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Public safety employees make many personal sacrifices to serve the community and our country.

Our staff is dedicated to provide the support they deserve to cope with the psychological trauma & stress that they sustain from their service

Core Services Offered

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Psychological services to firefighter employees are unique. Firefighter psychologists are informed about the laws and guidelines that are pertinent to making decisions and providing appropriate intervention services for City personnel.

Firefighter psychologists are familiar with organizational dynamics and firefighter culture, which allows them to be more effective in providing trainings and psychotherapy, as well as understanding the working conditions and stressors unique to their ranks and various assignments.

Firefighter psychologists are trained to handle ethical problems such as issues around confidentiality, dual relationships, and conflicts between the ethical standards of the psychologists and the needs to the agency.

When a firefighter suffers from trauma, his or her family also suffers. Shift work, public scrutiny, long hours, and the danger of firefighter work can have disruptive consequences for firefighter families.

Researchers have found that family members can experience vicarious or secondary trauma that mimics Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Artwohl & Christensen, 1997; Batten et al., 2009; Kirschman 2007; Reehr, 2005). To address these issues, we offer trainings for fire families that can be done with family orientations, workshops, and even on a crisis intervention basis as needed.

Our office provides therapy for fire couples and families. Therapists who understand organizational stressors, fire culture, and the unique manifestations of trauma in fire officers are especially helpful to fire families.

Early intervention is essential for preventing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Psychological first aid, critical incident stress debriefings, and cognitive behavioral therapy have been found to be effective methods for early interventions. There has been some controversy in the critical incident stress debriefing studies, but there is wide agreement that psychological assistance that is provided during the acute phase after a critical incident can be valuable.

The critical incident stress debriefing has been called into question, when some individuals stated that they felt “forced” to discuss their feelings when they were not ready yet, and/or felt uncomfortable discussing personal reactions in a group setting. These findings inspired a move towards psychological first aid, where the focus now is on taking care of the firefighter, with careful consideration of their personal needs at that particular time. There is also follow up contact as needed, since delayed emotional reactions are not uncommon after critical incidents.

Our staff carefully follows recent trends and research to ensure the best quality of psychological services to our clients.

“Mental Health information and intervention services can help prevent or reduce post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, behavioral problems in employees, stress claims and other issues.”

The unfortunate consequence of alcohol and prescription medication use to self-medicate pain is that the underlying trauma is not treated, and another, new separate problem emerges.

We provide individual and group therapy for first responders who are dealing with substance abuse issues. Alcohol abuse, in particular is a very common coping strategy that officers use to quell the anxiety and depressive symptoms that come as a result of exposure to cumulative as well as critical incident stress. Research has revealed that there is a significant correlation between the development of substance abuse disorders and trauma (Follette, et. al., 1998).

Our office currently can provide referrals to 12 step programs specifically designed for first responders. Please contact our office for more information.

Peer Support, or Trauma Support Teams are of great value to fire agencies. Many firefighters feel more comfortable talking to their peers.

“The American Psychological Association and the Veteran’s administration agree that cognitive behavioral therapy is recommended as the first line of treatment for PTSD.”

Our office provides Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. Both are powerful treatment tools for PTSD.

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