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Huggy-Feelies... NOT!

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9-11-logo_max50

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Posted about 7 years ago

 

I thought it might be useful to address something I’ve noticed come up periodically—not just here, but in LE circles generally. It has to do with going to (or being sent/referred) to counselors or chaplains or police psychologists. Sometimes I hear this characterized as an effort to get a cop “in touch with his feelings,” the end result being that we should all have a big group hug or hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” or something. This sort of characterization is not what counseling is about—the sixties are long over. Counseling is actually about empowering people.

Feelings are only a little part of the picture, but they do have their place. They are mainly helpful as evidence of what’s happening inside. It’s like watching the wake of a boat. Looking at a boat on a lake, if you can’t see her wake, you don’t know if her present location reflects part of a steady plan or a sudden change. Look at the wake and you know a whole lot more. Feelings are important because they give clues to what’s actually been happening on the interior landscape.

Speaking for myself as a counselor: if someone comes to me with a problem, my goal is to empower them to address their issue and regain control of their life. If they’re in a situation they cannot change, my goal is to help them find a way to live well and meaningfully in the face of that thing.

For example, if they are dealing with PTSD, or some past trauma that is still giving them trouble, education can make a big difference about how they think about and handle any symptoms, and how they relate to others (like family or co-workers) around the issue. There are some very effective ways to deal with PTSD these days, often symptoms can be relieved, and without using drugs.

Or say they are dealing with relationship problems. A counselor, being on the outside of that relationship, can observe it in a more detached way and help those involved to recognize the core issues and find ways of addressing them. Once a relationship has become so conflicted that communication is difficult, a counselor can serve as a sort of referee who teaches folks how to argue fairly and productively, so they can work out their issues.

Or say someone is being abused at home, my purpose is not to give them a pity party, but to help them find the power to change their situation. My first aim is to protect their safety. Close after that, I aim to see justice done, partly for the healing of the victim but also for the protection of other potential victims. How the victim moves ahead is another subject to be addressed—getting his or her life back, not just to be a “survivor” but to go on to be a “thriver”. It’s all about empowerment, helping a person take back control of his or her life. It is not just a matter of feelings, but very practical concerns.

Counseling doesn’t always feel good—real counseling is hard work. It may require change. My goal as a counselor is not to MAKE everyone feel good, but to help them live well—with meaning and satisfaction.
So… the next time your agency refers you to a counselor of some sort, go and see what it’s about, and try to keep an open mind about it. It’s not necessarily what you think it’s going to be.

Shedevil2_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

good ck , but i would have kept an open mind if the doc could have pronounced my name right at least once.......before being released from her WONDERFUL grasp of my human psychy , i pretty much left her with her mouth open. i may have actually listened to her if i thought she had given some thought to ask me if she was saying it right..........not hard it was'nt exotic or anything...............all together now val-er-ee.........


...don't play with me , i'll keep you way up after your bedtime.....

9-11-logo_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

Good heavens.

Did you get a dud, val?

Photo_user_banned_big

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

You I would talk to chappy. You have "proved" yourself to me.

Piggycop2_1__max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

I never had to see a psychologist while I was an active leo. I did, however, spend a lot of time with one when I had to take an early retirement. I wasn't ready to leave my calling behind. I got so depressed that while I didn't want to commit suicide, I prayed every night not to wake up. It was a dark time for me. Don't know that I'd be here now without the help.

9-11-logo_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

Thanks, Darryl.

SpaCity, what advice would you give chaplains about helping LEOs when they hit retirement? I know it's a traumatic time for folks.

Piggycop2_1__max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

CK- I think the work should start way before they reach retirement. The retirees who I consider the best able to deal with the transition are the ones who are moving toward something else. The ones, like me, who weren't thinking of retirement but suddenly are separated from their calling have the most difficult time. What I thought was a pinched nerve turned out to be multiple sclerosis. The dept. would have stuck by me, but, I couldn't risk the lives of the guys/gals who depended on me to be on top of my game when my game was so unpredictable. In instances like mine, I think leos need to be reminded that the badge is not the only measure of a cop's worth. Actually, I believe every leo should be encouraged to build up their life away from the job so that their world will not collapse if the job is taken away. I have other ideas, too, but have company coming any minute. I'll try to shoot you a PM later. This might be a good thread to start for retirees in Retired Life...

9-11-logo_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

Good idea, Spa. I shall start it over again.

Any one coming to this thread right now, check in the Retired Life area for the thread called "Chaplain has a retirement question".

9-11-logo_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

LOL You painted a colorful picture there, Mrs. O!

Shedevil2_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

ChaplainKeppy said:

Good heavens.

Did you get a dud, val?

you called it right ck..........and i think this is why so many officers in my dept .just keep a lot inside because of smarta$$/dumba$$ ( whatever you want to call them) quacks like this .


...don't play with me , i'll keep you way up after your bedtime.....

9-11-logo_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

You know, if your department "support person" is no support, take it into your hands to find support elsewhere, because it really CAN be a support.

Shedevil2_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

i know and that i did , i know you're out of here , see ya ' later ck and have fun today..............


...don't play with me , i'll keep you way up after your bedtime.....

367926427_m_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

ODINsbetrhalf said:


val said:


good ck , but i would have kept an open mind if the doc could have pronounced my name right at least once.......before being released from her WONDERFUL grasp of my human psychy , i pretty much left her with her mouth open. i may have actually listened to her if i thought she had given some thought to ask me if she was saying it right..........not hard it was'nt exotic or anything...............all together now val-er-ee.........


