Counseling Cops: What Clinicians Need to Know

Counseling Cops: What Clinicians Need to Know


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Grounded in clinical research, extensive experience, and deep familiarity with police culture, this book offers highly practical guidance for psychotherapists and counselors. The authors vividly depict the pressures and challenges of police work and explain the impact that line-of-duty issues can have on officers and their loved ones. Numerous concrete examples and tips show how to build rapport with cops, use a range of effective intervention strategies, and avoid common missteps and misconceptions. Approaches to working with frequently encountered clinical problems—such as substance abuse, depression, trauma, and marital conflict—are discussed in detail. A new preface in the paperback and e-book editions highlights the book's relevance in the context of current events and concerns about police-community relations.

See also Kirschman's related self-help guide I Love a Cop, Third Edition: What Police Families Need to Know, an ideal recommendation for clients and their family members.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781462524303
Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date: 09/24/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,142,277
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ellen Kirschman, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, volunteer clinician at the First Responder Support Network, and sought-after speaker and workshop facilitator. Dr. Kirschman is a recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Police and Public Safety Psychology from the Police and Public Safety Section of Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service) of the American Psychological Association and the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology award from the California Psychological Association. She is coauthor of a book for mental health professionals, Counseling Cops, and author of the self-help guides I Love a Cop, Third Edition, and I Love a Fire Fighter, as well as the mystery novels Burying Ben, The Right Wrong Thing, and The Fifth Reflection. She lives in Redwood City, California. Her website is

Mark Kamena, PhD, ABPP, is Director of Research and Co-Founder of the First Responder Support Network, a volunteer, nonprofit organization that operates the West Coast Post-Trauma Retreat and a separate program for first-responder spouses and significant others. He has a private practice in Marin County, California, where he specializes in first-responder posttraumatic stress injury. Dr. Kamena is a recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Police and Public Safety Psychology from APA Division 18. He is President of the CPA and serves on the CPA Foundation Board.

Joel Fay, PsyD, ABPP, is a psychologist in private practice who works with emergency responders and provides crisis intervention training for numerous agencies throughout California. He served as a police officer for over 30 years before retiring in 2011. Dr. Fay is a recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the California Psychological Association and the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Police and Public Safety Psychology from APA Division 18. He serves on the Psychological Services Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, is Clinical Director of the First Responder Support Network, and teaches and presents workshops widely.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Ellen Scrivner

I. The Basics of Cultural Competency

1. Working in the Law Enforcement Culture

2. Managing the Therapeutic Alliance

3. The Emergency Responder's Exhaustion Syndrome

4. Growing Old in a Young Person's Profession

II. Line-of-Duty Issues

5. Death by 1,000 Cuts: Critical Incidents, Trauma, and Posttraumatic Stress Injuries

6. Betrayal: The Hidden Critical Incident

7. Shift Work and Sleep Deprivation

III. Treatment Tactics

8. Reading Your Client: Assessment Strategies

9. Treatment Strategies

10. When Your Client Needs Medication

IV. Common Presenting Problems

11. Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Other Addictions

12. Depression and Suicide

13. Somatization, Panic Attacks, and Stress Reduction

V. Working with Police Families

14. Resilience and the Police Family

15. Givens and Paradoxes

16. "Why Didn't You Shoot Him in the Leg?": Police Family Communication

17. The First Responder Relationship

18. Infidelity, Divorce, and Domestic Abuse

VI. Getting Started

19. Special Considerations for Treating Other First Responders

20. Breaking and Entering

Appendix: Residential Treatment/Group Therapy



Clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, family therapists, counselors, and police chaplains and peer support personnel; also of interest to police psychologists and police chiefs. May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.

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