COPE was founded by LCol (retired) Chris Linford and his wife Kathryn. Chris served 33 years in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and has battled PTSD since 1994 after his deployment to Rwanda. Their journey together as a couple following Chris’ return from Afghanistan in 2011 is living proof of the essential value of strengthening relationships as a force multiplier in recovery and transition.
COPE includes the spouse or partner as a significant element of the learning and experience in understanding and addressing the effects of PTSD. During the program’s five-day Phase One, five couples managing PTSD gather together to work on their relationships as a group. They are guided by two expert trauma therapists through this intense program providing them with tools for the couple to battle the effects of PTSD as a team rather than as an individual in isolation. The COPE Program Phase Two offers an ongoing family coaching process that will commence as the Phase One retreat ends. The coaching aspect will extend for six months and will involve three sessions per month for the duration conducted via telephone contact. Veterans need their families to get better and their families need support to help them deal with the challenges of living with PTSD. COPE will provide this support and help them to work together.
Phil Ralph, National Program Director for Wounded Warriors Canada, commented, “Owing to the outstanding support of our donors, Wounded Warriors Canada continues to be a leader in mental health program delivery and development across a broad spectrum of care. We are proud and moved to be making our single largest annual program investment to support this one of a kind, life changing and saving program – inspired and nurtured by Chris and Kathryn’s own experience as a couple.”
Chris and Kathryn Linford, Founders of COPE, commented, “The COPE program is impacting couples in a new and very positive way. Those attending COPE learn to understand the injury better and how to manage it as a team and family versus in isolation. With this historic donation from Wounded Warriors Canada, we look forward to a broadened delivery plan that will see many more Veterans and First Responders – joined by their spouses and partners – participate in the program.”
Scott Maxwell, Executive Director of Wounded Warriors Canada, commented, “This is a proud and historic day for our charity. Being injured with PTSD can make even the smallest aspects of life difficult – especially when faced alone. We are very proud that the COPE Program includes the partner or spouse working together as a team to conquer all aspects of life and thus improving their chances for a happier and more successful future as a family.”
For more information on Wounded Warriors Canada and the COPE program please visit: woundedwarriors.ca/how-we-help/cope-couples-overcoming-ptsd-everyday/