Peer Support Services
Home > Departments > Office of Peer Support >Peer Support Services
Individual counseling is a shared process in which a unique, confidential helping relationship is developed between a counselor and a willing client. In this relationship, the professional counselor acts as a facilitator to help the client to understand more accurately him/herself and the world around him/her.
The counselor and client explore the client's feelings and behaviors, relationships with others, choices and decisions, as well as the client's current situation for the purpose of reducing internal suffering which occurs in the form of problematic behaviors, beliefs, feelings, and somatic responses (sensations in the body). In addition, ongoing psychotherapy is a common and useful means of self-growth and self-actualization.
Therapy can help people to resolve barriers which interfere with positive qualities, such as joy, compassion, peace, self-esteem, spiritual connection, and love. Many people enjoy therapy and relish the journey of becoming more conscious about themselves, their inner world, and their relationships.
Group counseling is a form of therapy, which posits that people benefit from shared experiences. Usually, it's focused on a particular issue, like obsessive-compulsive disorder or anger management.
While a therapist usually manages the group, contributions from other members are considered valuable since all in the group share similar issues. One of the main principals behind group counseling is the idea that dealing with specific issues may cause isolation, and a feeling that one is alone in facing his or her problems.
This form of counseling attempts to counteract isolation by assembling people with similar issues to enforce that these difficulties are not singular to one person. Additionally, knowing other people with similar troubles can be comforting to individuals who may not have access in their own family and friends to people with the same problem.
Group counseling may be highly organized, with people doing specific activities together and then sharing the results. Alternately, it may be more freeform, where members share their current issues related to the group’s purpose. One person’s verbal contributions to a group might be discussed, validated, and provoke problem solving by other group members in a session. It might also be an entry into a discussion regarding a certain aspect of an illness or condition that is then primarily led by the therapist.
Family therapy is designed to help families, as a whole, cope with both large-scale problems and smaller, everyday problems (i.e. such as addictions, adolescent problems, empty nest, mid-life crisis, school related problems, in law issues, single parent issues).
The purpose of family therapy is to remedy issues within a family and the objectives of treatment are often to immediately stabilize, then improve, individual/marital/family functioning so as to reduce the risk of juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, emotional disorders, child abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Grief counseling refers to a specific form of therapy that aims to help people cope with grief and mourning following the death of loved ones, or with major life changes that trigger feelings of grief (e.g., divorce), or a focus in general counseling with the goal of helping the individual grieve and address personal loss in a healthy manner.
Specific tasks of grief counseling include emotional expression about the loss (which can include a wide range of feelings), accepting the loss, adjusting to life after the loss, and coping with the changes within oneself and the world after the loss.
Typical feelings experienced by individuals, and addressed in grief counseling, include sadness, anxiety, anger, loneliness, guilt, relief, isolation, confusion, or numbness. Behavioral changes may also be noticed, such as being disorganized, feeling tired, having trouble concentrating, sleep problems, appetite changes, vivid dreams, or daydreaming about the deceased. Grief counseling assists an individual in the expression of emotion and thought about the loss, including sadness, anxiety, anger, loneliness, guilt, relief, isolation, confusion, or numbness. It also reinforces previously used coping skills and provides alternative skills in order for one to achieve resolution in the natural reactions to loss.
The focus of couple’s therapy is to identify the presence of dissatisfaction and distress in the relationship, and to devise and implement a treatment plan with objectives designed to improve or alleviate the presenting symptoms and restore the relationship to a better and healthier level of functioning. Couples counseling looks at issues like communication, honesty, shared responsibilities, commitment, and mutual support to improve the quality of the relationship for both partners. Marriage counseling seeks to identify the sources of conflict in a marriage and provide healthy ways of resolving such conflicts.
Marriage counseling is an alternative to divorce or separation for some couples. Marriage counseling may also be sought by couples in the process of a divorce or separation to help them deal with the changes and emotions being experienced so that the process is dealt with in a healthy manner. Such counseling may benefit both the couple and any children who may be affected by negative feelings such as anger and vindictiveness.
