​ First Responder Therapy - 5 Myths​

"First Responder Therapy - 5 Myths​"

by Carla Lundblade, MS LPC NCC


Myth # 1:  Psychological therapy is only for First Responders who are crazy, weak, lazy or miserable.

FALSE! The National Institute for Mental Health and the scientific psychological community have developed 120 positive psychological interventions for use by normal functioning people to help them lead more fulfilling and more productive lives. Gone are the days when practitioners only focused treatments on people with mental illness and serious impairment.


Myth # 2:  Psychological therapy is just hocus-pocus and doesn't really work.


FALSE! Sixty years ago, none of the mental disorders we know of today were treatable. Since that time and after a 30 billion dollar investment by the National Institute of Mental Health on scientific research, fourteen mental disorders are now treatable with two of them, including PTSD, actually becoming curable. Today, there is no need for anyone to suffer without treatment.


Myth # 3:  You have to hit rock bottom in your life before you seek improvement through psychological therapy.


FALSE! We, as psychological therapists, are just as concerned with helping people build the best things in life as we are with helping them to repair the worst. We have scientifically studied normal functioning people and have discovered the tools you can learn to experience more positive emotional states and more happiness. This process can begin at any time and at any level of functioning. Again, there is no reason to suffer needlessly before improving your life.


Myth # 4:  Happiness and fulfillment do not need to be learned, they just happen.


FALSE! Most people don't know that our brains are wired to be negative unless we actively train them to be positive. Psychological scientists have studied how happiness is created within the left and right hemispheres of the brain during brain scans. We know that happiness is improved by learning psychologically-tested skills related to PTSD reduction, personal strengths building, focus, visualization, life engagement and creating meaning from tragedy.


Myth # 5:  If you seek psychological therapy, you're going to be labeled as mentally ill.  


FALSE! The DSM diagnostic manual allows for practitioners to use clinical codes that only reflect adjustment issues, which are universally accepted as normal issues that happen for all of us. In my clinical opinion, PTSD symptoms are normally occurring "adjustment issues" that develop over time and with repeated exposure to the specific types of stressors that First Responders experience. In addition, federal laws pertaining to treatments and insurance reporting have recently been improved to help First Responders increase their rights to services, dignity, confidentiality and fair treatment without negatively affecting their opportunities for career advancement.