top of page


Sometimes it takes even more courage to ask for help than it does to face the horrors at work as a first-responder... But you can do it! 

Scott Dorsey, the Director at Snohomish County EMS (WA), shares his experience and talks about the power of EMDR therapy for first-responders in this video.



You can

We have first-responders and public-safety professionals out there who still believe PTSD isn't curable.
Good News: They're wrong!


Sure, be skeptical. It may be hard to believe that you don't have to suffer anymore with PTSD. But decades of empirical evidence support our claim. You can do more than just "Learn to manage the symptoms". You can experience freedom. And there's plenty of Big Relief for other Big Struggles too... 


Fortunately... although the old school mentality is still out there, the law enforcement profession has come along way in recognizing the mental health needs of our responders. Many large law enforcement agencies have psychologists on staff to provide assistance to their officers. In addition, nearly all emergency response organizations (or their governments) offer benefit packages through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that pay for a certain number of counseling sessions per year. Click here to learn more about EAPs.

Are you ready for relief? 


EMDR: Our First Choice of Therapy for First-Responders... 

We urge you to explore an evidence-based treatment, called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). It's one of only three therapies approved by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Veterans Administration (VA) as effective in the treatment of PTSD.


But it's also helpful with a full range of issues including anxiety, phobias, depression and more. Jim Marshall has been using EMDR with clients since 1990 and can attest to it bringing extraordinary relief and reclamation of life. That's why we strongly encourage all first-responders and public-safety professionals to try at least a few sessions of EMDR treatment every two years to "clear out" those memories that resurface. So they can stop feeling awful and truly move on!  


To learn more about EMDR, you can visit And, in our book, The Resilient 9-1-1 Professional, you'll find stories of real cases in which EMDR therapy provided huge relief to your 911 professionals. Also, check out EMDR: The Hidden Gem of PTSD Treatment, an article in EMS World magazine in which Krista Haugen, a flight nurse, describes her healing after a near fatal helicopter crash, and Jim Marshall shares his clinical experience helping others with EMDR.  


Helping you Find a Good Therapist  

For years, we've been so grateful that first-responders have allowed us to personally bridge them to EMDR Therapists. This help is important in many cases to assure a good fit with the right clinician and the best potential for healing. And so for non-emergency situations, we will do our best to help make connections when needed.


Visit to directly look for qualified EMDR Therapists. Whether we help you find the right clinician or you do on your own, check out the questions below to vet them first.



A few Questions to Ask Therapists before Deciding...
Once you find a clinician, do not hesitate to "vet" them before you decide to schedule an appointment. After all, this is an important decision and any dedicated therapist will usually be willing to take five minutes by phone to answer your questions before committing to treatment. When you leave a message, emphasize you're not looking for free phone therapy; you've been advised to just ask a few key questions to determine "fit". But be patient if it takes a day or two for them to call you back since they may be handling a lot of crises or taking a well-needed few days off! Here are the questions to ask any therapist that can help you make your decision about treatment. 

1. First offer them a very brief description of your counseling need (e.g., "I'm struggling with trauma from the job", or "Dealing with depression...". Then ask, "Could you please tell me about your training and experience in helping people with needs like mine?

NOTE: if your issue is related at all to your work as a first-responder, ask them if they have experience treating first-responders or other public-safety professionals. If they don't but are willing to humbly learn, and they seem like a sharp and caring person, success with them may still be very possible.


2. Then ask any of the following questions too (if you have not been able to get the info easily from their website):


>  "I've been advised to seek a therapist who uses evidence-based treatments. What treatment approach would you use to help me with this?" (that is, behavioral, cognitive, EMDR, etc.).  

> "What is your professional degree and licensing?" (also helpful to know about professional organizations)

>  If spirituality is a central issue to you, you'll want to be sure there's a fit between you and the therapist so be clear about your faith orientation and ask her/him about how they integrate spirituality and faith into their therapy work.

> "What are your fees and are you covered by my insurance (indicate yours)?"

The bottom-line in talking with a therapist: you are looking for three things related to all these questions:

  • The clinician's attitude: willingness to genuinely partner with you, answer your questions, humility, and degree of caring

  • Ability and competence to be effective in helping you

  • Your sense of "fit" with the clinician as a person... that is, how comfortable you would be working with them


If you are a leader, friend or peer supporter to a first-responder in need of help, take courage and don't give up helping them reach professional help until they succeed. They deserve help just as much as all those souls they have helped on the job! Finally, when folks are having a super hard time scheduling/beginning therapy it can make a difference if a peer offers to ride-along to the first session. But only offer this if it is truly needed and safe for you. Remember to seek the guidance you need in helping your peers so that you are not ever taking on a clinical role. 

If you have tried following the guidance offered on this page to identify the right therapist and you're still not succeeding, please contact us for support. Call a 24/7 crisis support line for any emergency situation; they're always there and you can reach them right here! Above all, do NOT be ashamed of seeking help. You are brave and when you get relief you'll be glad you made this choice.


Please email us at if you have questions or need more information.

bottom of page