First Responders: Do You Know the Difference Between Trauma and Tragedy?

Resource Type: Article

Psychologist Ellen Kirschman is the author of I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know, I Love a FireFighter: What the Family Needs to Know, Counseling Cops: What Clinicians Need to Know and the Dot Meyerhoff mystery series. Sign up for her newsletter at

  • Knowing the difference between trauma and tragedy can strengthen a first responder emotionally and minimize the effect of trauma.
  • Maturing as a first responder requires accepting your limitations and knowing what you can and can’t control about the world.
  • Gratitude may help first responders offset a steady diet of exposure to cruelty and trauma.

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Kirschman, E. (2022, December 6). First Responders: Do you know the difference between trauma and tragedy? Ellen Kirschman. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from


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