Counseling for First Responders
in Vancouver, Wa
First Responders face a range of unique health and mental health consequences as a result of the critical work you do in our community.
Though committed to running toward danger to provide unwavering support and assistance, many first responders like yourself are reluctant to seek assistance when they need it. Those that do seek assistance through mental health counseling often find that they spend the first several sessions trying to explain to the counselor what it is like to be a deputy, police officer, fire fighter, paramedic, etc. as the counselor. It has probably felt like the counselor can’t relate.
Having a counselor here at Compass who was a former law enforcement officer, you can rest assured that you will not have to “debrief” your therapist, translate code, or apologize for what you say or how you say it. We are aware of how difficult it can be for individuals in these fields to be able to seek help for these stressors and how meaningful that help can be.
We know daily stressors can add up to create larger problems when they are not adequately dealt with. Many times people in these positions are expected to (or at least they believe they are expected to) deal with their problems on their own, often leading to feelings of isolation.
At Compass, you are don’t have to spend your valuable time and money explaining these things, but can instead immediately begin sharing and processing the issues that brought you to counseling.
You will benefit from counseling for first responders if:
You feel your career is causing a burden on relationships with family and friends
You feel alone in your thoughts, emotions, and feelings
You have a high level of stress on the job and away from it
You feel angry or tense often
Traumatic stress and fatigue associated with these jobs leads to higher than average rates of depression, alcohol and substance abuse, and marital tensions.
Additionally, volunteers and many part-time employees in this field have little or reduced access to mental health and support. Families of First Responders also experience a significant unique stressor that others can’t understand: their loved one might not come home from work. These family members can also find compassion and support at Compass from a therapist who was a first responder, who remains married to one after 17 years, and is raising children who also experience the unique concerns and struggles associated with being part of a First Responder family.
We will help you experience a holistic approach to managing your life as a first responder. Through increased connections and understanding you will know that we are here to help. Call today to get started.
Invest in Yourself
Counseling should not seek to change what has become part of you as a first responder: you should continue to carry concealed, sit in a restaurant facing the door, memorize license plates. Counseling should help you celebrate who you are now and help you remember what was uniquely a part of you before you started your job.
Being crass, cynical, and pissed off as a means of self-preservation is totally normal in this line of work. However, counseling allows you to process the negative aspects of the job in a healthy way, and of life in general, to get back to being the kind of person, friend, partner, and parent you want to be. There can be a healthy balance of work and personal life. First responder counseling will help you find balance.
It’s time to start investing in yourself at least as much as you invest in our community.