CSFF Launches Firefighter Psychological Support Program with Support from Ill. Fire Chief's Foundation

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.

About CSFF

Counseling Services For Fire Fighters, LLC (CSFF) conducts workshops that offer behavioral health support to firefighters, train senior fire officers and educate clinicians on the benefits of understanding the life and emotions of firefighters. Established based on the tragic events that surrounded Hurricane Katrina, Founder Assistant Chief Jeff Dill spoke with firefighters who returned after serving the community of New Orleans that had a difficult time talking with counselors who did not have any firefighting experience. These firefighters became frustrated and never did seek the help they needed. CSFF's workshop formats are designed to help improve the awareness of behavioral health within the fire service and provide knowledge to better read the signs and symptoms. Role playing exercises facilitated by CSFF Founder Assistant Chief Jeff Dill, teach how to listen, talk and recommend guidance so that awareness of at-risk firefighters can be identified before tragedy strikes. Being a firefighter himself, Jeff wants to let his fellow brothers and sisters know it is okay to ask and seek help when struggling emotionally in their lives. Those that give help should also be able to receive the same treatment of compassion when they are faced with their own behavioral health problems. For more information on the workshops CSFF is currently offering, view the calendar of upcoming workshop dates and locations, or to learn more about PTSD Screening, visit http://www.csff.info/

Jeff Dill holds a Master of Arts degree in Counseling, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois and currently a Assistant Chief at Palatine Rural Fire Protection District in Inverness, Illinois. He is a member of the American Counseling Association, Illinois Counseling Association, Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association, Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Illinois Professional Firefighter's Association and is also an alumni member of International Association of Fire Fighters. He is dedicated to educating firefighters and emergency personnel on the importance of behavioral health and suicide awareness.

Sarah Gura is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois earning her Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Lewis University. She has experience providing services to individuals, groups, couples, and families with a specialized focus on providing counseling services to firefighters and their families