The Cop Doc

Dr. Ellen Kirschman, Author and Police Psychologist, talks about her involvement with the first responder support network and her love for writing.

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You may or may not know who Dr. Ellen Kirschman is, but you’ve certainly been impacted by her. I think of Ellen as the godmother of police psychology. She has paved the way for many counselors and spouses with her books, I Love A Cop and Counseling Cops. She was one of the first, if not the first, to offer workshops for spouses to understand their officer. She’s passionate about helping officers heal from trauma and continues to volunteer her time to do just that. In my interview with Ellen, I get her thoughts on how the blue family has changed over the years, trauma, PTSD, her books, and her love for writing fiction mystery novels based upon the stories and experiences she has had in the police world.

(03:56): Dr. Kirschman shares her background and how she got interested in police psychology.

(05:07): A class called, I Love A Cop, was developed to teach police spouses about their officer’s career and the potential to be impacted by the career. This was an unmet need in the police community.

(08:20): I Love A Cop, addresses topics that were considered taboo and rarely talked about regarding relationships among officers, their spouse, and their families.

(11:37): In addition to more resources for police families, the law enforcement community has better-trained, culturally competent, clinicians to help reduce the stigma of getting help.

“I think that families that were once invisible in many places are no longer invisible.” Dr. Ellen Kirschman

(13:03): Plant the seeds early on in the career and a few years later, have a more serious conversation about how the job spills over to family and what you can do about it.

(16:23): Dr. Kirschman talks about what the First Responder Support Network is and how it benefits police families.

(18:59): The increase in the need for more retreats with the First Response Support Network shows that there has been an increase in trauma that officers experience over the years and more people are asking for and getting help.

(20:00): Awareness of trauma and normalizing trauma that comes along with the career have grown and resulted in more treatment within the community.

(22:17): Trauma treatment has changed as it is moving into a somatic area where the focus is on the body and the brain (EMDR).

(23:49): It’s important to know that there are treatments and communities that provide treatment to officers and spouses who are struggling with the impact of the career.

(27:22): Dr. Kirschman talks about reasons spouses seek out treatment.

“You’re as important as the first responder in your family. Let’s find out. Let’s find those lost parts of yourself you believe you’ve lost.” Dr. Ellen Kirschman

(31:47): A more formal term for burnout is Emergency responder’s exhaustion syndrome and spousal exhaustion syndrome. Finding a new balance is healthier for not just the individual, but the family.

(34:01): The change in the dynamic among Blue Families is what warranted book updates.

(37:21): Dr. Kirschman talks about her love for writing fiction mystery novels based upon the stories and experiences she has had in the police world.

(39:12): “These books are vehicles for me to tell people what it’s like behind the badge and what it’s like to be married to a cop. So, while I cover some really serious issues, I like to think that the books have quite a bit of humor.” Dr. Ellen Kirschman

(49:01): Dr. Kirschman discusses additional things that police couples can improve on.

(51:30): As a police spouse, try and focus on the things you can control rather than everything outside of your control. As a police family, set boundaries with the career and focus on communication with one another.

(55:46): As an officer, don’t make a unilateral decision for you and your spouse by deciding they don’t want to hear about your day. It’s not an all-or-nothing conversation. Negotiate ways to communicate your day without sharing information or details that “contaminate your home.”

Ellen is an award-winning police psychologist and the author of several books including, I Love A Cop and Counseling Cops. She’s a volunteer clinician with the First Responder Support Network and she is sought out for speaking and facilitating workshops. In her free time, she enjoys writing mystery novels.

Ellen Kirschman Ph.D. | Psychology Today United Kingdom

Treating Traumatic Stress in First Responders | Psychology Today United Kingdom

How Family Retreats Can Help Law Enforcement Families Heal | Psychology Today United Kingdom

Married to a Cop? Their Stress Can Become Yours | Psychology Today United Kingdom

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I Love A Cop

Counseling Cops

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The Cop Doc

Dr. Ellen Kirschman, Author and Police Psychologist, talks about her involvement with the first responder support network and her love for writing.

Share:

Share:

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