Have Couch, Will Travel: A blog about psychology and law enforcement

An open letter to police families

December 3, 2016

Tags: troubled times, war on police, police assassinations

I've been counseling police officers and their families for thirty years, through good times and bad. This letter, adapted from the forthcoming second edition of I Love a Cop and the ideas offered is my way to say thank you to police families everywhere. Feel free to share.

These are troubled times for police officers and their families. There's an almost endless stream of bad press about law enforcement along with the unthinkable assassinations of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, numerous anti-police protests, lethal mass shootings, and the increased threat of terrorism. Dash cams, body cameras and cell phone cameras have charged the atmosphere and changed the way officers work. In light of all that is happening, the job looks more dangerous and appears more brutal than ever. You are not helpless. Here are some things you can do. (more…)

The Majestic Ballroom or how I got my start in police psychology

March 2, 2016

Tags: Dance hall, dance hall hostess, dime-a-dance

I am a police psychologist and the author of three non-fiction books and two mysteries featuring my fictional counterpart, police psychologist, Dr. Dot Meyerhoff. I'm often asked how I got started in police psychology. The answer is far from simple.

I grew up in the 1950ís when my job prospects were limited to teaching (more…)

A Cop's Christmas Eve Poem

December 24, 2013

Tags: Cops, police, Christmas

I'm a regular grinch. I rarely send Christmas cards and I certainly don't send smarmy Christmas poems. But this guy is so appealing and has such a way with words that I couldn't resist. Happy holidays and a safe, peaceful and healthy New Year to all.


Surviving Christmas Grief

December 19, 2013

Tags: suicide, holidays, grieving

Holidays are the hardest for anyone grieving the loss of a loved one. Doesn't make any difference how they died, illness, murder, suicide, or old age, the pain of their absence seems sharper at this time of year. Diane Kratz's terrific blog, profiles of murder.com, is a must read this month. Her guest is Dr. Debra Holland, author of Grief and Grieving. Diane's blog is very personal as are the nearly 80 comments from readers. Dr. Holland's advice is sound and you'll also find an extensive list of resources. Don't suffer alone or in silence. Go to: http://profilesofmurder.com/2013/12/18/surviving-christmas-grief.

Adventures on the book trail: meeting a budding author

November 4, 2013

Tags: children who write

I was doing a meet-and-greet front-of-the-store event for Barnes and Noble in Philadelphia. Just me and an enormous, somber-faced bouncer. (Who knew bookstores needed bouncers?) The weather outside was chilly with episodic splatters of wind and rain, making the bookstore an appealing refuge. "Like mysteries?" I crooned to the steady stream of shoppers, sounding (more…)

Police suicide

October 11, 2013

When I give readings of my mystery Burying Ben audiences give an audible gasp when I tell them that the leading cause of death for cops is suicide. That's the bad news. The good news is that things are finally changing. No longer is the issue of police suicide being swept under the rug. It's taken too long, but now this is a subject that can be talked about without shame. And that's the only way to make it better.

Want to know more? Click on this link to a short video interview between law enforcement trainers Duane Wolfe and Dave Smith aka Buck Savage (http://www.policeone.com/videos/originals/product/6500976-The-day-I-put-a-gun-to-my-head/?source=newsletter&nlid=6510069). To read the original article Duane wrote in 2012 titled "The Day I Put A Gun To My Head" go to (http://www.policeone.com/health-fitness/articles/6051104-The-day-I-put-a-gun-to-my-head/).

police suicide

September 25, 2013

Tags: police suicide, links to program "Preventing Police Suicide"

Two Oakland officers have killed themselves in less than two months bringing the total of suicides to four in less than five years - the same number as those killed in the line of duty. While there is controversy about the rate of police suicide as compared to the general population, the most poignant statistic is that cops are two to three times as likely to kill themselves as they are to be killed in the line of duty.

Police suicide is at the heart of my first novel, Burying Ben and the subject of chapters in my non-fiction books, Counseling Cops and I Love a Cop . Police work is sometimes called "the impossible profession" where one sin is worth a thousand good deeds. Cops see things most of us will never see and do things most of us could never do.

What can you do? Try smiling at the next officer you see and thanking him or her for their service. Click on the link below to hear three experts talk about preventing police suicides. Brian Cahill, father of an officer who took his own life, Lt. Mary Dunnigan of the SFPD Behavior Science Unit, and Dr. John Violanti, distinguished researcher, professor and author or numerous books on police suicide.

Suicide - it affects us all

September 16, 2013

Tags: suicide, suicide prevention, suicide prevention campaign

Thanks to the 7855 readers who downloaded a free Kindle version of Burying Ben during our 5 day campaign. Each download represents a donation to the American Association of Suicidology. Suicide affects us all, sometimes for generations to come. It ranks 10th as a cause of adult death in the U.S. and 3rd for young people. Homicide ranks 16th. Police suicide, which is the theme of Burying Ben, out ranks line-of-duty deaths by two to one. Some estimates place it even higher. Visit www.suicidology.org or www.badgeoflife.org to learn more about the scope of the problem, what you can do to help and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of someone who might be contemplating suicide.

National Suicide Prevention Week

September 3, 2013

Tags: suicide prevention, police suicide

Good News: BURYING BEN, my new mystery, will be available as a free Kindle download during National Suicide Prevention Week. If you donít own a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle reader to your laptop or tablet. For every free download my publisher, Aakenbaaken & Kent, will make a donation to the American Association of Suicidology. The more downloads, the larger the donation. The free download period begins next Saturday, September 7 and ends Wednesday, September 11.

Why do we love to read mysteries? Why do I love to write them?

August 26, 2013

Tags: reading mysteries, writing mysteries, Sherlock Holmes

I love this quote from a character in The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. He is trying to describe why he loves Holmes and mysteries.

"I think I love the idea that problems have solutions. I think that's the appeal of mystery stories, whether they're Holmes or someone else. In those stories we live in an understandable world. We live in a place where every problem has a solution, and if we were only smart enough, we could figure them out....As opposed to a world that's random. Where violence and death are happenstance-unpreventable and unstoppable.