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Breaking the Cycle: First Responders, Trauma, and Substance Use

2 CE Hours

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  • On Demand
    Sessions will be available On-Demand

The hazards of the first responder’s job include exposure to trauma resulting in mental health issues such as PTSD, as well as substance use disorders. First responder wellness can have implications for patients, crews, families, and the community at large. Therefore, it is a social problem. This presenter will explore the realities of trauma exposure among first responders, the challenges of accepting treatment, and the concurrent treatment of co-occurring trauma, mental health, and SUDs. This presented will also consider how COVID-19 impacted first responder wellness. This presenter will share research inspired by her work with the Palm Beach County Firefighters Union. In this role, she witnessed the impact of on the job trauma exposure on firefighters and gained a unique perspective of their culture. She will describe protocols to mitigate the negative outcomes of trauma, promote growth, and increase resilience in first responders.

Target Audience
  • Counselors
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Social Workers
Educational Goal:

Participants are expected to gain competencies in providing trauma-informed care to first responders, and to integrate those competencies into their practices.

Learning Objectives
At the end of this course, participants will be able to:
  • Identify at least 3 effects of trauma exposure on first responders from a biopsychosocial perspective
  • Develop a strategy to mitigate barriers to treatment unique to first responder culture
  • Create a plan to integrate evidence-based treatments for trauma and co-occurring disorders into their work with first responders
  • Discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on first responder wellness and subsequent improvements on treatment strategies

This program has been approved for 2.0 CE clock hours by the Louisiana Counseling Association as authorized by the Louisiana Professional Counselor Licensing Board of Examiners.

Trusted Provider Network, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0220.

Addiction Counselors

This course has been approved by, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NADAAC Provider #198061, is responsible for all aspects of the programing. Counselor Skill Group: Counseling Services.

Social Workers, #1766, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 03/31/2022 – 03/31/2025. Social workers completing this course receive 2.0 Clinical continuing education credits. ASWB ACE credit is not available in NY and NJ.

Trusted Provider Network, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0654.

California Providers:
Course meets the qualifications for hours of continuing education credit for LCSWs and LPCCs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LCSWs and LPCCs. maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.

CE Policy and this educator have no conflicts of interest and have not received any commercial support for this program or its contents.
Dr. Anna Lisa De Lima

Dr. De Lima is the Clinical Director at Hanley Center at Origins in where she works to ensure that Hanley Center provides the highest level of care to patients in all its programs. Dr. De Lima is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Florida as well as a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Dr. De Lima is also trained in EMDR. She was inspired to begin her research while completing her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health and working for the Palm Beach County Firefighters Union, where she witnessed firsthand the impact of on-the-job trauma exposure on firefighters. Her dissertation work emphasized the factors that promote growth from trauma and the development of greater resilience in first responders. As a clinician, Dr. De Lima utilizes a variety of evidenced based protocols in the treatment of mental health disorders, SUDs, and trauma. Having worked closely with first responders in a variety of roles, and through her years of research on this population, Dr. De Lima is well-versed in the unique concerns that this population faces. Dr. De Lima has also presented extensively on this topic at national conferences as well as provided trainings at several fire departments.

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