Miller, A. (2018). Pros
& cons of an employee assistance program. Retrieved from http
Retrieved from http://policelink.monster.com/training/articles/2319-why-in-house-police-
Brown, H. (2018). Why in-house
police stress and corrections stress counselors need to be independent.
Anderson, B. (2014). Confidentiality
in counseling: What police officers need to know. Retrieved from
Management needs to understand that when they develop an
in-house police stress or corrections stress program, they have to except the
good, the bad, and the ugly. They need to employ or assign individuals who not
only have the ability to offer the peer counseling and stress examination, but
who are willing and able support their clients against management when applicable.
And they must develop creative reassurances within the job descriptions and
personnel policies to assure confidentiality between peer counselors and
in-house police therapists and the employees they counsel. This entails a deviation
from the quasi-military structure in law enforcement, where rank is all.
When entering into an in-house counseling relationship for
help with a stress induced problem, the client needs to have a clear
understanding of the purpose of the therapy, and what role the therapist is
going to take should there be punitive or legal consequences (Brown, 2018).
There should be no questions as to the primary duty of in-house counselors.
They must adhere to their own professional and personal codes of ethics when it
comes to confidentiality. They cannot put themselves in a position where their
superiors can order them to disclose private information. Nor can they be in a
position where their jobs or progression may be negotiated if they take a stand
of behalf of an employee regardless to what management sees as being in their
Counseling is designed to remediate symptoms, to improve
well-being, to return an individual to their former state of functioning. Preferably
it is not to act as a supporter of the employees against employers who may have
ill-treated them, although in reality therapists often do, and should, become supporters
of their clients. Support may become a less important part of the relationship,
but isn’t the same as therapy.
One obstacle that inhibits officers from seeking counseling
is the perception that the information they share is not confidential (Miller, 2017).
These concerns are binding because in some cases, the information is in fact
not private at all Such services such as employee assistance programs (EAP)
services are technically supposed to be private, but this isn’t always the
case. While most of these services are located off-site, some EAPs are located
“in-house.” So, if an officer walks into the EAP office for a
voluntary counseling session — and they don’t want their coworkers to know
about it — but someone sees the officer going into the office, then there’s nothing
stopping the officer’s privacy being spread throughout the department. Equally,
these outside professionals are often “friendly” with managers and other staff
in an organization. Although the professional code of conduct requires
confidentiality at all times, there’s little to avert
“off-the-record” small talk between these professionals from
discussing certain cases behind closed doors. Although, there can be legal ramifications
for breaking confidentiality laws without an officer’s written consent.
Because the quality of policing has changed so radically in
the past 10 years, many departments have begun to provide psychological
services for officers and their families either as an in-house unit or as an outside
arrangement with a private therapist who does not work for department.
Police work is extremely stressful and is one of limited occupations
where one frequently faces the effects of death, violence, accidents and severe
personal injury. A police officer’s several years of service wreaks havoc on
them personally and professionally. No man or woman, regardless of health, training,
or familiarization, is insusceptible to the long-term effects of collective stress
or sudden acute incidents. One police veteran with 17 years of service stated,
“Policing is a combination of mind-numbing boredom and mind-blowing terror”