Police Psychology | Stress Inoculation:  Not Just for Gunfights

by Patricia A. Robinson, Ph.D.

Sonoita, Arizona

 If you Google “police stress inoculation shooting,” you’ll get about 300,000 results, with titles like “Why your firearms training MUST include stress inoculation drills.” Acute stress induces the so-called “fight or flight” response, stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system to prepare you to deal with the proverbial saber-tooth tiger about to pounce or the drug dealer drawing a pistol.  Without getting into the physiological weeds, we are familiar with the effects of the acute stress response:  pounding heart and rising blood pressure, tunnel vision, loss of fine motor control, auditory exclusion, and so on.  If you’re not prepared, these responses can wreak havoc with your shooting skills.

Trainers introduce artificial stress (e.g. time pressure, shoot/don’t shoot decisions, scenarios) in firearms training to ensure that when the real thing happens, an officer will still be able to perform, even under acute stress.   The middle of a gunfight is a bad time to be trying to think through step-by-step how to draw and fire your weapon or what to do when a malfunction occurs—your responses must be automatic.  With acute stress, when the gunfight is over (or the saber-tooth tiger has decided on a different entrée), our bodies return to normal. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology:  Anger!! Part 1

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

Police Psychology is always dealing with how to keep officers less emotionally Police psychology: frustrated couplereactive, in particular, not reacting out of anger.   We all experience moments of frustration—moments where we just feel like lashing out at everyone and everything around us because things aren’t working out for us in the ways we wanted.  Frustration is the emotion we feel when we are being opposed, blocked from reaching a goal we want, or barred from doing something we want to do. Frustration is very common, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Frustration can also range from mild to severe, depending on the circumstance. For instance, if you wanted to make it through a green light before it turned red, but by the time you got there it was too late, you’d probably experience minor frustration.  On the other hand, if Notre Dame football has another defensive lineman injured on a jet sweep from a stupid cut block and the referee refuses to call it because he hates the Irish when they have a supposedly inferior opponent… wait I am losing it again.  I need to find a wall to punch.

Cycling Your Frustration

A typical response to frustration is anger—anger at your boss for making you redo your work, anger at your teacher for giving you a bad grade on a paper you spent hours doing, anger at the guy in the car next to you for cutting you off.  When the anger comes from re-living the same incident over and Police psychology: frustrated girlover, I call this “Cycling”—spinning the frustration into anger, saying the same thing over and over until anger builds from your frustration, and then frustration from your anger.  Cycling is a never-ending mess which can have some dangerous consequences, especially if it leads you to say something you know you will regret later.  It is not uncommon for this cycling to turn into something psychologists call the frustration-aggression-displacement syndrome (everything is a syndrome in psychology).  Frustration-aggression-displacement is when you are frustrated at something or someone, but you know you can’t do anything about it. For instance, it is not going to be helpful to yell back at your boss or teacher when they do something that frustrates you, because they have a higher authority than you do, and getting angry with them won’t help assuage your frustration.  So, what do you do? You go home and yell at your wife, or your children, or you kick your dog, or yell at a waiter, or go into a road rage by driving like an idiot—you lash out at people who can’t or won’t fight back.  In doing so, you are alleviating your frustration through aggression directed at people who are not responsible for your frustration.  This is not only unhealthy for you and the people around you, it is also dangerous, and can lead to a downward spiral of increasingly harmful behavior.  And research shows it can lead to heart attacks, cancer, rashes, organ dysfunction, etc.  Yes, the open expression of anger and frustration has been shown in statistical research to be worse than holding it in.  Sort of the opposite of what shrinks have told us in the past. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology:  Is Technology Making Us Barefoot, Dumb and Depressed?

by Dr. Gary S. Aumiller

 

Is technology making us barefoot, dumb and depressed?  Now I have warned you before, there is no single answer for causes.  And that is assuming people are dumber today than usual, which could be a false assumption (although the argument is looking pretty good with the whole political situation in America).

So, here’s the rub:  there was a study that a social psychologist did by placing a cell phone on the table.  The mere presence of the phone made the conversation less personal and less complete.  Further studies show that if there are seven college kids at a table, only three will be involved in a conversation at any one time.  Maybe four.  The rest will be on their phones.  And finally, studies at Kent State University show for 500 cell phone using kids, at different levels of use, the high frequency cell phone users tended to have a lower GPA, higher anxiety, and lower satisfaction with life (happiness) relative to their peers.   Let me TEXT that to you while it sinks in. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology:  27 Symptoms of Anxiety

 

 

 

Site Administrator:  Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

Please share this article from down below.

Please join the email list on the top of the sidebar and you can get these sent to your email.  Also follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ThinBlueMind) for other articles and ideas, and YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfjNw0510ipr3bX587IvAHg .

Police Psychology:  Stop the Murder!

by Dr. Gary S. Aumiller

Enough is enough!  In fourteen days, there has been a wholesale killing of people in a concert in Manchester, at a tourist site in England, and a guy with a hammer attacking people in Paris, in the shadow of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  My wife said after the second attack that our 10-year old will never be able to visit Europe like we did without thinking about danger.  She’s at the age where she would be at an Ariana Grande concert and we would have taken her there.  And we certainly have been on the London Bridge when we were in London and at the Basilica when we were in Paris.  These sites are only about 200 miles apart.  It’s like 3 attacks from New York to Baltimore, or San Francisco to Fresno, or Miami to Orlando.  How do we Stop the Murder!

Obviously, allowing Sharia courts of law (the UK has at least 85) and setting up their own government is not going to help terrorism.  Allowing open borders doesn’t seem to help terrorism, circa 2017.  And constantly repeating statements like “we are all immigrants” does not help terrorism.  What is the secret, and where do we go from here?  I mean other groups have assimilated into American culture.  I can’t remember a story about an Amish person killing people or knocking down a building.  The European Jews, Chinese, French, and Italians seem to have assimilated well, sometimes even into their own separate neighborhoods.  As far as home grown, Mormon religions are non-violent, as are the Jehovah’s Witness.  They may be annoying proselytizers, but really we can shut a door on them without worrying about being blown up.   What is the difference and can police psychology help us understand how to handle this new terrorism better? Read the rest of this entry »