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First Responder Psychological Support

First Responder Psychological Support

By Sarah Gura
First Responder Psychological Support discusses a wide variety of counseling and self-care education topics for firefighters, law enforcement, dispatchers, and emergency room professionals. Sarah is a licensed clinical professional counselor in the State of Illinois and specializes in treating first responders.
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The Ego & It’s Defenses
Ego: id, ego, and super-ego will use “defense mechanisms” to protect you. Becoming more aware of your ego’s patterned defenses is a helpful pre-requisite for choosing to change.
September 22, 2021
F3 & F4: Feeling (Your) F$&@ing Feelings
I explain why feeling your f$&@ing feelings is wise.
September 18, 2021
As we start Season 4 in crazy times, I encourage you to meditate. Here is a starting point. Whatever you get out of it, you get out of it. Whatever stirs, can be insightful. Enjoy. Note: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
August 27, 2021
Policy IV
Intervention strategy up for debate. Shadow contributed as usual, lol
July 29, 2021
Policy III
I’m reading you what I have written in the past, lol, don’t fall asleep. Shadow pug hacks in the background on this one too. Enjoy!
July 29, 2021
Policy II
Bullet point topics for your first responder psychological support policy is here!
July 28, 2021
Policy Part I
This is for all the first responder activists who ask me for psychological policy information. It’s just a start, but maybe someday we can make a positive, relevant, and significant difference for first responders.
July 23, 2021
It doesn’t EVER get better
It doesn’t get better or easier, but you can get wiser. Life will always be challenging. You have a choice to face difficulty or not. My hope is that you learn to cope. Dog snores in the background, enjoy!
July 19, 2021
You Are NOT the Job
A quick message to remind you: you are a human. Your goal is to sleep well at night, eat healthy, hydrate, and choose joy. If you don’t love you, who will?
July 02, 2021
Psych Meds for First Responders
We all should support first responders who are prescribed psych meds by a psychiatrist without judgment. First responder careers are doozies & sometimes the occupational hazards are psychological (not just physical).
May 18, 2021
Body Before the Mind
A suggestion about coping: address your physical need to state change first. Other coping skills: intellectual, cognitive, emotional, physical, social, behavioral, and spiritual.
May 04, 2021
Nate Carroll
Interview with Nate Carroll, Push Through Challenge, Tunnel2Towers Foundation Link: Video Link to watch: https://fb.watch5c68uT82jb/
April 30, 2021
Reminders for Leaders
First responder careers are stressful; don’t be a dick. Be awesome: appropriate, available, and fun!
April 15, 2021
Men’s Psychology
Just a few thoughts about my experience as a shrink for mostly men, and how a counseling set of sessions go down.
April 15, 2021
Ate Up With a Dumbass
Let’s talk about feeling bad, and then how to recognize the patterns that cause it. Also, I visit ideas about coping and self-care when you’re feeling like shit.
February 26, 2021
After a Bad Call, The Basics
Did you recently experience a bad call at your department or while on duty? Listen to this podcast to learn about the first 24-72 hours. You’ll learn about acute stress disorder, what’s normal, and what trauma therapists may start off with for suggestions (self care).
January 29, 2021
Interview with DC Naydenoff (Police)
Scott and I have presented and consulted with each other about first responder behavioral health in the past. We’re both happy to provide another discussion for “food for thought” regarding this near and dear topic.
January 22, 2021
Dr. Carrie Steiner
In this episode, I interview Dr. Carrie Steiner, who was a Chicago Police Officer. She is now a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who treats first responders.
January 09, 2021
I explain some ideas about anxiety (where it comes from and how to navigate it). Seeing your own patterns and lovingly approaching your Boogieman is the main focus.
December 30, 2020
I define addiction and the scale: use, misuse, abuse, tolerance, addiction, dependence, withdrawal. I emphasize how addiction is a self-love deficit and that you have to treat addiction like it’s a wound you have to heal (not ignore, deny, minimize, or numb).
December 21, 2020
Life is Life Threatening
As I plan to outline Season 3 (with more interviews and specific information about different mental health symptoms and diagnoses), I have been noticing what I keep repeating in therapy sessions. This episode covers 11 ideas that I revisit with first responders OFTEN.
