Counseling Cops: What Clinicians Need to Know

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Product Details

Guilford Publications
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Ellen Kirschman, PhD, is a police and public safety psychologist, volunteer clinician at the First Responder Support Network, and sought-after speaker and workshop facilitator. Dr. Kirschman is a recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Police and Public Safety Psychology from the Police and Public Safety Section of Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service) of the American Psychological Association and the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology award from the California Psychological Association. She is coauthor of a book for mental health professionals, Counseling Cops, and author of the self-help guides I Love a Cop, Third Edition, and I Love a Fire Fighter, as well as the mystery novels Burying Ben, The Right Wrong Thing, and The Fifth Reflection. She lives in Redwood City, California. Her website is
Mark Kamena, PhD, ABPP, is Director of Research and Co-Founder of the First Responder Support Network, a volunteer, nonprofit organization that operates the West Coast Post-Trauma Retreat and a separate program for first-responder spouses and significant others. He has a private practice in Marin County, California, where he specializes in first-responder posttraumatic stress injury. Dr. Kamena is a recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Police and Public Safety Psychology from APA Division 18. He is President of the CPA and serves on the CPA Foundation Board.

Joel Fay, PsyD, ABPP, is a psychologist in private practice who works with emergency responders and provides crisis intervention training for numerous agencies throughout California. He served as a police officer for over 30 years before retiring in 2011. Dr. Fay is a recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the California Psychological Association and the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Police and Public Safety Psychology from APA Division 18. He serves on the Psychological Services Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, is Clinical Director of the First Responder Support Network, and teaches and presents workshops widely.


Whether you work with many or few law enforcement clients, Counseling Cops is an essential addition to any therapist's resource library. Cops usually go to therapy for the problems caused by years of urban combat, but they won't talk about things that matter until they trust you. Kirschman, Kamena, and Fay give an in-depth understanding of police culture and what therapists need to know about building an alliance with a cop client. They offer treatment strategies, resources, and rich descriptions of the pressures and consequences of a law enforcement career. What can take years to learn about working with law enforcement officers, this book generously provides between two covers.--Stephanie Cress, LCSW, RN, Vice President, First Responder Support Network

One of the most comprehensive and useful books that I have read on police counseling. The authors write from real-life clinical experience and understand their clientele. As a researcher and former police officer, I highly recommend this book for psychologists, counselors, and any mental health professional who works with law enforcement officers.--John M. Violanti, PhD, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York; 23-year veteran, New York State Police

Kirschman, Kamena, and Fay are respected pioneers in the area of providing mental health services to law enforcement personnel. This book helps clinicians develop both their clinical and cultural competencies for serving cops. It will rapidly accelerate the learning curve of clinicians working with our law enforcement professionals.--Kevin M. Gilmartin, PhD, author of Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement

The authors have been counseling cops for years, and their expertise is all-encompassing. The recaps at the end of each section offering concrete suggestions are especially helpful. This book is invaluable for every clinician who wants to counsel cops. It would be impossible to do a counseling session justice without knowing every aspect of the world in which the cop lives, moves, and works.--Rev. Jan Heglund, Chaplain, San Rafael (California) Police Department

This is the ultimate guidebook against which all other police counseling books will be measured. The book covers issues cops struggle with every day--and presents those issues in plain language for every type of counselor or therapist. The authors have done a magnificent job of describing the psychological impact of police work and explaining both what to do and what not to do when counseling officers. Clinicians learn ways to avoid becoming overwhelmed in intense sessions and get useful examples, quotes, assessment tools, and questions to ask in different situations.--Allen R. Kates, author of CopShock: Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Starting with chapter titles that pique the imagination and invite the reader to delve further, Drs. Kirschman, Kamena, and Fay cover the broad spectrum of police roles and their impact on individual officers and their families....Their treatment of law enforcement professionals reflects their professional and personal beliefs that police have a very difficult job, one more difficult than many realize....A 'must-read' for anyone who evaluates or treats cops, or who counsels their families.--from the Foreword by Ellen Scrivner, PhD, Executive Fellow, Police Foundation, Washington, DC

This is an evidence-based, savvy, eminently readable book on counseling police officers, other first responders, and their families. The authors are first-rate psychologists with the credentials and insider experience to connect readers to the daily grit, grind, and jitters that make this client population unique.--David M. Corey, PhD, ABPP, President, American Board of Police and Public Safety Psychology

"The book is complete with insights into law enforcement culture and vignettes that illustrate the problems faced by both cops and those who choose to treat them. This is truly a practitioner's guide-one informed not only by the authors' experiences but also by a wealth of cited studies....[A] must-read....Counseling Cops should be required reading for any mental health professional entering the world of law enforcement, be it as a therapist, educator, or evaluator. With this fine manual on the shelf, a professional would be much better prepared for any eventuality, such as an armed and agitated officer in one's office seeking help whether he or she knows it or not."-- "PsycCRITIQUES" (7/21/2014 12:00:00 AM)