Palatine, IL (November 2, 2012) - Counseling Services For Firefighters, LLC, (CSFF) with the support of the Illinois Fire Chief's Foundation, announced today they will launch Firefighter Psychological Support™ in early 2013. Firefighter Psychological Support™ (FPS) is the first post-licensure fellowship and certification program for licensed therapists seeking to specialize in providing psychological support services for firefighters and their families. The educational program will provide an intensive examination of the fire service culture and insight into the career of firefighting.
The three-part comprehensive training program for licensenced therapists will include:
- 40 hours of classroom and experiential learning
- 40 hours of supervised field exercise (active ride-along time with on-duty Fire Department personnel)
- 40 hours of supervised FPS clinical experience
This program developed by CSFF Founder Assistant Chief Jeff Dill (LPC) and Sarah Gura (LCPC), recognizes that licensure and experience are valuable to make the program successful. Firefighter Psychological Support™ has been approved by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). With this approval CSFF is able to offer 80 Continuing Education Clock Hours for those NBCC counselors who successfully complete the required classroom and practical training hours. A Firefighter Psychological Support™ certificate granted by Counseling Services For Firefighters will be recognized by the NBCC, The Illinois Fire Chief's Foundation, Counseling Services For Firefighters, LLC, Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance as well as many state LPC Boards.
As the Director of Firefighter Psychological Support™, Sarah has taken pride in making a sincere and successful effort towards creating a much needed specialty within the counseling field. Hearing too many firefighters say, "If this doesn't work out, I'm done, no more counselors and no more CISDs," Sarah has helped FPS base their fellowship curriculum on some of her own learning experiences while counseling firefighters. FPS has structured classroom time, ride-alongs, and clinicals as a part of the program training to help 'bridge the gap' between the clinician world and the fire service.
Sarah went on to comment, "There are two expectations that I have for myself and a FPS-therapist: competence and effectiveness. This program requires an application process and it provides the information, experiences, and practice to train a therapist on firefighter psychological support services. It is my privilege to share what I know and to collaborate with fellow counselors so that we have an outstanding training program for therapists and a professional, specialized counseling service for firefighters."
CSFF knows mental health professionals require a working knowledge and experience of the unique firefighter culture to increase successful outcomes of firefighter mental/behavioral health treatment. Close and very dear to the heart of Assistant Chief Jeff Dill, is the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation's 13th Life Safety Initiative, which states "Firefighters and their families must have access to counseling and psychological support." According to Gura, "This course is so unique and nothing like what is currently out there - we are the first to bring therapists and firefighters together to train clinicians and prepare them to work with firefighters. I want firefighters to know that they are admired and appreciated; that they deserve a qualified and capable provider and that they can actually get help from a FPS-therapist. I hope that firefighters will get to know FPS as their trustworthy and loyal group of therapists. I want to give a firefighter a piece of mind that their FPS-therapist is worthwhile going to."
As a result, Firefighter Psychological Support™ was designed to prepare and certify those licensed therapists that are willing to provide specialized professional treatment specifically to those firefighters and their families in need. Illinois Fire Chief's Foundation President, Andy O'Donnell has shared that "The Illinois Fire Chief's Foundation is proud to support the efforts to provide a fire service specific certified system of psychological support services to be made available for firefighters and their families."
The FPS program is slated to begin statewide within Illinois then become nationwide so that all firefighters across the United States can benefit from trained mental health professionals who have a unique knowledge and key experience with the fire service.