The “Mindful Police and Military Forces Program“ consists in teaching Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence to our great police and military forces all over the world.
Our program is aimed to:
- Increase officers efficiency
- Increase officers ability to do the right action in critical situations
- Increase “choice-space” between stimulus and response
- Decrease judgmental biases in decision making process
- Significantly reduce stress, anxiety and depression generator factors
- Significantly improve sleep quantity and quality and the capacity to sleep when needed
- Develop the skills officers need to de-escalate volatile situations
- Improve community relations both in peace and in war zone
- Significally increase ability of negotiating in hard situations
Our courses are conducted by our best teachers, some of them also involved in the treatment of Cancer Patients with the use of the same tools and techniques in cooperations with LILT and ASUFC in the region of Friuli Venezia-Giulia (Italy).
But why, in a moment like that, would Military, Police, Nurses, Fire-Fighters and First Responders needs to quickly develop high levels of “Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence” Skills?
Try to question yourself about this 3 simple scenarios:
- When does an accident take place? When you are in a controlled situation, lab or drill situation, with everything you need to solve the criticality that the accident causes ready to be used…or when you are on duty, in the field, or at home with your family or even alone? And are you aware of all the chance you have in any situation to experience that accident, and of what to do to cope with it?
- When does an injury or a physical breakdown takes place? When you are comfortable sitting or laying in a Hospital full of medics and nurses ready to care about you…or else when you are on duty, in the field, or at home with your family or even alone? And are you aware of all the chance you have in any situation to experience that injury, and of what to do to cope with it?
- When does a mental breakdown take place? When you are comfortable sitting over laying in a Mental Health Facility surrounded by psychologists and psychiatrists ready to intervene and help you…or else when you are on duty, in the field, or at home with your family or even alone? And are you aware of all the chance you have in any situation to experience that breakdown, and of what to do to cope with it?
And do you know that if you are not aware of the bias of your mind, those bias can easily overcome you and make you become an “always on the edge” person that, like a time-bomb, can implode/explode and lose all productivity at once, all of a sudden, maybe right in the middle of an important task or mission?
The 3 scenarios that I reported before represent 3 different kind of skills that you may lack of:
– Awareness of the environment
– Awareness of the body (yours and others)
– Awareness of the mind (yours and others)
In a moment of uncertainty such as this one, it is impossible to simply “stick on the plan” or “follow the protocol” because many times there are no plans and many times the protocol is only theoretical.
What is needed is a direct connection with what happens in the very moment things happen, and that can only be given by strong “awareness skills”.
Awareness and Mindfulness are synonyms. And as you know, since you are human, emotions can and will get in the way between you and your capacity to discern which is the best option.
From that, our programs are about both Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence.
Only a Mindful And Emotional Intelligent Mind can cope with any situation without getting involve with it and do always the best possible action. During an accident, in first aid emergency, in war or in quickly-escalating police operations, a Mindful and Emotionally intelligent mind can always act in the best way
All our works are supported by solid scientific studies. We leave some scientific notes about our program, useful for the reader:
The studies examined evidenced that police officers who went through mindfulness training experienced less depression in their first year of service and also “significant improvement in self-reported mindfulness, resilience, police and perceived stress, burnout, emotional intelligence, difficulties with emotion regulation, mental health, physical health, anger, fatigue, and sleep disturbance.” (Christopher 2016,2018).
In a recent article about a very interesting study conducted by the University of Wisconsin emerged that:
“Mindfulness training led to significant reductions in psychological distress and mental health symptoms, consistent with previous RCTs demonstrating reduced anxiety and depression symptoms (Trombka et al., 2021), burnout and perceived stress (Christopher et al., 2018), and negative affect (Krick and Felfe, 2019). We provide the first evidence of reduced PTSD symptoms in an RCT of mindfulness training for police officers, consistent with findings from an earlier single-arm pilot study (Grupe et al., 2021a). This result is notable given high exposure to direct and vicarious trauma in policing, and the serious and potentially deadly consequences of unmitigated trauma exposure for police officers (Syed et al., 2020) and members of the public (Chemtob et al., 1997; Weiss et al., 2012). We also observed a modest improvement in sleep quality with mindfulness training that was significant at 3-month follow-up (see also Christopher et al., 2018). Improved sleep may benefit both police officer health and community well-being. For example, North American police officers who screened positive for sleep disorders (40% of the sample) not only had increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, and depression, but were more likely to express anger at work, fall asleep while driving, and incur citizen complaints (Rajaratnam et al., 2011). Mindfulness training was associated with a reduction in the CAR at 3-month follow-up, consistent with results from a previous RCT in police officers (Christopher et al., 2018). Although the CAR is generally thought of as an adaptive anticipatory response to prepare for the upcoming day (Powell and Schlotz, 2012), exaggerated responses are associated with excessive worry, burnout, and depression (Schlotz et al., 2004;” (Grupe &Co 2021)
Furthermore, is directly Officer Richard Goerling, a police lieutenant is Hillsboro, Oregon, who works with fellow police officers to increase their well-being through mindfulness, who says in a recent interview that often officers:
“Instead of understanding the impacts of stress, anger, or fear, [are forced by habit to] try to tamp down those emotions or ignore them, which keeps them from understanding the effect of emotion on performance “It’s classic compartmentalizing, saying, ‘I don’t let my emotions get in the way,’” says Goerling. “Yeah, right. But what happens if those emotions spike up out of the little box and get in the way, creating problems in the encounter with others?” (Suttie 2016).
