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Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families
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Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  768 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Dr. Gilmartin is a behavioral scientist who specializes in issues related to law enforcement. With twenty years of police experience under his belt, he currently provides service to the law enforcement community as a consultant. In writing this book, it was his goal to aid officers and their families in maintaining and/or improving their quality of life both personally and ...more
Unknown Binding, 142 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by E-S Press
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  768 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Rachel Nielsen
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is recommended reading to my husband's police force and their spouses.
Very interesting read. It talked a lot about something called hypervigilance. Basically when officers are on duty their senses are extremely alert for any possible danger. As a result, when they are off duty their senses are dulled and that can cause problems in their relationships.
It also talks about officers making their career their identity, which also causes problems.

It was all very interesting and it al
Ashley Turley
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a helpful little book, but the issue that I have with it is that it assumes a certain stereotype that all cops fit into. The stereotype is helpful for illustrative purposes at times, but it oversimplifies the human psyche.
Donna Brown
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book isn't just for those working in law enforcement but for anyone that has a family member or friend that is. It's a difficult career and few understand the emotional toll it takes. It should be given to all new police recruits and their families.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting concept to be aware of. The last few pages are the meat and potatoes of how to help your self. Has several dire examples of why you should be aware of the "roller coaster" and victim behavior in the hopes you will avoid such and have a better life.
Curtis R Hamilton
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Those in law enforcement will draw parallels with what they have experience in their careers. There will be the familiarity and the "I've seen that" or "that happened to me." The law enforcement reader can match experiences and learn from a single reading of this book. The real payoff is when the book is shared with the officer's spouse. The spouse will certainly recognize the conditions described in the book, but is often in the dark as to the how and why of their origins. This book is not sole ...more
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
I suffered all the way through this (thankfully short) book because my husband is in the academy. By the end you’ll be sick of the following words: asshole, magic chair, usta, and hypervigilance rollercoaster. Despite the title of the book, only one of the eight chapters is dedicated to emotional survival, and most of the advice could be summed up in a pamphlet. The main message would apply to any job: it’s a career and you should do a good job, but don’t make it your life.
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants an inside look at a law enforcement family and those whore are in Law enforcement.
Recommended to Shayne by: Uncle Tony
I felt that this book it the nail on the head. As a wife I have heard and experienced most of what the author has said or explained in the book. My husband also agrees with the author and has started to take action in his life in order to "come out alive".

A must read for all emergency responders not only police families.
Suzie Quint
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: research, nonfiction
A very interesting look at the emotional cost of being a cop. It specifically addresses the emotional survival that will help cops maintain their lives outside of their jobs. I read it as character research and found it worthwhile on that level but also fascinating on a personal level. I think anyone in a high stress work environment could benefit from this.
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help, work
Fantastic book. I would encourage every law enforcement officer (our even any one that works in that world - dispatchers, csi, support staff) and everyone who loves someone in that world to at least read the last four pages of this book. Such good advice.
Robert Collette
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would recommend this if you or someone in your family is employed in law enforcement. Though it's written with police officers in mind, it does translate well to correctional officers also.
Thomas Hayes
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While going through the hiring process of becoming a deputy in a nearby Sheriff’s Office, I was looking for books that would give me a glimpse into what a career in law enforcement might look like. Kevin Gilmartin’s book Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement stood out to me as a potential interesting read and was recommended by a psychologist I sat down with for the deputy job I applied for. The most beneficial aspect the book brought to me is the awareness that it’s very easy for officers to ...more
Jim Potter
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Understanding Your Job, Understanding Yourself
As a deputy sheriff I studied Dr. Kevin Gilmartin's insightful book. The picture he paints is accurate and the advice he gives is life-saving.
Gilmartin gives new meaning to the term "burnout." He explains that an officer's hypervigilance on-duty is a necessary survival skill, but ignoring off-duty behavior can destroy one's family, career, and life.
When dedicated, exemplary officers become angry, bitter victims, blaming the agen
Rom Elwell
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must-read for law enforcement officers and their inner circle of family and friends. Gilmartin does a thorough job explaining the why's and how's of the hypervigilance rollercoaster officers (and their families) inevitably go through. The science behind this cycle (sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic system) are also briefly described by Gilmartin. His advice on spotting triggers and how to address them is easily grasped. In summary, this short read provides the ...more
J. Danielle Wingler
This was a recommended read by an admin in a police department and it clearly lays out the emotional pitfalls that law enforcement face. Honestly the concepts could be applied to anyone working a stressful job but the case studies are focused on law enforcement situations.

