Posts Tagged ‘police stress’

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. (more…)

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Police Psychology:  27 Symptoms of Anxiety

 

 

 

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

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Police Psychology:  Good Stress: Bad Stress

by Gary S. Aumiller Ph.D., ABPP

 

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Police Psychology:  Fake News

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

 

My first TV show appearance was in March 1991, a couple of days after the Rodney King Incident in Los Angeles.  The president of the police union I worked with asked me to go along on a TV interview because the deck was stacked against him with a member of the ACLU and civil rights leaders as the other guests.  The attacks were vicious against the union president at first, then I spoke up and said that many mental illness protocols show that “jumping to conclusions” is a type of delusional thinking that comes with narcissistic, histrionic and borderline personality disorders, and even worse comes with paranoid psychosis where conspiracy theories play out.  The fact was we didn’t have any knowledge of what happened before the videotape of Rodney King, the toxicology report on him, or even his history.  I suggested we should wait for those results to draw conclusions.  That was not a popular idea with the anti-police persons, but it did shut them up, and gave the PBA president something to play off.  History confirmed my contention.  As it turns out, when the opening ten seconds of the video that the TV  Station KTLA had edited out were shown, the officers were acquitted in state court.  The press caused a reaction, created news, and once created it was not destroyed.  Essentially, if that video were not to have riled masses, causing riots which enabled part of LA to be held hostage, this would have probably been handled internally by the department with the same results.  One officer was later found to have made six unnecessary blows after King was subdued and a second officer (the second was the supervisor) were found guilty of a civil rights violation in federal court.   

“Fake News” is no stranger to people in law enforcement.  Name the police administrator (or psychologist) who hasn’t been misquoted (or misinterpreted) by the media, and I will show you someone that hasn’t spoken to the media very much.  It is not endemic to all media, but it does show up a lot.  It has gotten extreme lately on both political sides.   Russian collusion, traitors by email, selling the country to enemies either by hotel room profits or donations, it is getting hard to distinguish what is news and what is not.  Is it just our innate desire to find the needle of evil in the haystack of life?  Or is it being fed to us to draw delusional conclusions that border on mental illness?  Either way, psychology is definitely involved here. (more…)

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Police Psychology | PTSD 4:  Flashbacks

Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

 

Of course, you are going to think I’ve lost it on this one, but it shows some merit.  And it makes some sense logically.  Researchers in England  say that flashbacks from traumatic events can be moderated through playing Tetris right after the event occurs.  That’s Tetris, the video game where you move puzzle pieces in all directions to make lines or blocks. etc. Makes you wonder if Candy Crush can be used for Ragin’ Anxiety and Donkey Kong and the Mario brothers could be used to sew up Open Heart Surgery!

So the thought is this: by playing a video game after a serious traumatic incident, you are stimulating your eye movement and concentration and that causes the brain to not be able to spend all its time to store long term memories, thus it doesn’t keep coming back into your head as much.  In fact, in the medical journal called Molecular Psychiatry in March of this year told of a study that gave people Tetris after a traumatic incident and others were given a placebo or basically nothing.  The Tetris group had 9 flashbacks the next week while the nothing groups had 23 flashback the next week.  Pretty significant!  Oxford University in England and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said just 20 minutes of Tetris right after a traumatic incident was all that was needed to greatly reduce all PTSD effects.  Scientific America reported the same effect in their study.  In fact, case studies are cropping up all over saying that Tetris therapy is great at reducing flashbacks if given in the hospital after car accident, witnessing shootings and even rape.  Let me get this right, (doctor calls out to nurse):  scalpel…suture…bandage…Gameboy.  This doesn’t make sense to me, but let’s look at it a little closer… (more…)

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