Treatment for Mental Health

Are you a fire fighter or paramedic struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or anxiety? Seeking out the help you need isn’t a sign of weakness — it’s proof of strength. There’s courage in recognizing that you have a problem, and relief in realizing that healing is possible.

The IAFF Center of Excellence is designed with IAFF members in mind, and staffed with clinicians and physicians who understand your struggle. With an integrated approach to treatment and a combination of psychotherapeutic, pharmaceutical and holistic methods, you can get back to the work you love and the people you cherish.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that helps clients change the patterns of thinking or behavior that contribute to mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression or PTSD. By learning to modify dysfunctional thought patterns that lead to negative behaviors and emotions, IAFF members can become better equipped to deal with present and future traumatic experiences.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a four-part, skill-based treatment that promotes mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. Individuals learn to validate their internal experiences, while addressing unhelpful behaviors and thoughts that create unnecessary suffering. This treatment method has demonstrated efficacy for those struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-mutilation, compulsive behaviors and co-occurring addiction.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a method of psychotherapy that helps people process traumatic life experiences. This technique is based on the theory that, similar to physical wounds, the body naturally works to heal mental wounds. With the support of a trained therapist, clients recall distressing images while using bilateral eye movements or other sensory input to fully process a disturbing or difficult event. Once the event is processed, the client can adapt more functional beliefs about the event and move forward from the experience.

Group and Family Therapy

Building bonds between peers and strengthening connections with family members ensures IAFF members have a strong support network during and after treatment. Held multiple times a week, group therapy sessions help clients understand that they’re not alone in their struggle. Weekly family sessions (in person or over the phone) allow members to stay close to the people they care about most, and allow spouses and children to better understand what their loved one is going through.

Pharmaceutical Therapy

When necessary, our doctors and clinicians can provide medications that help mitigate severe symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and PTSD. At the IAFF Center of Excellence, medication is always used as part of a larger, therapy-based treatment program.


With advances in technology, online counseling and teletherapy services are becoming more common and effective forms of mental health treatment. IAFF members are matched with a licensed professional that can guide them through individual and group therapies that fit their schedule and meet their needs.

Aftercare Planning

Support from the IAFF Center of Excellence doesn’t stop when you leave the facility. In the final stages of treatment, each client develops a comprehensive aftercare plan to support continued recovery in life after the Center. This plan may include:

  • Individual psychotherapy for mental health
  • Continued medication management
  • Outpatient or intensive outpatient (IOP) substance abuse treatment
  • Local 12-Step, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or SMART Recovery support group meetings (if needed)
  • Access to an alumni mentoring program
  • Return-to-work planning and support
  • Check-in calls with Center of Excellence staff (if desired)

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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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