UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page UBC Home Page -
News Events Directories Search UBC myUBC Login
- -
UBC Public Affairs
UBC Reports
UBC Reports Extras
Goal / Circulation / Deadlines
Letters to the Editor & Opinion Pieces / Feedback
UBC Reports Archives
Media Releases
Services for Media
Services for the Community
Services for UBC Faculty & Staff
Find UBC Experts
Search Site

UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 12 | Oct. 10, 2002

Helping Traumatized Soldiers cope with Civilian Life

Three-year study looks for answers

By Hilary Thomson

Helping Canadian soldiers overcome the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and make the transition to a civilian career is the aim of a three-year study headed by UBC counselling psychologist Marv Westwood.

A $104,000 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) will allow Westwood and colleague Prof. Bill Borgen to evaluate the Transition Program for Canadian Peacekeeping Soldiers, a group-counselling program that he launched in 2001.

“Little research has been done on how exposure to traumatizing events affects soldiers’ ability to make the transition to home and work life,” says Westwood, who works in the Counselling Psychology program in the Faculty of Education.

He will work with three groups of 6-8 soldiers that have served as peacekeepers and as soldiers in Vietnam. The original program has been expanded to include a career strategies component as well as partner awareness sessions.

Westwood will evaluate the program’s immediate and long-term effects through personal interviews and questionnaires conducted before and after participation in the program and at a six-month follow-up. The results will help counselors better understand the process of change and transition in the aftermath of traumatizing events, he says.

Peacekeeping soldiers are exposed to events such as atrocities and torture, and retrieving and disposing of human remains. They experience stress-related reactions such as PTSD at rates as high as 35 per cent, says Westwood. Left untreated, these reactions may result in aggressive behaviour, troubled relationships, withdrawal and depression.

“Returning peacekeeping soldiers have not been well-served by existing counselling programs,” says Westwood. “We hope this research will help develop therapies that recognize the significance of their experiences.”

- - -  

Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

to top | UBC.ca » UBC Public Affairs

UBC Public Affairs
310 - 6251 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
tel 604.822.3131 | fax 604.822.2684 | e-mail public.affairs@ubc.ca

© Copyright The University of British Columbia, all rights reserved.