Popular Training Modules
This presentation was developed for law enforcement leadership, and the unprecedented challenges they face when trying to balance the needs of their agency and officers with the public and political demands for change and reform. The profession of policing has long been recognized as one that is filled with stress and psychological strain, and this training delves into the effects of stress and trauma on law enforcement personnel and how those conditions may be intensified during recent difficult times. This training is oriented around current events and the impact that media and public opinions and actions are having upon the law enforcement profession. Attendees are provided with tactics and strategies for leadership and the individual officer to combat or prevent psychological damages and reduce officer attrition. Guidelines and policy suggestions for administrators are also provide that may positively influence officer morale and emotional resilience.
This training first debuted at the 2017 National Sheriff’s Association’s Annual Conference in Reno, Nevada. Due to overwhelmingly positive reviews, it has since been requested by numerous agencies. Dr. McDougall provides the most recent research on stress, “burnout” & PTSD within law enforcement and first responder agencies.
Using field experience with critical incidents, officer-involved shootings, and trauma, the audience will be engaged in dynamic discussions and debates. Powerful videos of interviews with officers who have experienced traumatic events and the psychological aftershocks are shared. Participants leave this seminar with information that assists them in making policy changes and/or maintaining the most effective management strategies for their agency.
While spending many hours on ride-alongs and working side-by-side with law enforcement officers and administrators, Dr. McDougall came to one definitive conclusion: their “normal” isn’t normal. In recent times, that has never been more true. And “normal” is changing. This presentation focuses on the extraordinary challenges faced by law enforcement personnel and command staff, and how officers cope with critical incidents and even the everyday “normal” calls or situations that can lead to cumulative trauma. Actual cases, scenarios and videos of clinical interviews with officers are utilized to educate the audience on ways to more effectively manage the stress and psychological strain inherit in the law enforcement profession.
This training module was first developed at the request of a statewide first responder organization to help address the organizations’ reported struggles with millennials. They are the largest generation group in our country’s history and perhaps the most misunderstood. In this 2 to 4 hour training, Dr. McDougall provides the audience with an in-depth clinical, and often humorous, examination of the personality and psychological dynamics of this population segment. The strengths, limitations and unique characteristics of millennials within law enforcement and first responder cultures are examined. Strategies are provided that teach communication, motivation, and relationship tactics and participants leave with a better understanding of the generation that is reshaping our workplace and our world.
This immensely entertaining, yet poignant 2 to 4 hour seminar looks at the struggles and challenges common in most first responder families and marriages. Although there is a substantial amount of data regarding law enforcement and first responder marriages, including some outstanding books on the topic, Dr. McDougall continues to observe in his clinical work similar and consistent issues and themes among most couples.
Due to the unique nature of a first responders job duties and the culture in which first responders are immersed, certain dynamics can emerge that have pervasive, negative impacts on marriages and families of these first responders.
This training module uses humor, examples of real client couples, and clinical strategies to help first responders and their significant other navigate through the challenges of long-term committed relationships. Leadership and command staff view this training as an investment in their officer’s morale and way to offer practical support. It also has a positive impact on job performance and career longevity.
This training was most recently presented at the 2018 National Sheriff’s Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA and receives outstanding reviews. It examines the psychological make-up of mass murderers and explore the motives and “whys” behind such acts. Violent crime motive analysis based on more than 500 psychological profiles of violent criminals is presented, including key principles of threat assessment. Participants receive the most current research on these topics while being educated and engaged by a trainer who has been on scene during mass shootings and performed clinical interviews with convicted serial killers. Participants are also primed and exposed to the effects of mass casualty incidents on the law enforcement agencies and officers that respond to these cases. Strategies and policies to support officers during and following the incidents are examined. Participants gain information and applications that assist them in the understanding of the psychological dynamics of mass violence and prepare officers and agencies for proactive and reactive measures.
Most recently presented at the 2018 International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Orlando, FL, this training module receives exceptional feedback from participants. In this training, Dr. McDougall utilizes many years of experience with officer-involved shootings, line-of-duty deaths, and other trauma to engage the audience in dynamic discussions and debates regarding the impact of critical incidents upon the officer and agency.
Powerful videos of clinical interviews with officers highlight this presentation by taking the audience inside the clinician’s office to experience the numerous, and often untold ways in which officers’ lives are changed by critical incidents.
