Understanding How Therapy, Counseling, and Life Coaching Can Help First Responders
Date:Tuesday July 6, 2021
As a first responder, you’ve experienced many stressors in your life. While not everyone reacts the same way to these events, many of us discover a need to talk through those experiences, making meaning out of them or finding ways to move forward. Other times, our daily lives – from family and marriage to relationships with friends – can become stressful enough to interfere with our work itself, causing additional frustration.
In order to be the best version of yourself, both in terms of personal satisfaction and ability to assist others, you may consider talking with a therapist, counselor, or life coach. These resources can help you put aspects of your life into words, helping enable new plans of action. It’s much easier to make a plan with someone else there, especially a well-trained, thoughtful person. Read on for more information on what kind of assistance might be able to help you in both your personal life and career.
Therapy, or Psychotherapy
If you feel like your mental health is getting in the way of you living your life with a general sense of contentment and resilience, you might consider pursuing therapy as a way to work through long-term patterns and concerns. Whether you feel you didn’t get the life lessons and support you needed in childhood or are going through a particularly tough time right now, a therapist can help you talk through what elements of your experience are yours to reframe and reconsider, and what elements in your life you would like to change. They can also help you understand a diagnosis or symptoms that could lead to a diagnosis of a mental health disorder like PTSD, anxiety, or depression.
Often, counseling is seen as a synonym for therapy, but in this case, we’re using it as a way to address a particular concern rather than a variety of interconnected mental health needs. If, for instance, you’re experiencing tension in your marriage, recently had a particularly bad experience at work, or want to communicate better with your children, counselors have particular areas of expertise that allow them to facilitate conversations between you and your loved ones as well as develop strategies to work through your own thoughts and needs in the short or medium term.
Life coaches are a totally different area of expertise, though they often use questions and discussion as a way to move you forward in your goals, which is why we want to mention them. If you aren’t concerned with a mental health symptom, diagnosis, or issue in your past, a life coach may be a good option when you are focused on a future event: potentially taking a new job, figuring out what career steps matter to you, or rearranging the way you approach organizing your time.
No matter which type of conversation-based help you choose, spending time in consultation with a professional can really help you sort out many aspects of your life as a first responder. Consider trying one or more of these approaches to feel better about your overall experience of your challenging job.
- Find therapists in your area using the American Psychology Association’s search engine.
- The Wright Foundation offers some interesting insights into the ways to use a life coach.
- Some distinctions made by Michigan Counseling Centers that may help your team to understand the distinctions between counselors and therapists.