Treating PTSD in First Responders: A Guide for Serving Those Who Serve

  • ISBN 9781433835599

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By the nature of their jobs, first responders are often highly exposed to traumatic events.

Police, firefighters, and paramedics are highly exposed to traumatic events and experience markedly higher rates of PTSD than others in the community. They also face distinct organizational challenges that complicate their stress reactions. Often, this results in needs that are not addressed in manuals developed for people who have survived single traumatic events.

This book provides an overview of theoretical and empirical frameworks for understanding PTSD in first responders and outlines practical and evidence-based approaches to assess and treat PTSD in these populations. This is followed by a thorough discussion of the assessment process and guidance on treatment strategies with this population, including sample scripts for the therapist. Other chapters cover the particular challenges of working with first responders, including comorbidities, the organizational stressors that can complicate treatment; and the forensic issues that therapists should keep in mind through assessment and treatment.

The author's approach is based on cognitive behavior therapy and is supported by research done in the Traumatic Stress Clinic in Australia, which has treated hundreds of first responders. This comprehensive volume is essentially the outcome of the author's lessons learned about what is effective and what is not in helping police, firefighters, and paramedics deal with their stress-related conditions.

While this work can be challenging for clinicians and practitioners, it can also be very rewarding. Although many first responders often present with very complex psychological needs, these individuals are also committed and motivated patients.
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