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You’re It!

How to Psychologically Survive
an Internal Investigation, Disciplinary
Proceeding, or Legal Action in the
Police, Fire, Medical, Mental Health,
Legal, or Emergency Services Professions

by Laurence Miller, PhD

A continuing education course for 1 ce

consisting of reading and taking a post-test on:

International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 185-190
You’re It!
How to Psychologically Survive an Internal Investigation, Disciplinary
Proceeding, or Legal Action in the Police, Fire, Medical, Mental Health,
Legal, or Emergency Services Professions

You hope it never happens to you:

You receive notice that you will be the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation, disciplinary proceeding, administrative action, or legal charge. For some clinical and public safety professionals, this comes as a complete shock; for others, it confirms what they’ve suspected has been brewing for a long time. Either way, you expect that your whole life is about to change.

The purpose of this article is not to provide legal advice, and for purposes of this discussion I take a neutral position as to the validity of any particular case against you. Similarly, this article is not about second-guessing the decisions of law enforcement, public safety, and mental health administrators, the overwhelming majority of whom are honorable public servants, dedicated to the welfare of their personnel and their communities. The primary purpose of this article is to provide practical information on coping with the psychological stress of an internal investigation, disciplinary action, or legal charge, and its aftermath.


In this 1 unit course, Learning Objectives are:
  1. Identify the circumstances most likely to lead to an investigation, disciplinary charge, or legal action, and the range of possible consequences.
  2. Describe the range of psychological reactions to an investigation or disciplinary action, and identify symptoms of distress.

  3. List productive coping strategies for dealing with the emotional consequences of an investigation or disciplinary action, and how to effectively collaborate with attorneys and clinicians.

Abstract: Rightly or wrongly, law enforcement, public safety, medical, mental health, legal, and emergency
services professionals may have to face internal investigation, disciplinary measures, license suspension,
criminal prosecution, civil lawsuits, and/or personal life disruption related to actions taken in the course
of their work. This article describes the main categories of misconduct – or simply mistakes – that can
cause different types of professionals to be investigated, charged, prosecuted, and/or sued. It next discusses
the kinds of psychological reactions commonly seen in workers who face these kinds of proceedings.
Finally, the article offers a set of practical psychological coping strategies and procedural
recommendations for dealing with the stresses of an investigation, administrative action, or litigation,
and for mitigating their effects on one’s life and career.
[International Journal of Emergency Mental Health
, 2009, 11(3), pp. 185-190].

is approved by the:

maintains responsibility for the program.



how it works

Due to the wonders of technology, the minute you submit your order over our secure line, it is encrypted, and processed safely and securely by Authorize.net, a secure web processor. Or, if you prefer, call us toll-free 888-777-3773.

You will immediately receive confirmation of your order, your password and how to access the course material. (Please do not block e-mails from classes@psychceu.com, orders@psychceu.com and info@psychceu.com)

If you ordered an online course, you can begin to take the course immediately.

You will receive instructions, via e-mail, on how to take your test online.

Contact us or call if you need technical support.

Your test will be graded online, so the moment you have passed, you may print out your certificate of completion.

That's it! You are done!

Laurence Miller, Ph.D. maintains an independent practice in clinical and forensic psychology in Boca Raton, Florida.  He is a police psychologist with the West Palm Beach Police Department, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Highway Patrol.  He is a court-appointed psychological examiner for the Palm Beach County Court and serves as an independent expert witness in civil and criminal cases.  Dr. Miller is on the adjunct faculty at Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College, and Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Institute.   He is the editor of the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, and is the author of Shocks to the System: Psychotherapy of Traumatic Disability Syndromes (Norton), Practical Police Psychology: Stress Management and Crisis Intervention for Law Enforcement (Thomas), and Counseling Crime Victims: Practical Strategies for Mental Health Professionals (Springer).  He maintains the Practical Police Psychology webpage at the PoliceOne.com website, and contributes to the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin



APA Ethics

We do adhere to the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists. Our courses are carefully screened by the Planning Committee to adhere to APA standards. We also require authors who compose Internet courses specifically for us follow APA ethical standards.

Many of our courses contain case material, and may use the methods of qualitative research and analysis, in-depth interviews and ethnographic studies. The psychotherapeutic techniques depicted may include play therapy, sandplay therapy, dream analysis, drawing analysis, client and therapist self-report, etc. The materials presented may be considered non-traditional and may be controversial, and may not have widespread endorsement within the profession. www.psychceu.com maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

All material included in this course is either in the public domain, or used with express permission.

Cost of the 1 unit course is $15

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