What is “CBT” & How Does It Help the First Responder?

By Shannon Clairemont – First Responder & Family Wellness

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) encourages first responders in recovery treatment to recognize and stop negative patterns of thinking and behavior. Since our cognition affects our well-being, changing harmful thought patterns is essential. The essence of CBT is an assumption that a first responders mood is directly related to his or her patterns of thought. For example, CBT can help first responders be aware of the stressors, situations, and feelings that lead to substance misuse so that the one can avoid them or act differently when they occur. Negative, dysfunctional thinking affects a person’s mood, behavior, self-worth, and even physical state. The goal of CBT is to help first responders learn to recognize negative patterns of thought, evaluate their validity, and replace them with healthier ways of thinking.

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Turn a Blind Eye or Fire the First Responder???

By Vanessa Stapleton – President Armor Up West Virginia

Why is it that when a first responder is taken over by trauma, PTSD, addiction, or otherwise, the choice becomes to either turn a blind eye or end their career? Why are those the only options? Listen carefully, those are NOT the only options. Who decided those were the only avenues to take? Why do we fire them and send them spiraling further into a disaster that we created to begin with by not offering proper mental health treatment of those we have assigned to handle trauma every single day? Who decided that was acceptable?

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Was “EMDR” an Accidental Discovery???

One of the most effective treatments for PTSD was discovered incidentally by Francine Shapiro, PhD, in 1987. When Shapiro was hiking and became anxious and overwhelmed, she noticed that as she scanned the environment with her eyes, moving them back and forth, she began to relax. This led her to assume that eye movements had a desensitizing effect, and when she experimented with it clinically, she found that other people had the same response. It became apparent that eye movements alone weren’t comprehensive, so she added other treatment elements and developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

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