviously just one small piece of an overall strategy to help solve the problem. I’m happy to connect with other stakeholders in the larger picture, to help identify and eliminate the barriers to veterans getting the help that they need.”

NOTE: Dee provides assessment and treatment in English as well as in Polish.  Her areas of professional focus: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Operational Stress Injury; Combat Stress; Adjustment; Depression; Anxiety Disorders.” 

New Series: A Veteran’s Point of View on PTSD or OSI (homecomingvets.com)

Special play about PTSD – KILL ZONE A LOVE STORY – to be produced in Halifax (homecomingvets.com)

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anyway? (hollykaufman.com)

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About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan vets, Canadian Armed Forces, Canadian Peacekeepers, caregivers, depression, emotional trauma, estrangement from family, federal government, Homecoming Vets, mental illness, physical disability, post traumatic stress disorder, social workers, suicide, veterans' affairs, veterans' assistance programs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to New focus for Homecoming Vets to meet PTSD needs

  1. Bonnie,

    Thank you so much for the lovely introduction. I look forward to getting started with making a contribution!

  2. Pingback: Series: A Veteran’s Point of View on PTSD or OSI. Part 3 | Homecoming Vets at the Crossroads of Humanity

  3. Pingback: CHANGING DIRECTION: How To Move Into the Future Despite Your Past | A Friend to Yourself

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