Odin saw a couple. They have to go every time they are involved in an "incident". The first time he was a rookie and went with 2 veteran officers. One officer (ex-navy seal who loves to blow stuff up, raging alcoholic, divorced about 1000 times) played ping pong with the in-house nuts and started hitting on the female patients. The other (local polititian, but with a blunt sense of humor, mentored Odin) told the dr. "How do I feel about the shooting? Um, glad it wasn't me. And I am NOT hugging these guys". Needless to say the dr. recommended further counseling for all three.
Another time Odin saw one (I begged him not to mess with the dr's head, and he really tried to behave). The man was Indian (dots not feathers) and there was an obvious language barrier. When the dr said "let me try to walk in your feet" it was all Odin could do. He couldn't behave any longer. He said "that's going to be painful, because I am already occupying my feet". The results? "inconclusive" they ordered another opinion!


Why am I not surprised.!!!

3734983337_1__max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

head shrinkers are the best game in town.

Lobo_rip2_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

I was told I really should see a counsellor after I found my best friend dead in my house. I never did officially, but, I had a specific couple of friends, who happen to be married, that got me through it. I was really really low at the time. Being freshly 21 and never having dealt with anything like that I fell quickly into alcoholism. I never thought about suicide but wished someone would kill me. I took risks I shouldn't have. I was very close to losing all touch with reality so to speak. Because of those two friends counciling me, I made it back to where I am today. I owe my life to those two friend/counsellors.

Shedevil2_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

Flipper_831 said:

I was told I really should see a counsellor after I found my best friend dead in my house. I never did officially, but, I had a specific couple of friends, who happen to be married, that got me through it. I was really really low at the time. Being freshly 21 and never having dealt with anything like that I fell quickly into alcoholism. I never thought about suicide but wished someone would kill me. I took risks I shouldn't have. I was very close to losing all touch with reality so to speak. Because of those two friends counciling me, I made it back to where I am today. I owe my life to those two friend/counsellors.

i hear you flip and glad you're still here..........after losing my fiance' and going through the loss of my brothers kind of took the other end , wanted to get into shit so i could take somebody out...........wasn't accustomed to that way of thinking , so i relied on myself to get me out of that of course GOD had a lot more to do with it........but you definitely are not alone..........


...don't play with me , i'll keep you way up after your bedtime.....

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

Flipper, you're bringing up such a valuable point. The official counselors don't have a corner on wisdom or compassion. And between the two of you, Flip and Val, you demonstrate the truth that people react to things differently. There's not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to counselors or counseling. That's why counselors have to be good listeners, and why they can't do a thing for you if you don't work with them. Counseling is not something one person does to another-- it is something two do together, working together.

Meangreen01_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 7 years ago

 

Great post CK. My agency has a Peer Support system. They are cops who are given Chaplain/Psychologist rights to privacy privilege. One of these Peer Support agents in particular was a great help to me recently when my wife and daughter were in the hospital. He stood with me until my parents arrived, then he stood in the background. He was an angel who was there when I needed him and a silent ghost when he wasn't needed. He was always there though. He spoke to me agent to agent in words that mattered. He said the things that only another cop would know to say (no offense to CK, she's cop enough for me). When the tears welled up in my eyes and my worst imaginings seemed to be coming true, he placed a hand on my shoulder (and possibly a wing over it). He didn't say a dang thing, he just sat there then and supported my weakness. I know for a fact that he didn't say a word to another living soul. I've never truly appreciated someone outside my family so much until that horrible day. May God bless and keep him the rest of his days.

Every agency should have a peer support program. Stay safe all.


"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." ~ George Orwell

"Honor First!"

MODERATOR #1 & PL Mentoring Team Member

Hudson_river_max50

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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

This is part of a post I just put up under "children of LEO's"- or something like that....(I'm new here)...


" I'm an adult child of a retired NY State Trooper..."


"....I strongly feel that (if there isn’t already) there needs to be more enforcement of stress management for police officers (and their families)- and an understanding of how their job truly does affect the relationships with their spouse and children. There IS a need to develop emotional distance in this job- and feelings can not be turned on and off easily- between family life and the roll of a LEO- especially after a difficult event for the officer. 


 


Time away with family- alone- I think is “key” for reinforcing the family bond- that can often be tugged at in ways other families don’t experience. “Normalcy” is important- it facilitates a feeling of safety. And…of course provides more happy memories.
 
I am proud to be the daughter of a NY State Trooper. It is an honor."
 
I work in the public sector of the human services field- and often interact with law enforcement.  I see the difficult situation officers face first hand now...and grew up in the environment of a LEO's family life.  It ain't easy...but as an adult I understand the need to "shut off and shut down" from all that you guys/gals are subjected to- you have to, to survive in many ways.  Sometimes shutting off- shuts your family out...and shuts you off from your family.... I hope to one day see more family supports in place to assist the LEO's, their wives and children understand and cope with the emotional complexities this honorable job entails...not just when crisis occurs...but before- to help provide foundation and supports in a community that is uniquely its own.
 

"Protect and Serve" should not just be about the community in which a LEO is stationed in...it should include caring for the LEO's "whole self"- and that of his/her family.  Family life is tough in any environment these days- education, understanding, and support specifically developed for the LEO and his/her family (I believe) is key- in this job where no tomorrow has the potential to be "just a day at the office".


Thanks for reading this....       


Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.
Albert Einstein