Code 3 Counseling logo, an eagle with wings raised surrounded by olive branches, with 5 red stars for the 5 types of first responders.

COUNSELING SUPPORT FOR FIRST RESPONDERS, MILITARY, AND THEIR FAMILIES

It may be your battle, but you don't have to fight it alone.

Getting into this career was not an easy choice. When it is your calling, your purpose, there is no turning back. You love the work you do, but it's gotten to a point where it isn't fulfilling you the way it did when you started. It has become an issue in your relationships, and you don't know how to change it. The ongoing barrage of hard situations you face every day in your job isn't helping. People who lie, verbally attack you, scream and blame you for the circumstances they created. The things you've seen that you can't unsee. On top of it all, there is the anti-responder culture on social media and in the news. It all begins to weigh you down. It's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
First responders face situations every day that most people couldn't even imagine. The long shifts, mandatory overtime, and missed events with loved ones can be exhausting. You want so hard for the job to not effect you after you take off the uniform. But then things happen, and you can't re-engage with the ones you love. Managing emotions with the high-stress days often requires you to check-out emotionally. Checking back in afterwards? Sometimes, it isn't an option. After a while, you begin to struggle with sleeping, more so than usual with the shift work. Your close friends and relatives comment on your moodiness, which doesn't help. You find your job takes its toll. Training did not prepare you for this. There was no "defensive tactics" class on how to manage the effects of your career on your personal life. You find yourself being easily frustrated with little things. You are on edge, and having a hard time getting back to yourself. But you push on through because "it's all part of the job".
Except, you know it doesn't have to be this way. Yes, the job is tough. Yes, the demands are exhausting. No, you can't imagine doing anything else.

Photo of a police car parked in the middle of a city with the lights flashing to warn civilians of the traumatic scene.

OUR MISSION


Our mission is to help first responders and their families find more peace and fulfillment in the life of service. You deserve culturally competent and high-quality services. You deserve support when it comes to your own wellbeing. Your training as a first responder is incredible, especially considering the unrealistic expectations the world has for your career. But all of your training focused on how you can serve the community, not on how to take care of yourself. We are here to help with that.

We have heard first responders share how they are frustrated and dissatisfied with providers taking far too long to schedule a responder. We have heard most often folks complain of the provider not understanding the culture of the first responder world, or that they seemed traumatized by the stories these first responders share. This is not okay. This is not the support you deserve.
We get it. We understand the different types of situations you can be exposed to. We understand how those incidents can lead to feeling on edge more than usual, or even unsafe. We understand how talking with your spouse, your family, or your friends is not an option, and you don't want to traumatize them with the horrific things you have seen. But you are smart, and you know talking about these hard things will help you.
Our mission is to provide you with individualized and specialized help in managing your own mental health and relationship needs. You deserve timely and adequate care. You deserve to have your counselor support you, not the other way around. We will provide that. We want to ensure that the career you have chosen serving others doesn't destroy who you are at your core, a good and compassionate person who wants to make the world a better place.
Code 3 Counseling is located in Pacific Grove, California. We serve first responders in the Monterey Bay Area and throughout the State of California. If you are in California, you can receive our services online.

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ABOUT

FIRST RESPONDER MENTAL HEALTH

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The world of first responders is stressful and challenging, to say the least. From shift work to unrealistic expectations on the job, and even to the toll it takes on your family, it's no wonder first responders are pushed to the edge.

Our goal is to create a safe, non-judgmental, and collaborative environment to help you understand and care for your own mental health. Together, our agency will help you find new ways to approach the stress of the job on yourself and your family. And to support your family with the multitude of needs they have, both related to the job and not related to it.

THE FOUNDERS

  • A headshot photo of the co-founder, daughter of a police officer.

    Alisha Sweyd


    Alisha Sweyd is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified First Responder Counselor. Living the first responder life in childhood and now as the wife of a police officer, Alisha is able to support our clients with understanding and provide a research-based perspective for growth.

