Chief and I have a wonderful friend named Karen we’ve come to know and love who stayed with us last night. She is one of the world’s most effective therapists for cops with Post Traumatic Stress (Disorder/Injury), as she’s cured cops from Northern Ireland, Israel, Kosovo, and the United States. In fact, her guys in Northern Ireland dubbed her the “Cop Whisperer.”
I’ve learned so much from Karen over the years. She’s taught me about the brain, trauma, the importance of sleep, and explained EMDR Therapy (Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) so I could understand it. She’s also shared crazy stories about Northern Ireland. I’m so grateful for her.
Because PTSD wreaks havoc in families, I have a particular interest and passion to see it not only treated, but actually cured. In the last several years, researchers, doctors, and therapists are learning more and more about how trauma affects the brain, and how to specifically help cops heal.
In the process, there is normalization. Just eight years ago, not many understood the effects of trauma, and it was absolutely taboo to bring it up in relation to First Responders. I remember a former cop turned psychologist pleading before a POST audience, “We HAVE TO NORMALIZE THIS!” And although there is still much work to be done, I’ve been excited—and SO GRATEFUL—for the progress made on PTSD in the law enforcement community.
There was a time when there were no solutions; now there are solutions. There is now education on trauma being taught to cops all over the country. We’re starting to see it normalized, talked about openly, and accepted.
Our next hurdle is to motivate and make it “normal” to take advantage of the help available. Although the stigma remains in some places, the facts are starting to weaken that stronghold. It won’t be long before that attitude will be gone altogether.
Day Two of 41 Days of Gratitude is for the strides we’re making in law enforcement mental health. For those combating the effects of trauma, both in research and treatment, THANK YOU!