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After explaining to the officers what they're doing to their bodies on a neurological level, Wimberger describes how creative visualization can help. "You can't rationalize away emotion," she says. "Meditation and creative visualization connect directly to the limbic brain and turn off its threat alert. Your brain can rewire itself. These techniques can be used for calming the limbic brain, dissipating adrenaline, relieving some physical issues, and for long-term sanity."
At this point, when Wimberger leads those in the room in their first guided meditation, most officers are more than willing to travel along. The four techniques she teaches are grounding, creating a neutral space, defining personal boundaries and what she calls the Gold Sun meditation. Grounding is familiar to many who practice meditation; it involves visualizing a cord from the body to the center of the earth. Wimberger has officers change the color of the cord, and sometimes the texture; after they've placed the cord in present time and created a switch to turn it on, she has them flip that switch. "If you don't see anything, pretend; it's just as effective," she tells them. "Your limbic brain doesn't know the difference."
Creating a neutral space is a visualization exercise in which participants establish a safe space inside their heads, free of judgment and constraints. (This was the exercise that Hastie felt was particularly helpful for her situation.) In the personal-boundaries meditation, Wimberger guides officers through an auric cleansing — but rather than use the word "aura," she instead describes a "personal bubble" that surrounds the officer, and walks him or her through the steps of ridding that bubble of external influences. The final meditation in the series, Gold Sun, involves a giant gold ball of light spilling good intentions into the meditator, through the crown of the head and filling up the entire auric field.
At the ILEETA conference, Wimberger walked the officers through two of these four techniques: grounding and Gold Sun. "When she started talking," Marx recalls, "all of the officers were like this." He slouches in his chair, arms crossed in front of his chest, brow furrowed, glowering. Then he sits up and beams. "But by the end? They were hooked." Wimberger warns those in her workshops that the release of stress might lead to some strange physical responses, including shaking hands or even falling asleep, and officers frequently move from closed-off, shut-down body language to peaceful smiles and languid movements once the exercise is over.
Graff followed Wimberger's slot at ILEETA. Wimberger had reached out to Graff, who'd worked for thirty years in intelligence and now holds various seminars on psi, his term for psychic ability or activity, via e-mail; she'd finally met him in person when he attended the Society for Scientific Research conference in Boulder in May 2010. They realized they had similar ideas and began collaborating.
"The more alert you are, the better you are at surviving, the better you are at avoiding difficulty," Graff told the ILEETA audience. "And starting from a simple level, the better off you are at figuring out situations that seem puzzling and not be confused by the obvious. This is sort of standard police work. Sometimes our logical mind can get us into difficulty and we assume things erroneously.
"Ultimately, it's really significant stuff to think about things from a more neutral perspective and get the biases out of the way," he continued. "It can be life-saving. Do I want to dash into this doorway or not? Is the individual going to shoot, or is that a false gun? It boils down to making your job easier and getting through your rational biases all the way to how you can actually survive in a fast-moving, life-threatening situation."
Most of the suggestions that Graff offered up for enhancing perception were sensible, suggestions like standing on a street corner and making an effort to identify the makes, models and license-plate numbers of the vehicles driving by as quickly as possible, or sketching objects from memory after staring at them for a short period of time. Although he only briefly touched on dreams, he's an expert in that area — lucid dreaming, in particular.
"It's possible to become conscious in a dream and experience the dream as if it were actually happening in real life," he explains. "And in this particular mode, you can then explore various gray avenues, or go back in time to review something you might have overlooked in your conscious awakening moment. Looking at it from the point of view of the police environment, you could go back and re-create a scene, and the lucid dream, in principle, would incorporate a lot of subliminal stuff, and then you'd have a better picture of what really went on and focus on the more pertinent stuff instead of the distractions."
Since ILEETA, the four collaborators have been working on their own projects — sometimes with one or two others, sometimes without — and discussing how they can do the workshop better next time. Their presentation was at the end of the conference and left little opportunity to counter contradictory material. "There was one presenter who was presenting the concept that there isn't a problem with police suicide and cops are really healthy," says Marx, adding how frustrating he found this. "I've accepted the fact that there are some discrepancies on the data, and the people who are collecting the data are collecting it unofficially. It's not like the FBI or Department of Justice is keeping data. I think all of us agree that the bottom line is not about stirring up controversy, it's about helping the police officers."
this has got to be one of the hardest jobs in the world,do you know how much death they see a year ? and are placed in other stressful situations.
Every people needs to de-stress themselves one way or another. Good thing there are a lot of de-stressing methods out there to do. Putting yourself into trance is good but it needs a lot of concentration, focus, and repetition.
For this stress relieving system to work, you will have to break the KKK behaviors handed down from the past....YES the DPD WAS the KKK iin the 20s and the 30s in Denver, along with the mayor and the Governor for the State.
It's ingrained; to relieve stress, just pick someone at random, beat the S#it out of them ( or even KILL them ) with no real consequences for your behavior, thanks to the union and the spineless REMFs sitting in the City & County building.
This has the added benefit of the DPD " showing who is the boss in Denver....BOY "
Just like they lynched the Ni....they still have that mentality today, only PC made EVERY CITIZEN a target for a beatdown.
The fact that the city has already shelled out a cool $MIL this year to settle police brutality claims, says much to prove what I have said is true...Checkout the SKINHEAD roster in the DPD....check out the 'roid ragers in the department....check out the deafening silence from the thin blue line...and the threats from the union if someone does try to break that line.
Yes, I'd say your work is cut out for you here in Denver.....
Unless you would rather deal with the " touchy feely " cops up in Boulder....
I'm so excited to get this topic out to the public. Police Stress is considered by some to be an epidemic--so any awareness we can bring to it is much appreciated. Don't hesitate to contact me with direct questions about my firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, they really do. With suicide rates off the charts, they need this type of training more than most.
Yes, I do. And I agree, it is one of the hardest jobs in the world. This is why I'm so committed to helping where I can. Thanks for your comment.
Feel free to reach me email@example.com
Yes, my work is cut out for me here in the city, and in many places all over the country. I have private clients who have crossed the thin blue line and it's very ugly. . .dangerous. . .deadly. It's why I do what I do. One step at a time!