Beneath the shell

Beneath the shell

I recently visited someone I love in a dementia ward of a care facility.

I took a deep breath as I walked in the door. It was suppertime and a large group of seniors were gathered at tables awaiting their evening meal. Some were talking quietly; a number were staring into space.

I joined one of the tables and learned through a caregiver that one of the seniors spoke French. Trying it on for size, I threw them a line in my best attempt at bilingualism.

The man to whom I had aimed the comment suddenly sprang to life, his eyes lighting up and he blurted out a lengthy response to my simple question.

As though a sleeping clock had suddenly sounded, all the members of the table perked up and a second person joined the conversation in French, only to be followed by a third…and then a fourth.

When I commented on how impressed I was by their fluency with language, one exceptionally charming elderly man turned to me and said, “My dear, it’s one of the four languages I speak.”

With the prompting of their caregivers, I learned that two of the five people at the table had published books. I congratulated them on this accomplishment of publishing a book. Again, the stately gentleman gently corrected me letting me know he had in fact, published three.

One member at the table was a retired psychiatrist, another was a former CEO of an international corporation. I never got to learn what the women that didn’t speak French did, because she insisted on speaking to me in Italian
After lots of teasing and laughter, I left the facility with my heart full.

I am reminded that though at times, we may seem to be only shells of our former selves, inside each of us lies a passion and a rich interior. The fact that we are no longer practicing it, makes it no less interesting.

Warm thoughts,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

How many psychologists can you fit in an ambulance?

How many psychologists can you fit in an ambulance?

How many psychologists can you fit into an ambulance?

A few weeks ago, Dr. Petra Woehrle and I joined a group of Psychologists for an experiential training regarding cultural considerations in working with Crown Attorneys and Paramedics.

We listened to personal stories, attended Court, and hopped into an ambulance for some high-speed drills. It was an incredible day but most of all, I was affected by the following information:

• The average career span of a paramedic used to be 5-7 years. Recently it’s been reduced to 3-5.
• The Crown Attorney’s office has lost 20% of its Prosecutors in recent years; a few to retirement, but many have found the conditions of the work too onerous to continue.
• 20% of Nova Scotia Paramedics are currently on leave.
• 25% of Halifax Regional Police are currently on leave.

This day served to renew my commitment to ensuring supports are there for those who need them.

We are grateful indeed for your service,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Honouring who we are

Honouring who we are

This week, I devoted time to sort through stuff in my basement with the intention of clearing out junk that has accumulated over the years.  I found a box filled with all of my report cards from elementary school to the end of high school, as well as some journals, creative writing assignments, and art books.  I’ve always believed that life is about constant change, striving to be a better person, growing, adapting and taking on new challenges.  Looking back at my younger self, I’m not so sure that I’ve actually changed.  There’s a consistency to who I’ve always been that’s reflected through the art, writing, and report cards of my younger self.  
Striving for personal growth, fighting for social justice, practicing the voice of leadership, and expressing my thoughts through writing and art are themes that have been consistent through my entire life.
Even in grade five, my stories were about trauma and redemption.  I wrote about hardship, regrouping, and finding the strength to get life back on track.  In all of these stories, people had to trust in themselves and others in order to move forward.   
There are many days in my adult life where I question myself, and wonder if I have what it takes. Looking back, I realize I’m on the right path.  Some days, I’ll do it well.  Some days… not so much.  
Despite how much I think I’ve changed, maybe underneath it all we’re not that much different from who we’ve always been.  The gifts we’re born with that make us unique, are there from the beginning.  It’s a matter of how much we honour and develop them that determines whether or not we’re on the right path. 
If you’re injured or finding yourself off-track, it’s likely not because you’re a different person now, but rather, that you haven’t yet figured out how to continue being the person you’ve always been.  
We’re not just a trauma recovery centre.  We’re also a centre for resiliency and personal growth, for both those who have been injured as well as those who love and support them.  
If you’re interested, we still have space in our next caregiver program.  Honour who you’ve always been, but learn to take care of yourself in the process.  

Warm wishes,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

I’m so excited…

I’m so excited…

My New Year’s resolution is being realized.  

I committed to ensuring my work is filled with creativity and joy.  Today marks a special part of that with the launch of our first veteran/first responder day treatment program.  The program is full, and Mackenzie has been madly cooking chilli and baking wonderful treats to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and well cared for.  We’ve run two caregiver workshops now, and are thrilledby the response.   It’s such an incredible feeling knowing that a group of people who come together as strangers can so quickly form meaningful connections as they discover the strength of shared experience.

As Doug and I led the Caregiver workshops, we were struck by what an incredibly powerful and resilient group of people they were.  In addition to their caregiver roles, all lead very rich and full lives in their home communities. They wear regular clothing, but in our eyes, looked very much like superheroes.

By the time you read this, the important work we set out to do today will have begun.  I salute the courage it takes to come forward and register for a program.  I commit to do everything in my power to ensure the experience is both positive and welcoming.  It is such an honour to be able to walk on this journey with such a special community.

Wishing you all the best for a warm weekend.

Regards from the entire Landing Strong Team,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Founder, Landing Strong

Holiday Hacks

Holiday Hacks

As we gear up for the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up with the demands of the season.  For many, the extra load can feel somewhat overwhelming.  With this in mind, we have created something special for you: 8 Holiday hacks to keep your recovery on track.  In this special booklet, we offer tips and strategies for staying sane in a time of increased demand. We’ll also be sending mini versions of these strategies to you through social media channels over the next few weeks.

Want to start the New Year off right? We have some exciting new programs launching in January that we invite you to join.  It’s important to call soon so that we can arrange insurance coverage for you to attend.

 Care for the Caregiver Part 1: Supporting and Thriving

Learn Strategies to be a stronger, more resilient support for someone you care about who has PTSD or other Operational Stress Injuries

An encore presentation for those who could not get into the first round.

Monday January 7, 2019 10-3 pm

Care for the Caregiver Series Part 2: Effective communication skills

Learn strategies to reconnect in a meaningful way

Friday January 18, 2019 10-3 pm

New Year New You Part 1

This year, set yourself up for success. Regroup, recalibrate and reclaim your life.  

A program for military members, veterans and first responders.

Friday January 11, 2019 10-3 pm

  • Build confidence
  • Reconnect with yourself
  • Discover your true potential  

Group sizes are limited, book now to avoid disappointment.  Call (902) 472-2972 for more information or email us at

Warm regards,


Braving the cold together

Braving the cold together

It was a cold and windy day as ten brave souls made their way to the first in the series of caregiver workshops.  No doubt anxious about coming to a new place a meeting new people, the group quickly formed bonds that transcended differences that existed between them.  

What struck me the most was the strength and resiliency exhibited by each individual.  We never know what life’s going to throw our way, but ultimately it’s our ability to get back up after we’re knocked down that defines us.  I had the honour of witnessing courage, strength, unconditional support, and compassion among the members of the group.  This workshop is just the first of many.  Keep an eye on your inbox and our social media pages to see what exciting things are in store. 

As promised, we have sent our Caregiver PDF to your inbox.  Next week, we will be forwarding you additional resources to help you get through the holidays in a safe and healthy manner.  

Due to the overwhelming response for Care for the Caregiver Workshop: Supporting & Thriving, we are offering it again on January 7th for those who didn’t make it in the first time around. Contact us to register today.  

A special program New Year, New You designed for Military Members, Veterans and First Responders, will be offered on January 11th. Set yourself up for success in 2019.  Feel free to call us for more information.