  • Head shot photo of the co-founder, retired police officer.

    Shawn Cavin


    Shawn Cavin is a retired police officer who served for over 20 years. He also is an army veteran, 10th Mountain Division. Shawn's focus is on connecting with first responders through workshops and outreach to provide a unique insight into the challenging lifestyle.

WHY CHOOSE US

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COMPETENCY

We understand first responder life not only because we have studied it, but also because we live it.

CONFIDENTIAL

You can trust that everything you share with us will be kept private. It is your story to share, not ours.

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COMPASSIONATE

You will know that we truly care about our responders, meeting you and your department where you are at to help you grow.

HELP AND SUPPORT

YOU CAN TRUST US

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When it comes to the first responder lifestyle, there are few outside of the culture that can understand it. We live it, so we understand in a way that others could never comprehend.

The rhythm of the first responder lifestyle, particularly shift work and inconsistent sleep schedules, makes it that much more difficult to meet your own needs, let alone the needs of your family. Your calling to serve and protect others is often at the expense of your own mental health, even your relationships at home. At Code 3 Counseling, we don't want that to be the sacrifice you make. We are here to help you fulfill your calling in life while also having a thriving and gratifying life at home. Sounds like a unicorn? Trust us, it's completely real, and entirely yours to experience.

FOR THE HEARTS BEHIND THE BADGE

For the families and loved ones of first responders, we also work to provide you with individualized care and support. It is not easy living this lifestyle, and even you must sacrifice for your responders' service. From the chaotic scheduling struggles, to the stress you feel over their safety, Code 3 Counseling is here to help you. We enjoy supporting the spouses, children, and other family members of first responders.
If you are struggling with your own personal issues (from anxiety to grief to parenting), or if you need more support in living with a first responder, we want you to be strong in your first responder family.

Photo of a little girl running while waving a large American flag to show her pride for her parent who is a first responder.

SERVICES WE PROVIDE

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Photo of a distressed man sitting on a couch as he talks to a counselor about the traumatic things he has seen as a first responder.

Individual Counseling

For first responders, the struggle is REAL. We are here to make it a little more manageable.

Photo of a man and woman facing each other with the sun setting behind the over the ocean, feeling connected and loved after going through marriage counseling.

Marriage Counseling

First responder couples struggle more than most. Let us help you feel connected and supported together.

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Podcast on First Responder Mental Health

Our co-founders host a podcast where we discuss mental health and relationship issues often facing first responders. 

Photo of a phone open to the inbox in the email.

Wellness Newsletter

On the first Tuesday of every month, we send out our newsletter to our subscribers to share information around how you can thrive in the first responder life.

Photo of a bunch of hands in the middle of a huddle of people who are getting ready to cheer for the group being successful in their group counseling sessions.

Group Support

We know that sometimes, connecting with others who are struggling can provide the healing you need. Let us help!

Photo of a woman raising her hand during a presentation given by two people concerning the mental health of first responders.

Workshops & Seminars

We want to help your department, your staff, in better understanding how to thrive in the first responder life.

CAREERS

WE ARE HIRING!

If you love working with first responders, military, and they families, check out what career opportunities we have for you!

Sign up for our

CODE 3 COUNSELINGWELLNESS NEWSLETTER

We promise not to spam your inbox!

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT CODE 3 COUNSELING

"If you are a first responder or a family member of one and searching for a counselor, look no further. The team at Code 3 Counseling understands the pain and experience of those on the front lines. The counseling includes not only a compassionate response but also skills to empower you to face your struggles."

February 7, 2021

Whitney O.

from Google Reviews

"This is real. They understand first responders and they truly care. That sentiment flows from each [podcast] episode. Thank you for being there!"

May 7, 2021

Brenda501

from Apple Podcast Reviews

"When you meet Alisha, you know immediately you have found someone invested in you and your story. Partnering with her in a client-counselor capacity is a fantastic decision. In addition to her abundant list of positive personality traits, she is incredibly knowledgeable about her profession, interventions, and how to help clients reach their goals. I highly recommend her!"

