Blog

Service: A Pathway to Meaning and Healing

Service: A Pathway to Meaning and Healing

Families, Leaders, Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. This morning, I began pondering the mission of Heal the Badge Consulting, or simply put, the reason I have chosen to expend the effort to create articles, organize and deliver presentations, and finish my first book.  I asked myself why I “seek to realize the goal of fortifying law enforcement professionals, leaders and their families, by providing the necessary resilience tools for success within, outside and beyond the law enforcement career.”  I also pondered my extended vision to utilize my “law enforcement and academic experience, to lead individuals outside the first responder community, towards reconciling their traumatic experiences and realizing the meaning and growth embedded therein.”  It occurred to me that while I have articulated my motivation in various portions of my website, I…
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The Healing Power of Autonomy: Attenuating Career Over-investment

The Healing Power of Autonomy: Attenuating Career Over-investment

Leaders, Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. The Meme of Autonomy The ability to pursue our own course is embedded as a meme or shared relic in western culture.  The concept of autonomy has been communicated in many cultural traditions throughout time, with its western cultural significance manifested in historical events, government structure, media productions and contemporary philosophy.  The founding document of the United States of America, the Declaration of Independence, can be characterized as a forceful assertion of the cultural tenet of individual sovereignty.  This value was so entrenched in the American cultural tradition, the idea of securing individual freedom was deemed worth reckless rebellion against the preeminent world military power, leading to the American Revolutionary War (Burger, 1988).  While the codification of individual liberty, as contained in the Bill…
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Marriage and the First Responder: Defending the Homefront

Marriage and the First Responder: Defending the Homefront

Families, Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. The Value of Marriage: The new book authored by Adam Davis and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (2019), entitled “Bulletproof Marriage,” opens with an exchange familiar to first responders.  After locating a new officer in the patrol briefing room, a “pasty looking sergeant” inquired as to the reason the officer was present.  The conversation progressed as follows: “Hey sarge, I was wrapping up some paperwork and heading back out.  About to meet my wife for lunch.”  “You married?  How long?” the sergeant asked.  “We’ve been married six years.  Two kids.”  The sergeant responded, “I give it five more.  Five years on this job and you’ll be divorced.  It’s impossible for a cop to stay married with the crap we see every day.  Good luck kid. …
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First Responder Trauma and Resilience: Remembering the Resilient Majority

First Responder Trauma and Resilience: Remembering the Resilient Majority

Leaders, Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] Unintended Consequences Dr. Stephanie Conn’s (2018) recent book entitled, “Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel,” commences with a chapter labeled, “Are Police Resilient?”  She explores the emergence of a growing trauma, PTSD and suicide awareness campaign within the first responder community, examining its positive implications for organizations, as well its unintended consequences.  As one engaged in the culture war, seeking to champion the cause of addressing first responder resilience needs within our organizations, I have often sounded the alarm in my articles, university teaching roles, training sessions and personal communication.  As Conn (2018) discussed in her book, the urgency in some of our communication drawing attention to first responder PTSD and suicide, may inadvertently portray the false idea that the preponderance of law enforcement and fire/paramedic personnel…
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The Power of Gratitude: A Tribute to Leading with Encouragement

The Power of Gratitude: A Tribute to Leading with Encouragement

Leaders
[mc4wp_form id="746"] By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. A Profound Feeling of Gratitude and Joy Recently, while reading a book entitled, “Prisoners of our Thoughts” by Alex Pattakos and Elaine Dundon (2017), I was suddenly struck with a profound sense of gratitude for the beauty of the authors’ creation.  The expertly crafted ideas expressing the profound truths, originating from Pattakos’ and Dundon’s (2017) operationalization of Viktor Frankl’s (1984) philosophies contained in the classic book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” penetrated my soul, infusing it with love and gratitude for both Pattakos’ (2017) and Frankl’s (1984) desire to encourage and elevate others.  As I connected with the profound principles contained in this book, I was inspired, enlightened, and certain the same spirit that encouraged these two elegant books was living inside of me.  These…
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How Leading Emotional Resilience in Law Enforcement Supports a Gritty Culture

