from conversations with Cayce Brewer and Colton Shannon

It all started with an assignment

The idea really came from Dr. Carol Harp, head of the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Behavioral Health Services Division, and Dr. Peter Wilson, professor of graduate counseling. She and Dr. Wilson had been collaborating and wanted to find a way for us to get hands-on experience teaching for students in Trevecca’s Ph.D.: Clinical Counseling Teaching and Supervision program and also provide three units of continuing education to the counselors, chaplains and peer supporters who assist law enforcement officers and families during times of need.

Over the course of three sessions, we talked about different topics, especially things they may be seeing in their work and how to take care of themselves in a high stress environment. These are very knowledgeable, highly trained licensed clinicians, so during each session—whether it was about self-care and compassion or sexual addiction and substance abuse—we had to research and dig into the research around the topic to present relevant information and current trends in treatment.

These professionals handle a lot of very acute cases and people in high distress. The MNPD works with a wide population—the homeless, people who have been severely abused, first responders. For therapists, it can be a pretty dark experience. They don’t always see a lot of light, and it’s easy for counselors and practitioners in these roles to get really burned out.

Counselors are a vital part of the heart of Nashville. And, as people who care for those who serve the community, it’s easy for them to be overlooked.

But if the heart can’t pump into other members for any reason—from the need for counselors to show themselves compassion or to stay up-to-date with current research—the system won’t survive.

It was our honor to play a small role in creating a healthier working system that keeps the heart of Nashville pumping.


from conversations with Cayce Brewer and Colton Shannon
Trevecca Ph.D. candidates, Clinical Counseling: Teaching & Supervision