New training for psychologists who work with the police

New training for psychologists who work with the police

Psychologists and other helping relationship professionals who intervene with police officers do not necessarily fully grasp the daily reality of police work, according to the director of research at ÉNPQ.

Starting next spring, the École nationale de police du Québec (ÉNPQ) will offer new training for all professionals in the helping relationship, including psychologists, who work with police officers. .

Another aspect of the project will concern the development of a national network of peer helpers, to whom the police can turn in case of need.

“Both initiatives stem from the same need: to improve the support police officers receive in organizations related to psychological health issues. »

— Marc Desaulniers, Director of Research, Expertise and Pedagogy at ÉNPQ

Mr. Desaulniers also points out that these issues have been well documented in the scientific literature for fifteen years.

The project has funding of $1,275,481 granted by the Quebec Ministry of Public Security for the period 2022-2025. The lion's share of this amount, more than $410,000, will be released for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

Psychologists and other relationship professionals x27; aides who intervene with the police are very competent people, said Mr. Desaulniers, but they do not necessarily understand the daily reality of police work, which could represent an obstacle to dialogue and even lead some police officers to believe that it is futile to ask for help.

The National Police Academy of Quebec (ÉNPQ) is located in Nicolet, in the Centre-du-Québec region (archives).

These helping relationship professionals are usually available through employee assistance programs offered by the municipality to which the police force belongs. So, during the same day, they could be called upon to intervene with a road worker, a librarian and a police officer, illustrated Mr. Desaulniers.< /p>

The police tell us that they need a greater understanding of their issues, of their particular problems of psychological distress, he added.< /p>

The new training will go from generic to specific, explained Mr. Desaulniers. After having acquired a general understanding of the organization of the police, its components and its mechanisms, the participants will be able, for example, to be made aware of the blunting of the compassion that some police officers could feel by dint of ;being constantly in contact with crime and human distress.

Part of the training will be offered online and in the classroom. Participants may also be invited to go on patrol with the police officers with whom they may one day be called upon to intervene, in order to see their reality on the ground.

The peer helper component will try to ensure that all police officers who need it will be able to turn to a colleague who will be able to listen to them, understand them and direct them to the necessary resources.

There are very good peer helper programs in some police organizations in Quebec, but others have none at all, said Mr. Desaulniers.

The goal will be to identify the most successful programs and help all police organizations implement them, he said.

The Order of Psychologists of Quebec participated in the development of the program for professionals to ensure the relevance of the activities that will be offered. Participants will also be recruited through the Order's communication channels. The ÉNPQ also intends to make municipalities aware of the importance of this training.

“In the end, it should become a qualifying training sought by cities to ensure that the psychologists whose services they retain are competent, not generally, but specifically, to intervene with the police. »

— Marc Desaulniers, Director of Research, Expertise and Pedagogy at ÉNPQ

Mr. Desaulniers estimates that the funding obtained should make it possible to train a thousand professionals.

The funding should also make it possible to absorb most of the costs, which means that those who want to follow it will be able to do so at very little cost, even for free, he said.

Police are always reluctant to avail themselves of the resources at their disposal, in because they have the impression that their professional interlocutor simply will not understand what they are going through, said Mr. Desaulniers, and this perception of incomprehension hinders the use of programs. x27;help.

We also claim that it will facilitate recourse, but also that it will allow for better support, better interventions, did you he concluded. It's not just to get people to refer to it, it's to make it easier and more efficient for professionals to work.

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