First Responders, this is where you start getting control back
First responders are often the last to seek help, but are in one of the most stressful and rewarding career paths. Therapy for first responders is a specialty.
What you see and deal with in the field, whether in person, on the phone, or by talking with others cannot be unseen or unheard and the daily toll it takes on you starts to accumulate. Most of you are a lot more jaded than when you came into the field. First responder PTSD symptoms include having a harder time sleeping due to the fear of having nightmares, going to the gym or drinking more, becoming easily irritable or losing control easily, or superimposing your loved ones onto the calls you went on, it boil down to feeling like your mind is no longer yours.
You are not crazy. You are not alone.
The suicide rate and addiction rate among first responders is higher than in the general population. As someone seen as the protector of our communities it can be hard to come to therapy. The stigma attached is very strong. Whether it is pressure of not being seen as weak by your superiors or coworkers, the fear of being pulled out of duty or the fear of being seen as weak by the community you come to in our times of crisis, many first responders are hesitant to seek therapy for PTSD, depression, anger, anxiety, or substance use.
I help you regain a sense of internal control. Therapy for first responders needs a different approach. You need someone who understands you without having to ask you to explain everything.
You dedicate your lives to saving others, not yourselves. Let this page bring you together
Police, fire-fighters, EMTs, Paramedics, 911 dispatchers…thank you for your service! You see and feel human suffering at its worst. Living your calling as a first responder will have an impact on you.
On this page, you will find links to helpful articles, websites and more to learn you are not alone in what you are going through. If you want to schedule an appointment with me, a first responder therapist, you can contact me here. This page brings all of you first responders together through shared experience and help you feel seen. You will find resources for self-help as well as professional help. This page is constantly being updated, so please bookmark the page and come back regularly.
Many police, fire fighters, EMTs, paramedics and 911 dispatchers have been where you are, are currently where you are, or will be where you are. You will get through this. You will survive this and come out stronger for it. Therapy, (or psychotherapy, or counseling) can give you your life back.
If you are on the fence about therapy, here are the benefits of therapy with me:
- It is confidential and solution-focused.
- You can be seen in the comfort of your own home through HIPAA compliant on-line counseling, which is legal AND ethical.
- As I specialize in the unique culture of first responders, you will not be judged as weak or a failure.
- You will regain control of yourself, your mind, your emotions, and your life
If you believe you have no time, remember this: if you don’t take care of it now, it will take care of you later. Sooner or later, the symptoms stemming from PTSD in first responders will become unbearable and your entire life will be forever affected.
Maybe you are still unsure you are ready to dive into therapy. Maybe you’re not even sure you have PTSD. A safe place many people like to start their therapy journey is by opting in to one or more of my email lists. This email series in particular will help you determine if you may have PTSD and dispel some of the myths from PTSD.
Don’t put off contacting me any longer. I offer first responder counseling trauma in-person psychotherapy in Sarasota, Florida as well as on-line counseling across the states of Florida and Connecticut. The initial call is the hardest part and I know you have a ton of strength. Head on over to my Contact page to make the initial contact with me.
Statements from first responders who have battled and survived PTSD
“Living with PTSD is a daily battle. Some days are good, some not so good. Triggers are a daily occurrence. I am proof that you can survive this with proper treatment. My book “When the Laughter Dies” was written by me, in my own words about my PTSD and how I deal with it as a First Responder.” – Paul
“You are not alone. Talk about the trauma, how you think and feel. Keep moving forward, no matter what. Don’t shut your family out and don’t forget, it’s not what is wrong with you but rather what happened to you. Somethings are worth fighting for and you’re one of them! We can’t stand to lose one more responder to PTSD or suicide.” – Matt Carlson, LPC, LAC, PhD Candidate, Co-Founder/Regional Director of Building Warriors
Links to articles
Links to helpful websites
IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery – Exclusively for IAFF members
American Addiction Centers’ specialty in substance use rehabilitation for first responders and military
Drug Rehab’s specialty in substance use rehabilitation for firefighters with PTSD
“Building Warriors through calm, clear peace of mind, body and heart”
First Responder Support Network
Drug Rehab’s valuable information for firefighters and addiction
Drug Rehab’s valuable information on Police and Addiction
Police PTSD stress disorder resource center
First Responder Drug and Alcohol Treatment Resource (Recovery Village)
Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Burnout, self-care and COVID-19 exposure for first responders