Counselling for the Police, emergency service workers and the armed forces can help you explore and process your thoughts and feelings.
Working on the front line is physically and emotionally demanding. Although mental health support is improving throughout the workforce, there is still a long way to go.
Having worked supporting Police, I understand the reasons people often don’t reach out for help. There is still a lot of stigma associated with mental health and the fears surrounding it effecting current working positions and future opportunities within the Police force.
It is not always easy to approach a line manager, open up in a group environment in an incident debrief, or even in a TRiM assessment.
Attending distressing and traumatic incidents takes its toll. There is little time, or opportunity to process the events and how it has affected you. The associated memories and emotions are filed and blocked to enable you to continue to carry out your duty of work.
Over time these build up, suppressed as a coping mechanism sometimes unconsciously. If left unprocessed they can lead to burn out and manifest into mental health difficulties such as distressing nightmares, inability to sleep, anxiety, panic attacks, hypervigilance, depression, thoughts of suicide and PTSD.
Psychotherapeutic counselling can support you to talk through experiences, feelings and difficulties and find healthier coping mechanisms in a confidential and safe space.
On top of the daily stress of work you may be trying to juggle work and home commitments, this can be very complex and demanding. It can be difficult to talk about experiences to family, worrying about upsetting loved ones with the impact of a traumatic incident. We can only hold onto so much before we start to suffer ourselves.
It is also important to understand different types of traumas. Vicarious trauma is a reaction to secondary trauma exposure. Supporting victims and witnesses in hearing their accounts. Listening to distressing incidents over the radio, control room work. Exposure builds up over time and can affect your mental health and wellbeing.
Talking therapy provides a confidential safe space, along with a trusting relationship between us to explore difficult experiences, emotions and symptoms if you wish to. It is important to understand what you are feeling and experiencing, to process events, explore coping strategies and support you to feel safe and well.
For some people talking through a distressing event may be beneficial to process what happened. For others there is The rewind technique which is a specific method of therapy to support releasing symptoms of PTSD and trauma, such as flashbacks and unwanted memories, without disclosure of the event and avoiding re traumatisation. Recent studies have found this technique to have similar therapeutic outcomes as EMDR therapy.