How Leading Emotional Resilience in Law Enforcement Supports a Gritty Culture

Leaders
[mc4wp_form id="746"] By: Sgt. Joshua Browne, M.P.S. Fundamental Misunderstandings and Culture I wonder if a significant portion of the deep cultural obstructions in the law enforcement community towards acknowledging and supporting emotional resilience ventures, can be traced to fundamental misunderstandings.  Our legacy cultural principle requiring steely grit, manifested in a “suck it up and drive on” philosophy, must be maintained within our operational capacity.  However, there is an unspoken and insidious rider attached to this philosophy that has been wreaking havoc on our profession for generations.  This deeply rooted cultural tenet was modeled for me beginning in the academy and reinforced by senior officers on the street.  After sucking it up and driving on, while operating in a traumatic environment, I was taught to ignore and mask the emotional implications…
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Leading First Responder Well-being: Love as the Catalyst

Leading First Responder Well-being: Love as the Catalyst

Leaders, Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"]                  Leading First Responder Well-being: Love as the Catalyst Emotional Well-being and First Responder Culture: Fortunately, a slow cultural shift towards first responder well-being is emerging.  Although much work remains in altering organizational cultural impediments towards realizing greater levels of success in the arena, I am encouraged by the steady positive developments in awareness, advocacy, education and mostly, the burgeoning cadre of leaders wielding love as a catalyst towards leading their subordinates, peers, and superiors towards recognition and action.  Especially in police and fire/paramedic cultures, where steely grit in the face of trauma and tragedy are expected and required, displaying vulnerability by acknowledging or expressing love towards colleagues can be problematic. Yearning for Resolution: Throughout my nearly 19 years in law enforcement,…
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Direct and Vicarious Trauma in Critical Occupations: Depleted Empathy and the Hope of Reconciling Interpersonal Relationships

Direct and Vicarious Trauma in Critical Occupations: Depleted Empathy and the Hope of Reconciling Interpersonal Relationships

Families
[mc4wp_form id="746"]   Direct and Vicarious Trauma in Critical Occupations: Depleted Empathy and the Hope of Reconciling Interpersonal Relationships By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S The Jumper: A few months ago, I was travelling out of my immediate police agency jurisdiction for the purpose of attending a court hearing.  As I exited the interstate and traversed the lengthy, winding and suspended off ramp, I noticed a male walking on the ramp against traffic.  Upon first spotting the male, I was in excess of 100 yards away, travelling in the number 1 lane at near freeway speeds, as he continued along the south shoulder of the number 2 lane.  I immediately knew my hopes of arriving at the important court hearing on time were dashed, however, the male’s intentions were not immediately obvious. …
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After Columbine: Purpose and Meaning Embedded in the Trauma

After Columbine: Purpose and Meaning Embedded in the Trauma

Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] After Columbine: Purpose and Meaning Embedded in the Trauma By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. Prelude to Columbine: As a career law enforcement officer, I have accepted interaction with direct and vicarious trauma, as a component of my professional commitment.  I understand I am required to run towards the sound of gun fire, even as others flea, regardless of personal risk to mind and body.  Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s reference to the “Wolves, Sheep and Sheep Dogs” analogy best describes the law enforcement and military ethos (Grossman, 2004; Grossman, 2006).  According to Grossman (2004), the Sheep Dog confronts and neutralizes the wolf, relying on the empathy he feels for the sheep as motivation to use his gift of aggression.  As a Sheep Dog, I accept the responsibility to protect the…
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Joy in the Process: Reframing Happiness

Joy in the Process: Reframing Happiness

Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. Unfortunate or Blessed? A couple of weeks ago, an off-duty officer employed at my police department was walking in his apartment complex in route to check his mail box.  Along the way, he was intercepted by two young males, who attempted to rob him at gun point.  It appears the males were unaware he was an off-duty police officer carrying a concealed weapon.  During the encounter, gun fire was exchanged.  The off-duty officer sustained a non-life-threatening single gunshot wound to the foot, while one of the suspects incurred a single gunshot wound and the other two.  Both suspects were apprehended at the hospital a short time later and are currently in custody.  All involved are expected to make a full recovery.  As you contemplate…
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