Veterans Transition Network
Women's Transition Program
The Veterans Transition Network (VTN) provides unique group programs across Canada for Veterans transitioning to civilian life. This gives them a place to help each other and learn how to adapt and thrive in the civilian world. The programs are facilitated by specially trained psychologists, counsellors and graduates of the program.
For over 7 years they have been delivering women’s programs that are sensitive to the unique challenges that women face in the Canadian Forces and during their transition, such as discrimination, harassment and military sexual trauma. The delivery of this program is a chance to provide support to this often-underserved population.
Upon the completion of the program, graduates report significant positive changes in their relationships with their extended family, friends, community members, co-workers and other veterans. Many become involved in their communities again via charitable/first responder work, returning to a helping role they had been estranged from.
The most important outcomes of the program includes the reduction of depression, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD, as well as helping the veterans on the programs to reconnect with their friends and loved ones. Through the translation of military experience and education on expectations around civilian environments, veterans gain the confidence and skills to successfully transition into a civilian lifestyle and workplace.
The Captain Nichola Goddard Fund is proud to work in partnership with VTN to support servicewomen, Veteran women and in turn, their families.
It’s been 30 years since Marisa served during the Gulf War. That is how long she lived with PTSD before finding the help to heal. Through the Transition Skills Course, she connected with fellow Veterans and discovered how to process her own struggles that she had tucked away for nearly three decades.
“I didn’t even know I had PTSD until three years ago. I had always been the caregiver. I’m constantly taking care of everybody else. But you need to allow other people to help you too.”
After leaving the Canadian Armed Forces in the 1990s, Marisa completed a degree in psychology and started her own business. Over time, she realized that in order to help others, particularly with PTSD, she needed to better understand what others were going through. That is when she found the Veterans Transition Network and enrolled in the 2020 Transition Skills Course.
“On the first day, I felt cautious. Quiet. Like I was wearing a mask sometimes. By day two to three, they saw through the mask because they all wear it too. It’s like tearing down the blocks and you’re exposing yourself. There was an understanding that you could talk to this group about anything and feel comfortable to talk about things you wouldn’t normally talk about. Just being around people who understand, even after all these years. By the end, we made a connection – we made a Facebook page and we do a chat when something is triggering one of us.
I want other Vets to know that you’re not alone. Sometimes, you feel like you’re alone and you have to keep everything inside, but when you’re surrounded by other vets who have experienced trauma, you realize, ‘it’s not just me.’ That military, family bond that you once had is still there. For me, it took a long time to find it again. The more you talk with other Vets, the more you feel you’re still part of this family.”
I was just three years in the service. I always say just – it’s not just. The other participants said, ‘you did something in those three years; the impact was there.’ I felt validated on the last day. I’ve never felt validated and now I do. ‘You did something’ – it meant more coming from them.”
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