I am a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Illinois. I am trained in empirically-supported treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and other conditions. In 2008, I received my doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan (UM) where I completed a post-doctoral fellowship before becoming a faculty member at Northern Illinois University (NIU). I have trained doctoral level students in the implementation of empirically-supported treatments at NIU since 2009. In 2012, Heather Pierce (a former student of mine with seven years of experience as a 9-1-1 telecommunicator) and I published the first known study on PTSD in 9-1-1 telecommunicators.
Since then, I have published eight additional peer-reviewed articles on the topic of mental and physical health in the 9-1-1 industry (see Research tab). In addition, I have various articles currently under review for publication. From 2014 to 2018, I was a co-Investigator on a federally funded grant examining the impact of NG9-1-1 on telecommunicators. As part of that grant, I collaborated with colleagues at University of Washington to develop an online mindfulness-based intervention that was shown to reduce stress. I have spent time in 9-1-1 call centers and have been invited to present at statewide and nationwide 9-1-1 conferences for both APCO and NENA.
In 2012, I presented for the first time at a nationwide 9-1-1 conference. Though I had anticipated that the work on PTSD in 9-1-1 TCs would be an important contribution to the industry, I was immediately struck by how profoundly the work was needed and how grateful TCs were for the recognition of their struggles. I knew that I had to do more. I conducted follow-up studies that expanded the initial findings in regard to PTSD and depression, and gathered data on the physical health issues prevalent in 9-1-1.
My research with 9-1-1 TCs and travel to conferences and call centers has been extremely rewarding. Yet, over time I became increasingly frustrated when approached by center directors and conference attendees who had a frequent complaint: “there are not good treatment options in my community.” I also frequently heard comments such as “the providers in my area have no idea what the job of a 9-1-1 telecommunicator entails,” and “I don’t want to seek services in my community because it is small and word gets around.” I could no longer sit idly by while an industry that I so deeply appreciate screamed for help. I began 9-1-1 Recovers, LLC, to meet the unique needs of 9-1-1 professionals, particularly TCs with limited access to appropriate or preferred treatment in their community.
9-1-1 Recovers uses videoconferencing to conduct sessions with clients suffering as a result of distressing duty-related and/or personal events in their lives. Though the emphasis is on the treatment of PTSD and depression using empirically-supported treatment approaches, treatment for additional mood and anxiety conditions, and use of alternative therapeutic approaches, is available. I have experience delivering therapy services using a number of different approaches, though my primary approach in treating PTSD and depression come from the cognitive-behavioral orientation.
Over the past decade, technology has been increasingly integrated into the psychological treatment of clients across the globe. Telepsychology enables clients to be treated by professionals outside of their community, which enhances accessibility. Telepsychological services also provide confidential services from outside the local community, which may be preferable for individuals from small communities where stigma may be associated with seeking help. Though the research is in need of replication, telepsychology services are shown to be as effective as in-person services, including in the treatment of conditions such as PTSD. Notably, the Veteran’s Administration (VA) has adopted telehealth services with success.