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HomeFarming News‘First responders are the action heroes of our time but they are...
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘First responders are the action heroes of our time but they are not invincible’

The recently published How Heroes Heal details the stories of first responders and the journey from post-traumatic stress injury to post-traumatic growth.

Marilyn J. Wooley, PhD shares true stories of psychologically injured first responders and their transformation from wounded warriors to victorious heroes.

In the award-winning book, she outlines how “first responders are the action heroes of our time as they rush to provide life-saving medical support, no matter how gruesome the crime scene and run into burning buildings, but they are not invincible”.

She also reveals that close to 30% of first responders will develop PTSD, and many will experience increased suicidality and other psychiatric conditions.

Author’s comments

Psychologist and traumatologist, Marilyn J. Wooley, who authored the book, which has scooped first place in the 2022 Public Safety Writers Association nonfiction category, commented:

“And far too many struggle in silence, asking themselves, “am I normal for having these feelings?” and “will I ever get better?”

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“Fortunately, the answer to these questions is a resounding yes. Yes, these feelings are normal, and yes, returning to normal is very possible.”

Wooley specializes in working with first responders and treating posttraumatic stress injuries.

In this book, Wooley outlines what happens in the body and mind during a critical incident that makes it both normal and natural to experience difficult thoughts and feelings.

Between the scientifically based explanations and moving, inspirational and sometimes humorous stories, she says that readers discover how to:

  • Re-establish self-confidence;
  • Control emotional responses to triggers;
  • Rediscover passion for work;
  • Develop a positive sense of purpose in daily life;
  • Assemble a positive support network;
  • Overcome addictions, isolation, anger, depression and anxiety.

She concluded: “First responders are not alone. How Heroes Heal offers a pathway toward recovery and growth, helping them get to the other side of trauma, learning how to function better than before, so that they not only survive but thrive.”

About the author

She has more than 40 years of experience in the field of psychology.

Also, she teaches Critical Incident Stress Management and is often called upon by municipalities for forensic and pre-employment psychological evaluation services for prospective employees.

She is an expert witness in several areas related to trauma.

Wooley completed her PhD in 1977 from the University of Arizona and performed her postdoctoral training at the Long Beach Veterans Medical Center, treating veterans injured and traumatized during the Vietnam War.

She moved to rural Northern California in 1979 and opened her psychology practice.

Along the way, she worked with the American Red Cross to help victims of 9/11 and served as a clinician for the West Coast Post-trauma Retreat.

Previous article on ‘no one is immune to stress, anxiety, depression, and grief’

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