What is First Responders Counselling?

First responders such as police officers, fire department workers, EMT’s, paramedics, peace officers, medical personnel, veterinarians, and even social workers are often subjected to emotionally unsettling experiences that can develop into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can lead to symptoms such as severe anxiety, flashbacks, uncontrollable thoughts and nightmares. Some individuals manage to cope with these experiences on a short-term basis but if left undiagnosed and untreated, the symptoms of PTSD are likely to worsen. Sometimes individuals develop problematic coping mechanisms such as gambling, drug/alcohol use or internet addiction(s). Difficulties with emotional regulation can develop which can impact relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.

First Responders Counselling is designed to help people in these professions cope with the things they experience while on the job and process any emotions that come with them.

How does Counselling work with First Responders?

If you are a first responder affected by trauma, it can seem difficult to come forward. But trying to ignore what you’re going through only increases your stress and allows the problem to become more entrenched and tougher to treat. It can also lead you to try to self-medicate the distressing feelings with food or drugs or alcohol—and that can lead to a whole other set of problems, including addiction.

Specialized, confidential treatment for first responders does exist, and this is what it can help you understand:

  • You aren’t alone. About one in five people experiences a mental health issue in any given year, research shows. And the extraordinary stressors that first responders face boost that risk.
  • Trauma is a normal human response to an abnormal situation. It would be strange, after all, if you had no negative reaction to putting your life at risk each day or seeing terrible things happen to people and being, at times, powerless to help. Understanding this allows you to move from a mindset of “what’s wrong with me?” to a more empowering “this is what’s going on with me.”
  • Trauma is better understood as an injury to the brain than an illness. In fact, some groups prefer the term post-traumatic stress injury to post-traumatic stress disorder. Left unaddressed, however, that injury can lead to illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
  • We are all affected by trauma in different ways, but each of us can build a resilience to it. This is achieved primarily by working on your connections with others. The more supportive, caring, trustworthy people you have in your life, the more able you are to cope with the experiences that can lead to trauma. Another important aspect is learning how to manage feelings, improving communication skills, and developing more realistic and positive ways of viewing yourself and your experiences.

Another bonus to getting help for trauma is this: It’s not just you who benefits. You family, your friends—all the people who are closest to you and are often the first to notice your struggles—will gain much from the improved relationship you’ve built with yourself. It also helps your fellow first responders, who may be suffering silently in exactly the same way. When you allow yourself to be helped, you make it okay for them to get help, too.

Who can First Responders Counselling benefit?

First responders are put through many situations that could be traumatic or difficult to deal with, and the effects of this can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the following symptoms, counselling may be beneficial:

  • Flashbacks, nightmares, and recurring thoughts
  • Emotional numbness
  • Extreme worry, guilt, anger, or hopelessness
  • Avoidance of people, places, or things that are reminders of the trauma
  • A loss of interest in things that once gave pleasure
  • Feeling anxious, on edge, or jumpy, and startling easily
  • Sleep issues
  • Problems with alcohol, drugs, or food

Book First Responders Counselling in Langley, BC

    First Responders Counselling in Langley BC (Location)

    Family Counselling Locations:
    301 – 23189 Francis Ave, Fort Langley
    113- 3195 Granville St, Vancouver