Coping with the darkness of trauma
When Jordan went to his very first Landing Strong group, someone made an analogy about post-traumatic stress disorder that stuck with him.
“They said PTSD is like being in a dark area and there’s a big gate and you’ve got to make it through the gate,” he explains. “At that time, I was like, I can’t even see the gate. It’s just darkness. But that stuck with me these past two years. I’m now on the other side of that gate. The gate is still open, the darkness is still there, but I’m no longer just engulfed by it.”
Helping those injured in the service of others
Recognizing gaps in programming for veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD and operational stress injuries in Nova Scotia, Dr. Belinda Seagram, a registered psychologist, founded Landing Strong.
“It’s for people who have been injured as they’re doing their job, while they’re acting in service of others,” says Seagram. “These are mission-driven folks who are hardwired to be helpers and not necessarily as quick to help themselves.”
Bringing people together to heal
Seagram says while she was seeing really nice steps forward in the recovery process in the one-on-one work she was doing in her practice, it was the addition of group programs where she began to see big changes.
“Almost everybody says I can’t be in a group. I tell them that’s what everybody says. Individual therapy is a fantastic way to start, but if you want quick recovery and a fuller recovery, a group process is a really essential component of that, because really, I think you need community in order to have complete healing.”
Tom*, a police officer and participant, says that part of the reason groups are so important is because of the sense of loss that happens when you have to step away from a job you love or from your sense of purpose.
“The biggest thing that Landing Strong offers is the ability for us to have a place to connect,” he notes. “So where we’re missing a sense of purpose, where we’re missing a sense of community, where we’re missing that foundation, we can come here and rebuild those pieces that are missing.”