JMA Educational Services

ACT for First Responders


Being a “first responder” (fire, police, paramedic) is widely recognized as a stressful occupation due to frequent exposure to potentially traumatic situations resulting in a higher rate of diagnoses of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). ACT for First Responders focuses on the development of psychological flexibility/resilience in order to prevent disorders from arising or to shorten the recovery time when PTSD is diagnosed.

While numerous strategies aimed at PTSD prevention exist, not all are equally effective. Many of these strategies fall into the realm of “psychoeducation.” Psychoeducation is defined as information given to individuals about the nature of stress symptoms, both posttraumatic and other, and what to do about them. Despite the common employment of psychoeducation as an intervention with the aim to prevent PTSD, researchers note a lack of clear evidence for its efficacy (Krupnick & Green, 2008; Hourani et al., 2011; Wessely et al., 2008).

ACT for First Responders is a group training program for new recruits that teaches the skills necessary to help workers contact experiences they typically avoid. Efforts to control unwanted thoughts and feelings, also referred to as experiential avoidance, appear to be associated with a diverse array of psychological and behavioral difficulties. Recent research shows that interventions that reduce experiential avoidance (EA) and help people to identify and commit to the pursuit of valued directions is beneficial for alleviating problems of everyday living. Learning to do this for normal every day events prepares the recruit for the likely exposure to traumatic events on the job.


Wessely, S., Bryant, R.A., Greenberg, N., Ernshaw, M., Sharpley, J., & Hughes, J.H. (2008). Does psychoeducation help prevent post traumatic psychological distress? Psychiatry, 71, 287–302.
Krupnick, J.L., & Green, B.L. (2008). Psychoeducation to prevent PTSD: A paucity of evidence. Psychiatry, 71(4), 329.
Hourani, L.L., Council, C.L., Hubal, R.C., & Strange, L.B. (2011, July). Approaches to the primary prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder in the military: A review of stress control literature. Military Medicine, 176(7), 721–31.

http://jmarlinandassociates.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/GettyImages-5128009992.jpg

The benefits of providing this training to new recruits in a group setting includes:

  • promoting a social support network with other recruits
  • reducing the stigma of stress reaction when understood from an ACT perspective
  • teaching skills for improved coping and adaptation
  • improving resilience or psychological flexibility

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT uses mindfulness practices to help people become aware of and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion toward painful thoughts and feelings.


Behavioural Activation (BA)

BA is designed to treat depression. BA focuses on the depressed person’s behaviors that keep him or her stuck in depression.


Prolonged Exposure (PE)

PE is specifically designed to treat the symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Behaviour Therapy (BT)

Behaviour therapy focuses on an individual’s learnt, or conditioned, behaviour and how this can be changed.


Cognitive Therapy (CT)

Cognitive therapy deals with thoughts and perceptions, and how these can affect feelings and behaviour.


Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is now recognized as the gold standard of psychological treatment for this population.


http://jmarlinandassociates.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/woman-smile.png
Jmarlin_logo

J Marlin and Associates Inc. offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy services to help individuals increase their sense of vitality, well-being, and fulfillment.

Head Office1100 Burloak Drive, Suite 602 Burlington, ON L7L 6B2

©2016. All rights reserved. Website Design By Outsite The Box