IF YOU ARE SUFFERING A BEHAVIORAL HEALTH COUNSELING EMERGENCY PLEASE CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY
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IF YOU ARE SUFFERING A BEHAVIORAL HEALTH COUNSELING EMERGENCY PLEASE CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY
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Welcome Debra Unger MA, First Responder Trauma Counselors' Regional Administrator.
Debra has over 15 years of experience providing mental and behavioral health support to clients of all ages in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings in northern Colorado. Additionally, she has provided executive administrative support in various industries in both the public and private sectors.
Although Debra has not worked as a first responder herself, she has tremendous respect and appreciation for the critical work emergency service providers perform. Her personal family history and early experience of loss have given her deep insight into the enduring effect of trauma and its impact on one’s quality of life and relationships. Debra understands the importance and efficacy of peer support, and is deeply committed to FRTC’s mission to provide specialized mental and behavioral health support and counseling to all First Responders and their families in need. Debra is a 2022 FRTC National Peer Support Academy graduate.
Debra received her Master of Arts in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University, and her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and anthropology from the University of Virginia. In her spare time, Debra enjoys swimming, hiking, biking, gardening, knitting and traveling abroad. First Responder Trauma Counselors is excited to add Debra as another “culturally aware” member of the tribe.
Welcome Jarah Grashorn MSW, LCSW, First Responder Trauma Counselors' Directing Clinical Supervisor.
It isn't any wonder that Jarah has developed into an industry leader in Crisis and Trauma counseling for both individuals and families. Jarah began her career in emergency departments for two large hospital systems in northern Colorado. However, the true desire to serve the First Responder/family population runs much more deeply and personally.
Jarah grew up around the First Response community as the daughter of a law enforcement officer and sister of a combat veteran. Visits to her grandmother brought additional tales of emergency services. Her grandmother was a 911 operator and was involved in the Fire Service, and marrying a law enforcement officer ultimately set her path. The pride of assisting others and seeing firsthand the emotional toll emergency service took on her loved ones, their families, and her coworkers opened the doors of empathy and care and helped Jarah create her own slant of mitigating trauma in others. Seeing First Responders in the emergency room, meeting with patients, and witnessing the toll the calls were taking on them deepened her commitment to serving the behavioral health needs of First Responder communities.
Jarah has been successfully serving the behavioral health needs of others since 1997. With her unique history and skill set in the emergency services, First Responder Trauma Counselors is proud to add Jarah as another culturally competent, EMDR and FRTC National Peer Support Academy trained therapist.
Welcome Karen Nicholson LPC, FACHE, FACMPE, First Responder Trauma Counselors' Medical & Behavioral Health Logistics Director.
While her medical center experience is diverse, including stand-alone, community owned facilities, as well as large multi-facility organizations, Karen has always worked within integrated delivery systems.
Karen has been a part of the Weld/Larimer Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT), first joining the steering committee in 2004. She has been a CIT trainer since the establishment of the first Weld/Larimer class, a coalition which later expanded to include Boulder County. She became a mental health consultant for the Larimer County Regional SWAT Team in 2013, completing the FBI Negotiations Course in September of that year. Karen also responds to crisis negotiation calls in Boulder County through the Longs Peak Crisis Negotiators.
Karen has instructed on identifying and de-escalating psychiatric crises for Colorado State University law enforcement personnel, as well as for the Ranger Excellence School. She has studied forensic psychology under Roy Hazelwood, Reid Meloy, Kris Mohandie, Phillip Resnick and John Douglas.
We are excited to have Karen join our team of culturally competent clinicians serving our First Responders and their families, as well as interfacing with medical/behavioral health clinicians, facilities (inpatient and outpatient) and various departments to coordinate the logistics of their specific care needs.
Welcome Jason Roberts LPCC, First Responder Trauma Counselors' Regional Peer Support Team Supervisor and 911 Touchpoint Program Coordinator.
Jason has worked in the emergency services field for 28 years as a firefighter/paramedic. He realizes how little attention has been paid to the mental health of First Responders, the professionals who regularly respond to traumatic scenes for investigation, and the hospital staff who fight to save lives daily. He is currently working to change the perceptions of mental health and reduce the stigma among this population.
Jason received his master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Colorado Christian University and is credentialed by the National Board of Certified Counselors. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Crown College (MN).
Jason’s areas of concentration are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. He is EMDR trained, an Addiction Specialist, and he enjoys working with couples. He can integrate Christian principles into his client’s journey, and he meets the non-Christian where they are at on their path, as well. He welcomes diversity and does not discriminate based on religion, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Jason is a graduate of FRTC's 40-Hour National Peer Support Academy and is excited to be an integral part of FRTC, by providing guidance through education for the empowerment of First Responders.
Welcome Jovanna Brunner MPH, First Responder Trauma Counselors' Grants & Quality Assurance Manager.