I will keep what I learned from this book in mind and feel better prepared to prevent burnout and other issues later down the road.

I highly recommend this book. For officers and their family and friends that interact with the
John Galt
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you are a law enforcement officer, or the family member of one. You need to purchase two copies! One for you and your family to sit down and read together and the other to give to a family that has not read it and has a law enforcement officer in that family. This book will save you so much pain and conflict further on in your life so you need to read it right now! It has a lot of insight into things that just sort of develop and happen over time and will really help ensure you and your famil ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read for law enforcement officers or those whose loved ones are in law enforcement. It helps you to have a better understanding of not only their jobs, but the emotional and mental challenges they face on and off-duty. It’s very relatable and easy to read. It’s highly recommended by senior law enforcement officials, who have also stated this should be required reading in the academy. You’ll take away valuable information from this book.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Probably like many others who have read this book, I had the pleasure of attending presentation by the author on the subject matter of this book. It’s a lot easier to digest the information in person, but the book does a good enough job. The information and advice is useful to all walks of life with a demanding career and a personal life to balance. Exercise is a good thing for everyone. A variety of personal interests likewise. Commitment to loved ones definitely.
Teagan Prentice
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Super insightful. I come from a family full of police and am somewhat involved in this life myself. A few points hit close to home and triggered a bit of a rethink of the way I do things. It definitely made me evaluate the lives and behaviours of ex and current serving members. I actually really enjoyed it.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Gilmartin provides common sense guidance for the Law Enforcement professionals, and their families, who somehow went astray from the things that matter most; quality of life living, emotional and physical health. Dont be fooled by the title. this is not a touchy, feely, cry on the couch to your psychologist type book. I highly recommend this easy read.
Garrett Steele
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anyone in law enforcement, or families of NEEDS to read this book. It should be a mandatory read for anyone who’s just starting or has been doing it for 20+ years. The book was given to me as part of my swearing in ceremony for my department. PLEASE JUST READ THE BOOK, it won’t hurt but might make all the dire wrench.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you’re in law enforcement or related to someone who is, you need to read this book. The core concept of the emotional roller coaster will change your outlook on the job and your life and help you restore a little sanity to both. Highly recommended!
Janelle Petit
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is insightful. It allows you to understand the inner workings of a struggling Law Enforcement Officer. However, you can also apply a lot of Chapter 7 and 8 to all professions & walks of life. This book gave me a while new perspective. Definitely recommend.
Misty Kirn
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Terrific book! And even though I’ve been married to an officer for almost 20 years and we are emotional survivors in my view, there was still a lot I learned from this book...especially understanding the hyper vigilance rollercoaster. Thank you, thank you for writing this book!!
This is a helpful book for a very specific audience. The challenges of law enforcement personal and their families are huge and often difficult to balance. It was helpful to me in some professional interactions.
Bill Cooper
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Insight into the issues facing law enforcement officers
Lauren Gulisane
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and found it to be extremely helpful in understanding my husband and his career. You can read my full review of this book here:
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good read for family of LE and for officers themselves. Gives a good overview of organizations and how to deal with the internal issues.
Gina Meehan
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book provided some much needed insight into the challenges that cops face on a regular basis. It gave useful strategies to combat the lows that follow the highs of police work.
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Dr. Kevin Gilmartin spent 20 years as a police officer and during his tenure supervised the Behavioral Sciences Unit and the Hostage Negotiations Team. Dr. Gilmartin holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona and has had his works published by the US Department of Justice and the FBI. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Dr. Gilmartin is a guest instructor at the