December 7, 2020

Stephanie K.

from Google Reviews

"Alisha is warm, compassionate, and genuine. Her heart for her clients, particularly first responders and their families, shines through in talking with her. If you need someone to talk to, I highly recommend her!"

February 20, 2021

Annie B.

from Google Reviews

"Mental health should be prioritized. It literally never hurts to care for your mental health, glad to see someone help bring the topic to the forefront.

May 4, 2021

So 10-8

from Apple Podcast Reviews

"Being on the front lines can bring multiple challenges leading to extra stress and possible mental health concerns. Hosted by a licensed professional, Alisha does an excellent job bringing understanding and compassion while also giving advice to help first responders. And she knows the challenges not only through her work as a counselor, but also by those closest to her being on the front lines."

May 4, 2021

Whitney O.

from Apple Podcast Reviews

"This podcast is hosted by personable and real people. The experience they have with first responders is relevant and real. If you are looking for a way to gather information on mental and emotional wellness from people who understand the profession, this podcast can be a great place to start."

May 7, 2021

Fr.5.7

from Apple Podcast Reviews

"Alisha is an absolutely wonderful therapist. So sweet and genuine! She really does care about her clients and what they go through."

September 14, 2020

Lillian V.

from Google Reviews

"This is an incredible podcast. Shawn and Alisha are personable, knowledgable, and understand both personally and professionally the life of a first responder. I highly recommend!"

May 5, 2021

Psaloma

from Apple Podcast Reviews

"I love the show, it's really great to see both positions from a mental health and first responder perspective! And even better, to top it all off, they are family and you can really feel the chemistry and connection through the podcast, really easy to listen to and engaging. A great place for people to understand the stigma around mental health struggles for first responders."

May 4, 2021

LM Associates

from Apple Podcast Reviews

REQUEST MORE INFORMATION

TAKE THE STEPS TOWARDS FREEDOM!

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Reach out to Code 3 for personalized and confidential support!

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PARTNERS

PARTNERS & ASSOCIATIONS

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We are members of several associations who serve first responders and their families. We are consistently learning from our colleagues and improving our skills.

Picture of a logo for Certified First Responder Counselors.
Photo of a logo for Certified SYMBIS Facilitators for couples counseling.
Photo of the Lifesaver logo, an agency focused on supporting first responder marriages.
Photo of the Academy Hour logo, a company that serves first responders.
Photo of the American flag with different colored lines representing the different branches of people who serve and protect our country.
Photo of the logo for the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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For first responders families, and departments, seeking help often raises many questions from clients. Here are some of the common ones asked to us.

● How can counseling help first responders?

Counseling provides you with an empowering environment to explore the aspects of the first responder lifestyle that make life even more of a struggle. Our goal is to help you as a first responder improve your overall satisfaction in life.

● Who will know about me receiving services?

Your involvement in counseling services, including attendance, is completely confidential. The only times we can breach confidentiality according to HIPAA and California State Law are if you give permission, or if there is an immediate threat to yourself or others.

● If I am in therapy, it means I am not "fit for duty", right?

False. We do not provide "fitness for duty" evaluations. Our focus is the responder, not the department. We are not allowed to report any information to your employer because of client confidentiality. Therefore, no information will be shared with the department. First responders and military who receive therapy are often full duty.

BLOG

ARTICLES FOR FIRST RESPONDERS

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We want to share what we know with you in an easy to read and authentic way!

STILL NOT SURE ABOUT IT?

We offer a free 20-minute consultation for those interested in services. It will give you a chance to describe your particular issue, ask any questions about our experience, and help you feel more comfortable with us.

SCHEDULE A VISIT

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Code 3 Counseling

183 Forest Avenue Suite 2Pacific Grove, CA 93950
(831) 205-7144moc.gnilesnuoc3edoc%40tcennoc