In this fourth episode of the Forensic Advancement season for the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcast series, Dr. David Christiansen, a licensed psychologist in Colorado, is interviewed about how first responders can maintain psychological wellness and resiliency in a profession that involves frequent exposure to violence and its effects on victims.
Dr. Christiansen first discusses the physiological and emotional reactions that occur when a person is regularly exposed to the effects of violence committed against fellow humans and the physical and emotional suffering that accompanies such events. He then notes how such repeated exposures can produce recurring adverse physical and emotional states (trauma) over an extended period and can become magnified under repeated exposures to such events. Dr. Christiansen also discusses the importance of being aware of and dealing constructively with one's trauma. Other topics covered in the interview are adverse and constructive behaviors for coping with such trauma, the importance of group training and debriefings about trauma and traumatic events, and constructive organizational and personnel management practices that support therapeutic responses to the trauma associated with regular exposure to violence and associated suffering. He also describes the features of his own training program that addresses this issue.