Psychotherapy with Suzanne Bergmann LCSW

Therapy for Veterans, First Responders and Frontline Healthcare Workers

What to Expect in Psychotherapy as a Veteran, First Responder, and Frontline Healthcare Worker

As a psychotherapist, I have had the privilege of working with veterans, first responders, and frontline healthcare workers, witnessing their unique struggles and immense resilience. These extraordinary individuals face extraordinary challenges due to their service and exposure to traumatic events. Your days may be full of surprise and the unexpected which is why ensure my clients understand what to expect from therapy and have a choice of direction every step of the way.  Below I will shed light on what to expect from psychotherapy services tailored to the needs of these populations, along with the treatment approaches that have proven effective.

Veterans, First Responders, and Frontline Healthcare Workers tend to have similar unique needs due to the following:

  1. Traumatic Experiences: The experiences these individuals encounter in their line of duty are often traumatic, leaving lasting emotional scars. From the battlefield to the emergency room, the exposure to life-threatening situations can lead to conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and moral injury (1).
  2. Occupational Stress and Burnout: The demanding nature of their professions can result in chronic stress and burnout. The emotional toll of caring for others or facing life-and-death situations can impact their mental health and overall well-being (2).
  3. Stigma Surrounding Mental Health: Unfortunately, many individuals in these roles may face societal stigma and internalized pressure, making it challenging to seek help for mental health concerns. Addressing this stigma is a crucial aspect of providing effective support (3).

Treatment Approaches for Veterans, First Responders, and Frontline Healthcare Workers

  1. Trauma-Focused Therapies: For individuals dealing with trauma, trauma-focused therapies like Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Exposure, Relaxation, Rescripting Therapy for Post-Trauma nightmares (ERRT or CBT-N), and Skills Training for Affective and Interpersonal Regulation have shown significant effectiveness in reducing PTSD symptoms and promoting healing (4).
  2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used therapeutic approach that helps individuals identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors. It has proven effective in addressing anxiety, depression, and stress-related issues commonly experienced by these populations (5).
  3. Supportive Groups : Group therapy can be invaluable for veterans, first responders, and frontline healthcare workers. Sharing experiences with others who have undergone similar challenges can foster a sense of camaraderie and reduce feelings of isolation (6).
  4. Mindfulness-Based Interventions: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help these individuals manage stress, enhance emotional regulation, and improve overall well-being (7).
  5. Culturally Competent Therapy: Understanding the unique experiences and cultural backgrounds of veterans, first responders, and healthcare workers is essential for providing effective and sensitive care (8).

What to Expect from Psychotherapy Services with me

  1. In the initial sessions, I conduct a thorough assessment of my clients’ mental health, trauma history, and current challenges. This evaluation helps tailor the treatment approach to meet their specific needs.
  2. I prioritize the comfort of my clients.  I continue to strive to establish and maintain a safe and supportive environment.
  3. I view psychotherapy is a collaborative effort where clients and I work together to identify coping strategies and overcome challenges. I encourage open communication and active participation in the treatment process.
  4. I adhere to ethical guidelines to maintain confidentiality, ensuring that clients feel safe and comfortable sharing their experiences without fear of judgment or repercussions.


As a psychotherapist, I have the utmost respect and admiration for veterans, first responders, and frontline healthcare workers. I understand the unique challenges they face and the importance of providing tailored support and effective treatment. Through trauma-focused therapies, cognitive-behavioral approaches, and mindfulness interventions, I strive to empower these exceptional individuals on their journey towards healing and resilience. It is my commitment to create a space where they can express themselves freely, knowing that their experiences are understood and validated.


  1. Pietrzak, R. H., Johnson, D. C., Goldstein, M. B., Malley, J. C., & Southwick, S. M. (2009). Psychological resilience and postdeployment social support protect against traumatic stress and depressive symptoms in soldiers returning from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Depression and Anxiety, 26(8), 745-751.
  2. Voss Horrell, S. C., Holohan, D. R., Didion, L., & Vance, G. T. (2011). Occupational stress, social support, and burnout among correctional officers. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 36(3), 239-252.
  3. American Psychological Association. (2013). Guidelines for psychological practice with military personnel. American Psychologist, 68(1), 9-33.
  4. National Center for PTSD. (2021). Effectiveness of PTSD treatments for veterans. Retrieved from
  5. Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427-440.