December 11, 2020
Voodoo & Anger
Voodoo: I tell you about my funky bracelets I wear everyday. Anger: I talk about anger as a way you communicate to yourself & others -and how to think about anger so you can cope with it better.
December 03, 2020
Little Drummer Boy
When you’re worried, and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep (and listen to the Little Drummer Boy). You’ll fall asleep. Haha! Many people ask me for “tips and tricks” for how to cope. My favorite answer is explained in the Little Drummer Boy lyrics.
November 25, 2020
First Responder Relationships
Jessica McCormack, LMFT, couples counselor and I talk about first responder relationships.
November 20, 2020
Stop Blaming My Childhood
I spend the whole podcast blaming your childhood! However, my hope is you understand how precious you are; and that you treat yourself with loving kindness (always).
November 20, 2020
Self Love Stigma
I talk about the reasons first responders don’t think self-love is a good idea. I discuss what thinking errors they have about self-love & self-care. I also give some ideas about how to address this.
November 17, 2020
Know Thyself, Love Thyself
This is my most yogi, Buddhist Psychology podcast yet. But! We spent Season 1 talking about trauma and introductory information about the psychology of first responder careers. Somewhere, in the midst of this insanity -I wanted to introduce knowing and loving yourself through it all.
November 13, 2020
Mental Health Professionals
I explain psychology professional degrees, licenses, release of information, subpoena, and court order.
November 12, 2020
Patty Dirilten, First Responder Therapist
Patty and I have our first public conversation about our careers with First Responders. We discuss our wish for policy and our hopes for the future of first psychological support.
November 06, 2020
Reflecting with Sarah
Season 1 is over! 12 of 12 episodes are complete; and I recap the highlights for you. I also have some ending thoughts about first responder psychological support for your consideration. I invite you to listen in for Season 2!
October 28, 2020
The Limbic System
In this episode, I use $100 words that explain your brain structures and functions. I explain the brain’s process of taking in stressful, overwhelming, and/or traumatic experiences -and how human it is (aka how normal it is) to have a reaction to upsetting information/exposures. My dogs hijack us at the end.
October 26, 2020
Intro to Treating Trauma
I discuss how I initially started treating first responder traumas. I introduce my use of Francine Shapiro’s EMDR/AIP Model, as well as other therapy processes. Resource: for more information and a national registry of EMDR therapists.
October 23, 2020
Intro to Trauma
In this episode, I describe how I assess you & your trauma. I define 3 categories of trauma, including: complex trauma (under 21yo), PTSD (critical incident or potentially traumatic event) and trauma (repetition compulsion/reliving or recreating trauma).
October 23, 2020
Having is Wanting
This podcast discusses the sensitive and controversial topic of how you cause your own suffering by not being conscious of repetition compulsion. Humans make several seemingly unimportant decisions that amount to us reliving our traumas.
October 19, 2020
Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is an Option
In previous podcasts, I provided a vocabulary for identifying how first responders are in pain, and how I have noticed they react to pain. This episode provides an introduction for how to respond to pain.
October 18, 2020
Intro to Mindfulness
I remind you that you have everything you need to succeed. I explain you have two sources of knowledge (head and heart) that must be aligned; and I discuss how time & mental health are relevant to each other. This podcast starts the explanation for how to cope with everything (yes, everything) in life.
October 13, 2020
Make It Safe & Resource Folder
After the intro podcast and sharing signs & symptoms, I wanted to plant the seed for how we “Make it Safe” in your department to have a psychological support culture. I also review what should be in your resource folder on a shared drive for everyone to have access to at your department.
October 10, 2020
Signs and Symptoms of First Responders
Some of the repeat-experiences/observations in the therapy office and on ride-alongs are discussed. Categories include: cognitive, emotional, physical, behavioral, social, and spiritual.
October 09, 2020
Intro to First Responder Mental Health
This podcast reviews behavioral health as an occupational issue. Vocabulary covered: PTE, SIC, suicide ideation levels, types of trauma, vicarious trauma, trauma bonding, empath/co-dependent and compassion fatigue, and relationship concerns.
October 07, 2020
Who is Sarah
This first segment explains my journey to becoming a first responder therapist, and how I got to this point in my career. The following episodes will dive right into first responder behavioral health topics.
October 06, 2020