Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services



Committee Director

Kristy Carlisle

Committee Member

Amber Pope

Committee Member

Lauren Robins


Law enforcement officers (LEOs) are often the first responders to crisis situations, which increasingly include mental health crises. Collaborating with mental health professionals and organizations increases the likelihood that individuals will receive a response that is contextually and culturally informed by an understanding of mental health needs and considerations. For this reason, Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) have been established to train LEOs and to unite efforts with mental health professionals, advocates, and community constituents. While there is existing and ongoing literature exploring the responses provided by CIT, there is limited research on the experiences of CITs related to their unique interdisciplinary team collaboration and support. LEOs are not only called upon to help others in a time of crisis, but they are also often their own resource for processing and training, all the while functioning in a dynamic system with increased exposure to traumatic events, psychological distress, and stigma around mental health support. This dissertation presents a phenomenological exploration of the lived experiences of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officers collaborating with mental health professionals for (1) training and (2) addressing and processing trauma and vicarious trauma. Through in-depth interviews with CIT officers, this study describes the complexities of their experiences and explores implications for counselors, counselor educators, training programs, and calls to advocacy. By highlighting the narratives of those in the midst of these experiences, this study contributes to a deeper understanding of the intersection between law enforcement and mental health care and provides valuable insights into how interdisciplinary collaborations can be optimized to be multiculturally responsive and supportive of the wellbeing of those we call on to protect and serve.


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