9/18/15 – Emergency First Responders: Treating Mental Health Issues in a Culture of Mental Toughness

Aug 10, 2015 by Sara G. Gilman

Sara-GilmanTitle: Emergency First Responders: Treating Mental Health Issues in a Culture of Mental Toughness Date: September 18, 2015
Presenter: Sara G. Gilman

Description: Emergency services personnel come with a variety of job titles: police officers, SWAT team members, firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, 911 telecommunicators and emergency room staff, as well as military service members and social workers. There are similarities and differences among those with the “rescue personality,” and first responders tend to be resistant in seeking help due to a perception of “weakness.” By understanding these factors, the clinician is better able to establish rapport and credibility.

In this presentation, practical approaches of how to explain first-responder stress and how PTSD manifests itself will be described, including the influence of chronic sleep disruption. Ms. Gilman is a former firefighter/EMT and has extensive experience with this population. This presentation will discuss case examples utilizing the evidence-based treatments such as EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy.

Learning Objectives:

Those attending this lecture will gain:

  • an understanding of the working culture of the first responder and how to address mental health issues within this culture
  • an understanding of the first responder personality, the stressful challenges they face in their careers and how PTSD can manifest itself
  • an introduction to EMDR therapy, an evidence-based treatment that has proven to be effective in treating first responders

Speaker Bio: Ms. Gilman is a licensed marriage and family therapist, specializing in the areas of traumatic stress, addictions and peak performance training with athletes and other performers. She is the owner and president of Coherence Associates, Inc. a professional counseling corporation.

Having graduated in 1983 from California State University, Fullerton with a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology, she also holds certifications in NLP, hypnosis, coaching, and Heartmath. Sara is a former San Diego rural firefighter and EMT, and has served on the San Diego Critical Incident Stress Management Team for more than 10 years. She is a diplomat in forensic traumatology, holds fellowship status with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, and is an EMDR-approved consultant and past president of the EMDR International Association Board of Directors. She serves on the board of the 911 Wellness Foundation as the chief mental health officer. Sara also lectures nationally and appears on TV discussing the topics of stress in the work place, trauma, addiction and mental toughness.

With her passion for assisting all first responders, she consults with agencies to build strong peer-support teams and trains personnel in peak performance and mental toughness for the first responder. Her trainings focus on the importance of maintaining mental health and building ongoing resiliency in this uniquely demanding profession, addressing issues such as the wear and tear on first responders and how to stay healthy from both physiological and psychological standpoints.




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