Jovanna is a Colorado native who has had a passion for prevention from a young age. This passion first emerged through interest in nutrition and exercise and Jovanna slowly began to build her expertise as a fitness instructor, holding certifications in yoga, barre, aquatics, and personal training. Jovanna received her Master's of Public Health, with a concentration in Community Health Education, from the Colorado School of Public Health. Having been raised in a First Responder family - she's the daughter of a firefighter and has several other first responders within her immediate family - Jovanna has a heart to understand and serve the needs of the First Responder community.
Jovanna loves to connect with people and considers herself a down-to-earth, approachable person. In her role of quality assurance, she is excited to connect with and reach out to our agencies to learn the needs of our first responder community and share with them the resources they have at their fingertips through FRTC.
Jovanna is a wife and a mom of two. Outside of work you can find her spending time with family out in the sun, crocheting, reading, in the kitchen, or trying to fake it as a modern homesteader. First Responder Trauma Counselors is proud to provide all of our member agencies with this extremely “culturally aware” professional.
Welcome Spencer Rice, First Responder Trauma Counselors’ Operations Services Technician.
Spencer Rice comes to First Responder Trauma Counselors with over 20 years of experience as a First Responder. Spencer’s enjoyment of emergency services started at a young age while growing up in Durango, Colorado. Due to the topography of the town and their home’s location on a bluff west of town, any time there was a call they could hear the sirens, run to the edge of their lot and watch the emergency vehicles respond. They were also directly in the flight path for the MedEvac helicopters coming from New Mexico to the local hospital.
Spring forward to 2001. While attending CSU, Spencer became a volunteer for a large northern Colorado fire department. The rest is history. Spencer has been employed by both third party and county paramedic services, and has worked as a firefighter for two larger departments. As a firefighter, Spencer has risen through the ranks, eventually attaining the rank of Battalion Chief. Right about this time, Spencer was diagnosed with PTSD(I) and other diagnoses. This makes Spencer one of the more unique members of the FRTC tribe in that, as a First Responder, he has gone down that dark path, to include a 50-day stay at a First Responder-focused facility.
Through tremendous support from his family, First Responder Trauma Counselors, and close friends, Spencer returned to form and is once again working the streets as a Captain.
Spencer’s family includes his amazing wife, Pam, who is approaching her 30th year in emergency services, his daughter, Devon, and son, Griffin. Oh, and their house cow (large dog) named Steve.
Spencer is FRTC National Peer Support Academy trained and looks forward to working behind the scenes and assisting with FRTC’s member agencies.
Don Patterson has over 20 years of experience in Communications, IT and Security. As a Communications/Security Engineer he has supported multiple government agencies and corporate level communications and secure network environments. 14 years of his communications/security career were devoted as the Founder and CEO of Simply Networking, Inc. His company was responsible for the communications and security needs for over 150 clients nationwide. Recently he managed and maintained the cellular broadband deployable network for the 2020 Cameron Peak Wildland Fire, Colorado’s largest wildland fire. Don has given communications presentations to FEMA (Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Work Groups). As well as FirstNet Authority and the Colorado Public Safety Communications Sub Committee for which he is also a member.
Don has also been a member of the fire service for over 18 years. He has earned qualifications and experience in over 30 active certifications spanning Structural Fire, Wildland, Special Operations Team disciplines, Fire Investigations and First Responder Peer Support. During that time, he has served as a Lieutenant and Dive Rescue Team Coordinator/Instructor for a Colorado Mountain Town Fire Agency, as well as multiple wildland incidents in Northern Colorado and across the nation.
Don is currently a Firefighter with a Northern Colorado Front Range Fire Agency, as such, he is a member of the Wildland Team, SOT, Fire Investigator, Peer Support Member, Communications Specialist and Dive Rescue Team Coordinator. In his spare time, he is a Fire Science Instructor at Aims Community College where he teaches multiple classes in their Fire Science Programs.
Don is a valued member of First Responder Trauma Counselors as a graduate of the National Peer Support Academy and assists FRTC OPS Staff, in developing systems wide, IT based, security protocols for our ARMOR Alert systems and interfaces with our medical/behavioral health deployment teams. Also creating secure integration pathways with FRTC’s Member Regional Support Teams; encrypted communication systems.
At the Law Offices of Behler, Weesner & McElroy LLC, the team of attorneys work collaboratively and compassionately to achieve the best possible outcomes for their clients.
As former Criminal Justice Prosecutors with combined experience of over 24 years, they have not only worked with numerous First Responders, as well as family members and close friends who are First Responders, they have a deep and clear understanding of the emotional toll the First Response career takes on all who serve. They clearly understand and empathize with their clients, because they have experienced those same feelings themselves in prosecuting cases. They offer "Cultural Competency", when working with this population group.
They are excited to work with First Responder Trauma Counselors and look forward to helping individuals and families confronted with issues related to family law, estate planning, business and civil law, as well as criminal defense.
First Responder Trauma Counselors
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Our next Peer Support Academy is September 18-22, 2023 proudly hosted by Berthoud Fire Protection District and is Colorado P.O.S.T. approved.