Treating PTSD at the IAFF Center of Excellence 

Author: IAFF Center of Excellence Staff

October 3, 2019

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that can have a negative impact on a fire fighter’s mental health, physical health, career and relationships. Fire fighters with PTSD are at a greater risk of developing other mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression and substance use disorder.

Struggling with PTSD is difficult, especially without support or treatment. A diagnosis of PTSD can feel overwhelming, but it’s not a life sentence or lifelong diagnosis. Treatment is available and effective.

A Center Designed for Fire Fighters

The IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery, located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, specializes in mental health and substance use treatment for IAFF members. Center of Excellence staff members use individual therapy, group therapy and family outreach to treat behavioral health problems. Treatment is guided by the individual’s clinical needs and symptom presentation. In addition, the Center of Excellence employs cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

To learn more about the treatment modalities offered at the Center of Excellence, see the IAFF Center of Excellence Clinical Guide.

How Treatment Helps

Some of the issues clients address in treatment include:

While a strong psychotherapeutic program is the foundation of treatment, the Center of Excellence is designed to provide purposeful, goal-directed activity outside of the therapy session. Alternative wellness approaches enhance recovery by restoring a broken mind, body and spirit:

  • Yoga
  • Alcoholics Anonymous meetings
  • SMART Recovery concepts
  • Recreation therapy
  • Pastoral care

Levels of Care to Guide Your Recovery

The IAFF Center of Excellence treats IAFF members at multiple levels of care based on the acuity of symptoms. Levels of care at the facility include:

  • Clinically managed detox
  • Residential
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Intensive outpatient
  • Outpatient therapy

Clients are admitted to a level of care based on their initial diagnostic evaluation and psychosocial assessment. The staff at the Center of Excellence understand the individual challenges that fire fighters face and establish individual treatment goals for each client. Fire fighters living with PTSD or other behavioral health conditions can find lasting healing in an environment that exclusively serves IAFF members.


If you or another IAFF member is struggling with a behavioral health problem, help is available. You don’t have to suffer alone. Call the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Treatment and Recovery today to begin the journey to recovery.

The Center of Excellence was designed for IAFF members, by IAFF members in order to ensure that the unique situations fire fighters face are properly addressed.

Medical Disclaimer: The IAFF Center of Excellence aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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