Police / Fire / EMS

Working in the emergency services brings a unique set of challenges. Normal occupational stress is unavoidable and is considered adaptive under some circumstances. Healthy levels of stress help provide motivation to get things done, such as meeting deadlines or providing optimum performance at work. Working in the emergency services often brings a higher degree of alienation and a lower number of people who understand the pressures of being in highly demanding situations. In addition to the high demands of working in the emergency services, there is also the common occurrence of vicariously experiencing the stress and/or trauma that the people you deal with are experiencing. This can also be compounded by the hardships of shift-work and continually going from a normal state to a state of extreme high stress multiple times during a shift.

The stress response is a way that the body stays alert and energized in emergencies and can save our lives. For example, it can provide that heightened alertness necessary to prevent a collision on the road. The issue is that there are many situations while working in the emergency services where same physiological response occurs in reaction to the life threatening situations that are frequently encountered.  For example, managing a cardiac arrest, managing an active shooter, or fighting a fire creates a “fight or flight” response. Situations that emergency services workers often encounter can bring their own unique stressor and also augment other stressors in life.

Chronic unresolved stress begins to affect many aspects of life including the way we think, feel, our physical bodies, and the way we behave. These changes can damage health, productivity, and relationships. Chronic stress can also lead to the condition of burnout, which is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion.

Talk therapy is very effective at treating a variety of emergency stress issues. Because of the wide variety of reasons that can cause us to feel stressed and the complexities and subtleties of professional diagnosis and treatment, feel free to call me to discuss further. I am experienced and trained in a variety of treatment and assessment methods for a variety of reasons that you might be experiencing stress/burnout. Contact a licensed mental health professional or your family doctor if you have concerns about chronic stress. Prairie Owl Psychology & Counselling is waiting to help with all your Edmonton psychologist needs, call Today.