Specific attention is given to suggested guidelines and procedures of smaller agencies, who may not have a mental health provider on staff, or direct access to psychological services. Strategies to prevent or reduce the long-term effects of critical incidents are discussed, along with related issues such as post-traumatic stress and officer “burn-out”.
This 6 to 8 hour training program was first presented in 2015 and has grown in popularity. It continues to be modified and customized to remain current with up-to-date research, events and social issues. It provides front-line supervisors and command staff with a general overview of the unique psychological aspects of law enforcement and their effect on the officer and his/her family. This training examines the biological and psychological mechanisms that are present during the day-to-day duties of police officers and deputy sheriffs. The most current research and data is provided and utilized to assist supervisors in understanding the various aspects of stress-related problems and how they impact employees and themselves.
The training explores, in detail, specific forms of psychological abnormalities common in law enforcement and first responder fields such as hypervigilance, cynicism, post-traumatic stress and officer burnout. Attendees learn ways to identify, address and manage specific scenarios and issues. The training includes visual presentations, video interviews with former law enforcement and first responder patients, and interactive role-playing scenarios. Attendees also have the opportunity to have their own agency/individual situations discussed and explored.
This extensive, in-depth two-day training program was developed after Dr. McDougall was approached by the Florida Sheriff’s Risk Management Fund to train individuals from 59 member agencies throughout Florida. Attendees have included sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, police officers, fire rescue, command staff, supervisors, and chaplains. Participants are educated on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related psychological conditions, and taught how to implement preventative measures that will reduce the risk of acquiring such conditions in the line of duty.
Participants receive clinical and scenario-based training to become instructors of in-service classes for first responders, sworn officers and other law enforcement personnel. They learn strategies and techniques for creating and maintaining emotional/psychological resilience, and risk factors for increased potential for PTSD. The program is based upon the “preventative healthcare model”, a proven approach that is proactive in nature when addressing disease states.
Because of the unique and distinct “culture” of law enforcement and first responders, instructors are trained to provide information in a manner that is best accepted and absorbed by participants. Removing the stigma and stereotypes associated with mental health issues, and providing practical and applicable alternatives to reactions to trauma and cumulative stress are a primary component of the training material. This training program has received outstanding reviews and has been utilized to fulfill the State of Florida’s required mental health training for first responders. Used in this capacity, it is tailored to individual state requirements. This training is also appropriate and can be customized for single-agency training purposes.
PTSD, Cumulative Stress and the Impact Upon the Officer and Agency
Substance abuse and addiction are part of the first responder culture and often they are not recognized and addressed as a problem until it’s too late. Utilizing decades of experience working with front-line officers and law enforcement leadership, Dr. McDougall provides a poignant and powerful examination of a problem that effects nearly every law enforcement and first responder agency and organization. Most recently presented at a 2019 national conference, this training module continues to receive critical acclaim. It delves into the statistics of officers with dependencies, how and why dependency starts, and what preventative measures can be employed to reduce the likelihood of substance abuse and addiction. Proven solutions include suggested tactics for the individual officer and policy changes for agencies.
This training module was developed to address the specific and unique psychological dynamics and demands of hostage negotiators. The individuals who perform these jobs are called upon during high stress, high conflict situations. Because they typically are not only negotiating with just the hostage taker(s), but also between command staff or decision makers or other law enforcement personnel, their ability to manage stress and cope with intense situations is essential.
Dr. McDougall provides a basic understanding of the biological and psychological components of stress and their impact upon the hostage negotiator during and post incident. Participants are taught strategies and techniques to help manage this stress and improve decision-making, communication, and emotional resilience during and after a hostage situation.
Pre-incident strategies to assist negotiators in preparing for specific situations and psychological conditions are taught, along with an overview of the multifaceted potential sources of stress, conflict and trauma. Post-incident stress and trauma management are examined, along with the most effect methods for debriefing and stabilization.
In Dr. McDougall’s discussions with agencies from around the country, he often hears of staffing shortages and the difficulties in hiring law enforcement personnel. This 2 to 4 hour seminar focuses on pre-employment psychological examinations and how agencies can best utilize this process. Dr. McDougall discusses what constitutes a “qualified” evaluator, which goes beyond licensure and academic degrees. Participants also learn about the key components of a pre-employment evaluation and what should be mandatory in all evaluations. The strengths and limitations of psychometric instruments used in the evaluations are examined, as well as how to best apply the recommendations of the evaluator. Special attention is given to pre-existing conditions the challenges associated with screening millennials and the “new generation” of applicants.