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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 ·  985 ratings  ·  112 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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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 all made
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.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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. ...more
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. ...more
C. 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: nonfiction, research
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
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. ...more
Heidi Williams
Mar 08, 2021 rated it liked it
Informative and confronting at times. A few paragraphs that make a lot of sense and are very relatable. A few simple strategies at the end for surviving law enforcement. Not enough of a focus on strategies in my opinion, the book wasn’t as constructive as I would have hoped. At the end of the day, someone has to do the job, and it’s not an easy one. So there’s no easy answer on how to survive it and have a good work/life balance. I think it comes down to the individual and their personality, mos ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kevin M. Gilmartin , Ph. D. has written an easy to read book about understanding the behavior of police officers who come home and do not feel like engaging with anyone or any activity. Readers gain understanding of the destructive hypervigilance cycle. Most of the book contains chapters on defining hypervigilance and the different damages it causes to the police officer’s personal life.

I feel like this book could have been boiled down to a bulleted pamphlet:

Police officers need to take active
Kristy G
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
I never read this kind of stuff, but I loved this easy-to-follow guide on how to train yourself to be an emotional survivor. The author talks a lot about hyper-vigilance and the long term affects it has on law enforcement personnel. It can be applied to military and first responders and several other careers which have the person in a state of hyper-awareness for hours on end, leaving them with nothing in the tank when it’s time to step out of their role and be a father, a friend, a spouse etc. ...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 agency's administrativ
Eddie Black
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you work in the military or police department, read this book. Simple as that.

I've been espousing this stuff for years. Traveling around the state giving talks to police about CIT for veterans, and I've snuck in a lot about taking care of themselves (I am a resilience minded guy after all). When I read this book, it was like someone took all of my meandering, ramblings, and succinctly made the arguments with better analogies, backed with research, and put into a small book.

I saw the author p
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
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
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
Melissa Hoffer
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked the idea it was presenting, that we are NOT our careers and we need to control how much of our personal life is effected by the job by separating the two. Also, that we are more than officers- we are also moms, sisters, wives, etc.

There are eight chapters in this book. Seven describe what it is to let the job take over and how officers victimize, while one chapter discusses how to be a “survivor.” I wish there had been more info on the latter. It’s a great starter for anyone who wants t
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.
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.
Christopher Cagle
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Liked this book in its simplicities but if you are looking for deep psychology this isn’t the book for you. My only disagreement is proactive vs. reactive mindsets - Dr. Gilmartin claims all cops work primarily reactively and at home are more proactive. This left me scratching my head. At work I am proactive - there are little to no calls for service. I can easily be reactive at home and struggle to be proactive there. Other than this, good book. Glad I finally took the ti
E to read 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.
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.
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.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book would have been useful 30 years ago when I found myself the wife of an emergency service worker. But now, 30 years later I find myself the mother of a graduating Protective Services Officer whose son brought this book home for me to read. I’m hopeful that this next generation will be armed with the emotional survivor skills the author explains in the book.
Oct 17, 2020 added it
As a wife of a LEO, I found this book extremely helpful and full of insight. Sometimes in this life, you can feel alone, and like no one fully understands your family dynamic or lifestyle, and I felt seen and understood when I read this. Was recommended to me during "spouse orientation" years ago when he first started, and I had a feeling I would benefit from it. Definitely a great resource. ...more
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!
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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

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