Stress Management Training
Stress management training teaches people how to better manage their lifestyle for reduced stress. Basic things such as eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep and taking time for enjoyable hobbies and activities often are discussed in stress management training. Techniques to relax the body and calm the mind, such as yoga, tai chi, meditation and other methods commonly are part of stress management training.
Correct breathing, how and when to use creative visualization to reduce stress and the value of rehearsing potentially stressful situations also are things that might be taught. Other stress management training techniques include humor, music and art therapy.
Stress management is something that must be practiced regularly to be effective. Stress management training can provide the tools for reducing stress, but a week-long training program or a seminar will not eradicate it. Incorporating stress reduction and management techniques into one's daily life is the ultimate goal of stress management training. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to handling stress, so individuals must choose the techniques that best work for them and practice those techniques regularly.
Critical Incident debriefing / Crisis intervention
A short-term therapeutic approach, led by experienced counselors or peers to provide individuals an opportunity to discuss their feelings and thoughts about a distressing event in a controlled, confidential and rational manner. Individuals learn about stress reactions and symptoms, and acquire additional skills and resources that can help them with the healing process.
Anger management refers to therapeutic strategies that allow people to overcome excess feelings of anger, and to not act upon destructive impulses that anger may cause. Sometimes people have individual therapy sessions to work on anger management. In other cases, people may work in group therapy to assist them with anger management.
The most popular anger management model at present is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In this method, those participating in therapy record moments when anger is at its greatest, identify feelings or “hot thoughts” that drive anger, list reasons why such thoughts may or may not hold true, and then reanalyze their level of anger. Emotions are generally rated on a percentage basis. CBT also incorporates relaxation techniques, which can help those learning anger management to diffuse anger. These exercises might include deep breathing, as well as the normal analysis work associated with CBT.
Most therapists recognize anger as an emotion used to mask deeper feelings of hurt such as grief or sadness. Help is given in anger management training so that people can identify the deeper feelings behind anger. Often anger can be diffused when one recognizes other feelings driving it.
To provide therapeutic services and referrals that will assist individuals in overcoming gambling behavior that has led to negative consequences in his/her life. Unpleasant feelings such as stress, depression, loneliness, fear, and anxiety can trigger compulsive gambling or make it worse. After a stressful day at work, after an argument with your spouse or coworker, or to avoid more time spent on your own, an evening at the track or the casino can seem like a fun, exciting way to unwind and socialize.
But there are healthier and far less expensive ways to keep unpleasant feelings in check. These may include exercising, meditating, spending time with friends, taking up new hobbies, or exploring relaxation techniques. For many people, an important aspect of quitting gambling is to find alternate ways to handle these difficult feelings without gambling. Even when gambling is no longer a part of your life, the painful and unpleasant feelings that may have prompted you to gamble in the past will still remain. So, it’s worth spending some time thinking about the different ways you intend to deal with stressful situations and the daily irritations that would normally trigger you to start gambling.
Chaplains are available to provide pastoral care and crisis ministry to members of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and their families. Chaplains Unit 708-633-2583
Alcohol and Substance Abuse Support Services and Prevention
To provide referrals, education and therapeutic services to help individuals overcome their use/abuse/dependency of alcohol and/or other substances in a professional and confidential manner. Furthermore, it will provide similar services to support the love one(s) of an individual who suffers from abuse/dependency. Substance abuse treatment refers to a broad range of activities or services, including identification of the problem (and engaging the individual in treatment); brief interventions; assessment of substance abuse and related problems including histories of various types of abuse; diagnosis of the problem(s); and treatment planning, including counseling, medical services, psychiatric services, psychological services, social services and follow-up for persons with alcohol or other drug. This unit is also conducts AA meetings specifically for law enforcement officers as well as meetings for civilian employees and all family members