(Globe Newswire) Toronto — Dimensions has announced that Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) has officially approved their ELEVATE for Veterans-Only Program as a VAC Interdisciplinary (IDC) inpatient program.
The Canadian company offers health and wellness retreat experiences with a therapeutic focus on mental health disorders affecting the central nervous system. Retreats will be conducted monthly at their flagship Dimensions Algonquin Highlands property, beginning this June 2023.
“Dimensions’ IDC designation by VAC signals a positive complement or alternative to traditional cognitive and talk therapies. It demonstrates the broader acceptance of group and individual somatic psychotherapy and provides the opportunity for treatment-resistant Veterans to explore the body, mind, and emotions with progressive evidence-based treatments.” — Donald Currie, RP, clinical director, Dimensions Algonquin Highlands
The program’s evidence-based approach includes a retreat supported by the latest developments in neuroscience and neurobiology, oriented towards mitigating the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI), anxiety disorders, and depression.
According to Dimensions’ chief medical officer, DJ Cook MD, PhD, FRCS (C): “The Veteran population has unique healthcare needs with complex mental health disorders and injuries that traditional therapies can be ineffective in fully addressing. Dimensions recognizes that this next step in the evolution of mental health treatment for Veterans requires a collaborative therapeutic approach to healing with somatic therapy.”
ELEVATE for Veterans-Only Program is a holistic treatment model with a wellness plan individualized and optimized for Veterans across a timeline that includes an initial assessment, individual and group psychotherapy and preparation prior to a 10-day retreat. Post-discharge aftercare spans 42 weeks.
The delivery of care by Dimensions’ trauma-sensitive interdisciplinary team, is led by Donald Currie, Registered Psychotherapist (RP). The on-site retreat team of more than 20 experienced and licensed psychotherapists and clinicians upholds the role somatic therapy can play in helping people process trauma stored in the body and the nervous system.
The goal of the program is to improve outcomes in psychological functioning and well-being for the Veterans, as well as eliciting improvements in their pain experience. With the support of a lakeside setting in nature; psychotherapy; nutritious meals; daily breathwork; and bodywork practices, such as yoga, Qigong, and massage therapy, Veterans identify the sources and triggers of their mental-health and pain challenges. Through the various healing modalities, their central nervous system is reset, and stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms are reduced. Meals are created around guests’ retreat schedule and dietary specifications and preferences. The ingredients and preparations optimize gut health and brain health.
The clinical program and evidence-based treatments included in the ELEVATE for Veterans-Only Program were developed over three years, in conjunction with researchers and clinicians from Ontario’s Queen’s University. The process included a comprehensive review of proven healing modalities and best practices to aid Veterans in their healing journeys.
In the summer of 2022, Dimensions also identified a core group of Veterans who expressed the need for an effective therapy in a natural environment — and one that was cannabis tolerant, given many Veterans have an existing prescription for medical marijuana. Their insights helped ensure the relevancy of the current program.
Dimensions Algonquin Highlands is open to clients by clinical assessment only. The retreat’s main gathering place, Maple Lodge, includes a dining room, lounge, nine treatment rooms, and a float room. On site, there is also a ceremony dome, a yoga/multipurpose room, and various wellness and outdoor features such as forest trails, a yoga deck, and forest installations.
Seventeen private cabin suites with private decks have been custom designed by internationally renowned creative studio and hospitality design experts DesignAgency, to provide guests with a calming sanctuary to relax, prepare and reflect, during their healing retreat. Dimensions Algonquin Highlands, located at 1218 Canopy Lane, can be reached from Toronto, Ontario, in under three hours by car, and one hour by private airplane to the nearby Stanhope Municipal Airport (CND4).