First responders run towards danger when others run away.

You spend your days dealing with society’s problems all while being professional and polite. You know the drills and have been through the trainings and calls. You felt prepared to live this life. However, nothing could have prepared you for the suffering you see each day. You may have seen bodies mangled in car accidents, victims of violent crime, and drug overdoses.

It takes a mental toll.

You find yourself thinking about a particular event that feels seared in your mind. Sometimes you can’t turn your brain off. Some nights you can’t sleep. You might drink more alcohol than you intended to help you take the edge off. Sometimes you are quick to anger at home or at work and you aren’t sure why. You might feel mistrustful, cynical, or jaded. Furthermore, you aren’t sure if you have a healthy suspicion of others or are being paranoid.

You could not have anticipated how your job as a first responder job would change you.

There are times when you feel like you can’t talk to anybody. You don’t want your significant other to worry about you. You don’t want your co-workers to see you as weak. You don’t want to be labeled or be misunderstood. You act like everything is okay. Yet you know something has to change because it’s really exhausting and it’s affecting many aspects of your life.

The last thing you want to do is talk about your feelings.

I understand your hesitation. However, if you don’t get help, things could get worse. Luckily, there are healthy ways to deal with the stress of the job. There are people who have made it through similar experiences.

Therapy can help.


Therapy provides you with a space to talk about what’s going on with someone who gets it. Although Dr. Melanie Chinchilla is not a first responder, she worked in county jails and federal prisons. She consulted in crisis situations, responded to inmates with homicidal ideation, and managed suicidal prisoners with severe mental illness. Dr. Chinchilla trained with law enforcement agencies doing hostage negotiation drills and collaborated with correctional officers to ensure we all go home safely at the end of the day. In addition, she provided individual and group therapy to veterans who served in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan.  Dr. Chinchilla also provided inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment to military recruits and veterans at a Federal Veterans Health Center. Approach Therapy upholds the highest standard of privacy because we understand how important your career is and how mental health concerns may adversely affect your job.  We can help you find ways to reclaim your personal life so you don’t have to choose between your career and your family. Together we can discuss how to more effectively manage the demands of the job and your goals for your life. With in-person and teletherapy options for first responders in California, help is within reach.

Ready to get started?