First Responders & Public Safety

EMDR Therapy for First Responders and Public Safety Professionals

Dr. Robbie works with First Responders and Public Safety Professionals in a variety of ways.

    EMDR Therapy for First Responders and Public Safety Professionals

    1. Dr. Robbie provides crisis response and post-shooting debriefings to Law Enforcement Officers.
    2. She has written and presented workshops at international conferences on working with First Responders and Public Safety. She teaches a course entitled
    • The Developmentally Grounded EMDR Therapy Basic Training Dr. Robbie wrote and provides focuses on working with Children, and First Responders and Public Safety.
    • “Haunted: EMDR Therapy with First Responders and Public Safety.”
    • “The Trauma After the Trauma: Betrayal Trauma in First Responders and Public Safety Professionals.”
    • Robbie has presented to the Arizona Bar on working with First Responders in a training entitled “PTSD: Treatment Issues and Complexities of Diagnosis.”
    1. Dr. Robbie is a co-founder of PISTLE (Post Incident Stress and Trauma in Law Enforcement) an external Peer Support Program for Law Enforcement Professionals. She currently volunteers as a Mental Health Consultant for PISTLE.
    2. Dr. Robbie is in the process of starting a Peer Support Program for Firefighters entitled BUCKETS (Beginning to Understand and Cope with Emergencies, Trauma, and Stress).
    3. Dr. Robbie has worked as a Mental Health Consultant for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation presenting on mental health in Firefighting and teaching death notification.
    4. Dr. Robbie is the Founder of the EMDRIA Special Interest Group (SIG) for First Responders and Public Safety Professionals.
    5. Dr. Robbie was a volunteer EMT/Firefighter during high school and college.

    This is an excerpt from a chapter written by Dr. Robbie. Early Mental Health Intervention for First Responders/Protective Service Workers Including Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services Professionals

    Robbie Adler-Tapia

    “We wait, we hope, we pray, until you come home again.”
    -Oprah Winfrey


    First responders or Protective Service Workers who respond to manmade and natural disasters experience daily career exposure to acute stress and trauma. By working in professional positions in law enforcement, fire sciences, emergency medical services, search and rescue, 911 operators and dispatchers, emergency room staff (including doctors and nurses), child welfare workers, and even psychotherapists, these individuals experience direct or secondary trauma from the work environment. The work of caring for the emotional and physical needs of others takes its toll on those in the trenches. In these inimitable circumstances, the exposure can lead to direct traumas and/or vicarious trauma for the professional in a first responder role.

    This chapter will focus on clinical skills for providing emergency mental health services to first responders while adhering to the EMDR protocol in the treatment of those professionals who are exposed to trauma in the line of duty. Case conceptualization is considered through the lens of the Adaptive Information Processing Model (AIP). The reader will learn how to develop a comprehensive treatment plan with methods for advanced resourcing skills and treating professional traumas specific to first responders.  Psychotherapy requires a dance between ongoing encounters with trauma in the line of duty while considering complicated forensic issues.  Personal and professional trauma arises out of the mission of first responders whose role it is to protect and serve the public.