The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education joined members of its Centre for Group Counselling & Trauma (CGCT) and members of the United Kingdom veteran’s community in London on May 22nd 2019 for a reception hosted by UK Member of Parliament and Trade Envoy to Canada Andrew Percy.
The event's purpose was to encourage the development of the UBC Faculty of Education’s Veterans Transition Programme (VTP) within the United Kingdom.
The program was created by Dr. Marv Westwood, a UBC professor awarded with the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals for his work in delivering group counselling to veterans dealing with trauma in Canada and abroad.
At the reception, Mr. Percy said that many UK Veterans who fought alongside Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, and within other NATO peacekeeping missions, would benefit from Dr. Westwood’s unique approach.
Under the VTP, veterans work together in a group counselling setting to re-enact critical events and support each other as they address their trauma, thereby helping to make for a healthy transition to civilian life.
On the same day as the reception, CGCT’s Executive Director Tim Laidler, an Afghan Veteran who also holds a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology, met with the UK Minister for Health Jackie Doyle-Price and her colleagues with the National Health Service to further promote the benefits of the program.
He continues to advocate for the program and encourages a future adoption of Dr. Westwood's group counselling approach for all NATO allies beginning with the "Five Eyes" community, which comprises of Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America.
MP Andrew Percy, who has spent time at UBC, plans a future visit later this summer to witness the program first-hand. He thanked all those in attendance for their service and commitment, including veterans from the "Five Eyes" countries.