And he added about mindfulness in critical situations that:
“Mindfulness opens up the space in which we make decisions—we’re not so linearly focused or so stressed because we are under threat,” he says. “We may still be under threat, but because I’m regulating my stress response and my emotions—anger, fear, and ego, which is a huge problem in our culture—I’m more aware of my options.”
Mindfulness and emotional intelligence are now crucial instruments for police officers all over the world and we find very important to present to our Italian Forces the opportunity to have those kind of abilities in their set of skills.
– Christopher, M.S., Goerling, R.J., Rogers, B.S. et al. A Pilot Study Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Cortisol Awakening Response and Health Outcomes among Law Enforcement Officers. J Police Crim Psych 31, 15–28 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896-015-9161-x
– Christopher MS, Hunsinger M, Goerling LRJ, Bowen S, Rogers BS, Gross CR, Dapolonia E, Pruessner JC. Mindfulness-based resilience training to reduce health risk, stress reactivity, and aggression among law enforcement officers: A feasibility and preliminary efficacy trial. Psychiatry Res. 2018 Jun;264:104-115. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.03.059. Epub 2018 Mar 23.
– Daniel W. Grupe1, Jonah L. Stoller, Carmen Alonso, Chad McGehee, Chris Smith, Jeanette A. Mumford, Melissa A. Rosenkranz and Richard J. Davidson (2021). The Impact of Mindfulness Training on Police Officer Stress, Mental Health, and Salivary Cortisol Levels
Clinical Trial published: 03 September 2021 doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.720753
– Jill Suttie, Psy.D, How Mindfulness Is Changing Law Enforcement
Meditation is helping police officers to de-escalate volatile situations, improve community relations—and improve their own well-being, MAY 18, 2016: on https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/
– Andersen, J. P., and Gustafsberg, H. (2016). A training method to improve police use of force decision making: a randomized controlled trial. SAGE Open 6, 1–13. doi: 10.1177/2158244016638708
– Ballenger, J. F., Best, S. R., Metzler, T. J., Wasserman, D. A., Mohr, D. C., Liberman, A., et al. (2011). Patterns and predictors of alcohol use in male and female urban police officers. Am. J. Addict. 20, 21–29. doi: 10.1111/j. 1521-0391.2010.00092.x
– Black, D. S., and Slavich, G. M. (2016). Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 1373, 13–24. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12998
– Browning, C. R., Tarrence, J., LaPlant, E., Boettner, B., Schmeer, K. K., Calder, C. A., et al. (2021). Exposure to police-related deaths and physiological stress among urban black youth. Psychoneuroendocrinology 125:104884. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104884
– Burke, K. C. (2020). Democratic policing and officer well-being. Front. Psychol. 11:874. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00874
– Buysse, D. J., Reynolds, C. F., Monk, T. H., Berman, S. R., and Kupfer, D. J. (1989). The Pittsburgh sleep quality index: a new instrument for psychiatric practice and research. Psychiatry Res. 28, 193–213. doi: 10.1016/0165-1781(89)90047-4
– Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Turner, S., Taillieu, T., Duranceau, S., LeBouthillier, D. M., et al. (2017). Mental disorder symptoms among public safety personnel in Canada. Can. J. Psychiatr. 63, 54–64. doi: 10.1177/0706743717723825
– Chemtob, C. M., Novaco, R. W., Hamada, R. S., Gross, D. M., and Smith, G. (1997). Anger regulation deficits in combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. J. Trauma. Stress. 10, 17–36. doi: 10.1002/jts.2490100104
– Chopko, B. A., Palmieri, P. A., and Adams, R. E. (2018). Trauma-related sleep problems and associated health outcomes in police officers: a path analysis. J. Interpers. Violence 36, NP2725–NP2748. doi: 10.1177/0886260518767912