First Responder

Are you a First Responder in Katy, West Houston, or Ft. Bend County experiencing any of the following?

  • Depression
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anger
  • Grief
  • Low sex drive
  • Survivor’s Guilt
  • Spousal/Partner Conflict
  • Infidelity
  • Parenting Issue
  • Self-Medicating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Marital separation or Divorce
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Oversleeping
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Increase rate of illness
  • Substance Misuse
  • Substance Abuse
  • Irritation, irrationality, impatience

Did you choose this job to help and now wonder why you feel so lost, hopeless, and empty?

We know that when first responders enter the industry they are educated regarding the range and details of situations they will face. We know that they are trained, even, in burn out prevention and self-care.

However, you can take off the uniform, gloves, or stethoscope but you can’t take off the culture. It’s not just a job role, it’s an identity and a calling. You “solve problems for others” but “don’t have any of your own.” When you do dare to admit there is a problem, you often feel alone in a crowd. Most First Responder groups elevate bravery, resiliency, and strength and helping others over admitting the need for help. They use these traits to cover and mask any mental health symptoms. Your job role demands that you protect the health and wellness of others, but that often looks like ignoring your own. We know that you fear a career impact and loss of status if you look for help. You even fear for the mental health of the mental health professional, can they handle hearing what you need to talk about?

WE GET IT. But the job culture doesn’t change biology and physiology.

When a human being experiences, observes, witnesses, or is subject to the details of events that are destructive, violent, traumatic, or grotesque that human’s brain’s chemistry is immediately impacted, which then changes the neural networks and pathways and the person. The first responder becomes – literally – a different person than they would have been. One event or the cumulative impact of events can lead to changes in the professional’s health that impact their ability to serve in their job, to function in their other roles at home and in the community.

Untreated, the impact of trauma can progressively deteriorate the first responder’s mental wellness and daily life. Unfortunately, many professional settings do not offer enough support, education, and options to be proactive in response to the demands and known stress of the job.

Even efforts to help, such as debriefing, can cause harm in the form of vicarious trauma which occurs when peers experience a trauma response when they are exposed to the details of their peer’s traumatic event.

First Responders have additional stressors to mind, body, soul which include:

  • Health impact of shift work
  • Inadequate training
  • Stressed leadership
  • Work related sleep deprivation and disruption
  • Technical problems such as poor equipment, antiquated systems
  • Personnel, support, and staffing issues
  • Inconsistent policies and procedures

At Chrysalis Counseling, we have developed a program to help first responders: firefighters, police officers, military personnel, corrections officers, EMT’s, dispatchers, nurses, and public safety professionals.

At Chrysalis Counseling, we work with first responders individually and with their leadership and management teams to provide proactive, informed, and evidence-based care. We offer departments and teams educational seminars on stress management, anger, family wellness, maintaining spirituality when the details of work duty may question it, as well as topics on more acute issues such as PTSD, substance use, and relationship discord.

We’ve developed 3 programs to help First Responder Professionals in the Katy, West Houston, and Ft. Bend areas:

  1. First Responder Crisis Program – For when a First Responder has admitted or been identified as at risk
  2. First Responder Wellness Program – for the individual First Responder seeking professional care and support but is not in crisis
  3. First Responder Team Program – A program working collaboratively with management and leadership to provide support and training to all levels of First Responder Professionals

Our First Responder Crisis Program includes:

  1. The First Responder (or the person calling on their behalf) will be responded to within 24 hours, often much sooner.
  2. The First Responder will be seen within 48 hours of the initial call by one of our 3 qualified providers.
  3. Our Professionals will develop a Safety Plan for Professionals in acute distress: Our providers will assess for suicidality or homocidality, identify the mitigating and protective factors, take steps to minimize access and risk, involve appropriate others such as family, clergy, and close friends. The safety plan will include seeing appropriate professionals, accompanied by designated family/friends, and appointments for follow up care. The safety plan will also include appropriate levels of supervision and companioning.
  4. An ongoing treatment plan will be developed to address ongoing needs.

Our First Responder Wellness Program includes:

  1. An initial intake and assessment which includes a strength-based inventory.
  2. Development of a plan to increase feelings of competency, worth, joy, and sanctuary.
  3. Working in collaboration with the mental health professional, develop treatment objectives and timeline.
  4. Encouragement and accountability in the furthering or development of habits that support wellness.

Our First Responder Team Program includes:

  1. A series of trainings designed to cover topics pertinent for the community role in terms of developing and maintaining mental health.
  2. A resource for Team Leaders to assess and respond to signs of distress early, when support may have a proactive and prophylactic benefit.
  3. Help with team building and communication.

Our goal for you as individuals and as teams in the community is to restore Compassion Satisfaction:

Compassion satisfaction (CS) refers to the sense of fulfillment you feel for the work you do. It can be a source of hope, strength, and ultimately resilience. This satisfaction with your work is also what allows you to face another day, another disaster, another tragedy. It is the quiet knowledge that what you do makes a difference, and that you possess the same strengths you see and support in the survivors with whom you work.


Meet our Professionals:

Joanne Ketch – Joanne has 9 years’ experience working with first responders of all types. Joanne has worked in related institutions such as the NeuroPsychiatricCenter (NPC), Intensive Outpatient Programs for the Right Step and has been helping first responders and their families in her private practice since 2011. Joanne is a provider for active and past military, has worked extensively with law enforcement for mandatory referrals as well as voluntary services, and has worked with many EMS and medical professionals. Joanne’s focus is on assisting helping professionals build daily habits of living and thought that support wellness, serve as protective factors, mitigate stress, and prevent acute onset of symptoms.

Victoria Cravens – Victoria’s clinical specialties and expertise include grief and trauma. Her work experience includes psychiatric hospitals and she is trained in family issues as well as substance abuse. Victoria is skilled in helping professionals develop their spirituality as a component of their coping and life enriching skill. Victoria is trained in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR); an evidence-based tool in treating trauma and effecting positive change.

Clara Fontenot – Clara’s experience includes working with teens and adults in both inpatient and outpatient settings, helping people find ways to sustain positive change. Clara is especially skilled with substance abuse and misuse. Clara’s passion is to help professionals overcome the challenges they face and be the whole and integrated professional they wish to be.



903A Avenue D
Katy, TX 77493

recoverytherapist@joanneketch.com
(281) 740-7563




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