First Responders

We understand the everyday complexities of human life… especially as a first responder. You are routinely exposed to traumatic events in the course of your duties. Add in family and organizational demands and stress has taken your overall wellbeing.

Perhaps you begin to feel stuck in a problem in your relationship, organizational demands are piling up, and you can’t seem to find balance. Maybe you don’t know why these things are happening or how to fix it. At Vienna Psychological Group, Inc. our first responder counseling sessions provide a comfortable space to gain support, problem solve, and begin healing. We will work with you to explore the deeper meaning of these problems, gain insight, and identify more healthy ways of coping.  We offer supportive and useful feedback while assisting on your journey to health and wellness. We utilize an eclectic approach, meaning, we pull from different modalities to help our clients achieve their goal. We believe therapy and wellness are not one size fits all and will customize the treatment to meet your needs. Some common interventions we utilize are: Cognitive- Behavioral Therapy (CBT) skills, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills, Solution- Focused, Brief Psychodynamic Therapy, Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), and Peak Performance.

Are you on a special enforcement bureau or team? Want to prepare for one? Generally want to be ready for that emergency call or critical incident? Working undercover? Difficulty communicating with command staff? Do you want to possess superior psychomotor skills to perform well under intense pressure? Peak Performance might be of benefit to you as a first responder. Tapping into the potential of human performance is the key so that as a first responder you can hone your resilience skills and perform at your best. According to the American Psychological Association (2016), “Success almost always depends on both physical and mental toughness.” We will work with you to increase mental toughness and the ability to preserve during high-stake situations. We help you identify and apply psychological principles that facilitate peak performance in your job, enhance physical ability, and achieve desired performance. We will teach you strategies to overcome anxiety or a traumatic experience (such as an unsuccessful CPR attempt or officer involved shooting), that is affecting your confidence. We can also assist you with learning new strategies to increase effective communication with your fellow officers, command staff, or colleagues.

EMDR is an integrative approach that can help first responders who have experienced a traumatic incident or event cope with the distressing aftermath (intrusive images, recurring thoughts, distressing memories, etc…). First responders are exposed to tragic incidents and images numerous times throughout their career. Some, on a regular basis. These incidents can get stuck or frozen in the brain and continue to be experienced and relived. Whether you have experienced one traumatic event or several, there is help. It is quite possible you may be suffering from flashbacks, nightmares, isolating, and other symptoms of PTSD, but you don’t have to. According to Roger Solomon, PhD 2016, a police psychologist and psychotherapist on the senior faculty of the EMDR Institute says,  “EMDR targets the past memories underlying present problems, present situations that trigger symptoms, and lays down a positive future template for adaptive behavior. … EMDR goes beyond words to help the memory get unstuck.”

Our first responder wellness and counseling sessions are meaningful choices. Sessions are confidential and offer guidance and support for dealing with burnout, critical incidents, relationship difficulties, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, etc. Clinicians at VPG are culturally competent in working with first responders and will collaborate with you to develop more effective coping strategies.

Our clinicians consist of those who have worked alongside first responders on patrol and/or in custodial (jail) settings. We believe this affords our team the ability to formulate unique and specialized wellness plans.  Clinicians are certified and trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) among other evidenced based practices.  Staff also have personal familial background with public safety personnel and/or the military or were former first responders themselves.  Therefore, we believe our staff is best suited to understand the unique stressors of first responders and provide best clinical practices.

Our clinicians are also trained and certified in the Critical Incident Stress Management Model (CCISM) through International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF). We offer the following to agencies as well as individuals:

  • Critical Incident Stress Management (Including Individual & Group Debriefings)
  • Trauma Support Team Development (Including Psychological First Aide)