Recently I have been seeing a therapist for anxiety. My anxiety is something I’ve dealt with my entire life. Oddly enough I don’t have any anxiety issues about HF’s job. My anxiety has to do primarily with social situations.Seeing a therapist has greatly enhanced my personal life. I feel like I am taking on this problem head on and making some real progress. As I’ve been meeting with my therapist, often our conversations turn to HF and what he does for a living. This has gotten me thinking on more than one occasion about the need for police officers to seek counseling. In the past HF has dealt with some nasty things and was required by his supervisors to see a psychologist for critical incident stress debriefings. This, combined with my current therapy situation, has caused me to ask the question, wouldn’t all police officers benefit from regular counseling?
I recognize that many officers legitimately don’t need therapy in the sense that they have something wrong with them psychologically, but wouldn’t it make sense for someone in such a high stress, high risk profession to have regular checkup s done much in the same way that they have regular PT testing or physicals?I wonder if any departments out there do actually require a mental health checkup at least once a year.
HF has told me in the past that, in some departments he is familiar with, there is an attitude among the officers that seeing a therapist is a sign of weakness. I suspect that this is a nationwide attitude held by many officers.Law enforcement is an inherently stressful profession. Police officers not only have to deal with the public in high risk situations but they also frequently have to deal with their own departments and the unique stresses that each individual department presents. Then there’s the stresses presented by family and just life in general. How do officers find time to take care of themselves when they’re so busy taking care of others? Most of the officers I interact with through this blog and in my life have healthy coping mechanisms. But thanks to Hollywood, we all know the popular coping mechanisms for cops are alcohol, drugs, sex, violence, and the general perversion of the moral fabric of society.
How do you cope with the stress of being a cop?Do you see a therapist?
Do you shoot stuff up with your gun?Are you a fitness junkie?
Do you go out for drinks after every shift?It is not my intention to judge people’s coping mechanisms. I am genuinely curious how you guys and gals do it. I’ve also included a poll on the sidebar about therapy if you wouldn’t mind participating.