Webinar presenter Duane Bowers answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Self Care for Justice Professionals. Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: Are there any professional services that specifically support justice professionals besides just a personal therapist?
Duane Bowers: Yes, there is an organization known and there are several. What I’m going to tell you about is one I know best. It’s called SHIFT. Go on the internet and search SHIFT. They work primarily with law enforcement and that includes federal agencies as well as local agencies. They do a lot of education. They don’t one to one kind of therapy or working one to one with folks. They do a lot of really good education. They got some good handouts too. They got a really good handout on how to support families of the law enforcement who could be exposed to trauma. I would suggest them. There are more and more law enforcement agencies are actually including wellness programs or whatever but honestly, they are pretty much therapists like me that just have been exposed to trauma or been exposed law enforcement at work and so we kind of get it. Most, I don’t mean this the way it’s going to sound but most therapists if they haven’t really been exposed to boots on the ground trauma, they are not going to be really supportive. If they have sat in their office and they have the trauma come to them. I would suggest to you that that’s not probably the best therapist. You need someone who really does go out there in the field, who really does work with folks in the field, law enforcement or victims or whatever out in the field. EAP programs are okay but I want you to think about EAPs, who is it that’s an EAP provider? It’s usually somebody new to the field who is just somebody trying to build their practice. They are not going to have a lot of backgrounds perhaps in trauma. That’s just a gross generalization I realized that. You just kind of want to be careful who you connect to. You want to make sure they have a lot of good trauma background. Try SHIFT and look at their website. Look at what they have to offer as far as an organized group. That’s the only one I can think of in the moment. I know there’s more out there but that’s the only one I can think of.
Aaron: Thanks Duane. I actually found them. SHIFT Wellness. It’s shiftwellness.net. It’s the website. I will try to include the link on the course page. We also work with an organization called the Counseling Team International. They are out of California. They do a great job too.
Audience Question: In your opinion, do you a law enforcement officer that investigates a tragic homicide and then attends the funeral have been over-invested?
Duane Bowers: That’s a good question but it’s one that can’t be answered without knowing the individual. Some people going to the funeral actually closes the case for them. They can let it go and move on. It’s a good thing. Other people may be so invested in the case, they need to continue the relationship. They are going to the funeral because they need that continued relationship. That’s not particularly healthy. You got to know the individual and talk to them about why they are doing it. If you have an individual who tends to do it with every case or does it pretty consistently, I would suggest they are probably doing it as a way of closing off that case for themselves and being able to let it go, put it away and move on. You really have to know the individual to figure out what is the purpose of them attending. If it’s to maintain the relationship in some kind of way that is not healthy but if it’s to close it off and move on, that’s probably not a bad technique.
Audience Question: Do you have any similar data as what you showed for law enforcement officer for or involving 911 dispatchers especially regarding stressors? He goes on to explain that telecommunicators are the ones who hear and breathe the trauma, they don’t see it but they certainly experience it.
Duane Bowers: Absolutely. I do a lot of work with National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and, actually, provide support for their call center as well. Absolutely and not only you are getting the story firsthand but you’re getting it when it’s raw, you’re getting it when people are emotional. Then you are also getting what we professionally referring to as sometimes, the crazies. They are calling in and you can’t tell is this real, is this not whatever. I’m with you. I don’t have statistics but I do know they are out there. I do know there has been some studies done with call centers recently. I mean within the last five to seven years. Maybe do some searching. I’ll try to do some searching and if I find any, I’ll let Aaron know and he can put that link on as well. There is research out there. I can tell you that for sure. I’m not sure where it is.
Audience Question: Does silence while sleeping count? Or does it need to be a period of silence while awake?
Duane Bowers: No, it can be while you’re asleep as well. It’s just silence. The research came from lab rats and they played different kinds of music trying to see what stimulated the brain. What they found was it was not the music that stimulated the brain. It was the quiet time in between that stimulated the brain growth. It’s just quiet time, not watching a movie, not reading a book but quiet time. I’m going to say meditation but just sitting with your thoughts, being quiet. Maybe music but not music that you’re singing with or dancing with. It’s just quiet time to allow your brain to grow. It can be sleep as well as waking time.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Self Care for Justice Professionals.