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Working With and Caring For First Responders with Dr.…

What is health? Is it just the absence of being sick or is there something more? What is freedom? Is it the absence of being locked up or is there something more?  What is peace? Is it simply the absence of conflict or is there something more? Welcome to the Something More hosted by Origins Behavioral Healthcare. 

In this episode, we are talking with Dr. Anna Lisa De Lima. Dr. De Lima is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and program director. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Florida as well as a National Certified Counselor (NCC). In her work as a clinician, Dr. De Lima utilizes a variety of evidence-based protocols in the treatment of mental health disorders, SUDs, and trauma. Dr. De Lima has worked with first responders from a variety of backgrounds and specialties in her work as a clinician. 

We talk about Dr. Anna Lisa’s journey from equestrian to her career as a psychotherapist. She shares how an accident led her to a job at a firefighters union and a passion for first responders.   

Show Notes:

  • [00:41] We are excited to welcome Dr. Anna Lisa De Lima. 
  • [01:34] Dr. Anna Lisa has dedicated much of her career to helping first responders. 
  • [02:58] She is from Trinidad and spends most of her time outside of work with her dog and horses. Her previous career was as an equestrian and she used to compete for her country all around the world.  
  • [05:19] Since she is an introvert she needs the downtime with her animals to recharge and be able to give back again.     
  • [05:51] Extroverts recharge by being around people, but introverts recharge by being alone.  
  • [07:14] Tests like Myers-Briggs can offer a lot of information and insight to help people understand themselves better.  
  • [08:01] Dr. Anna Lisa shares her journey from equestrian to where she is now. 
  • [09:01] In surgery she lost 70% of her colon and had to have a colostomy bag.  At that moment, she really struggled with the shock and it was a difficult road. 
  • [09:47] She was told they didn’t think she would ride again and that was extremely hard because all she knew about herself was that she was a rider. 
  • [11:15] After all this she was at a crossroads, and then after months of struggling she decided to go back and get her master’s degree in counseling psychology.   
  • [12:24] Transition, healing, and figuring things out takes time. 
  • [14:20] Every day she fought to be able to ride horses again and she ended up doing that.     
  • [15:33] She ended up getting a job at a firefighters union and that started her journey and passion towards firefighters and first responders.  
  • [18:08] It ended up being right where she needed to be at the right time and she found a passion for what first responders were doing and the trauma they experience.  
  • [20:13] Fire responders are human beings just like us. Their job is to compartmentalize and keep people safe, but at some point, those compartments get really full and they need their own support.  
  • [22:27] Therapists need to know that it is different working with someone in combat duty. They have to be able to compartmentalize.  
  • [23:57] Often fire responders learn to compartmentalize so well that even in their family environment they are not able to communicate the things they need to.  
  • [24:44] They often don’t have down time between calls to transition. We often need a few minutes to decompress.  
  • [26:23] Families don’t always understand what their first responder is going through. 
  • [29:23] There are a lot of fire responders and their families who deserve and need our love, support, and gratitude. Thank you for serving our community.
  • [32:19] Asking for help is the bravest thing that you can do and it is critical. It is okay to ask for help, support each other, and show emotion.  


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If you or someone you love has a substance use or mental health disorder, Origins Behavioral HealthCare can help. We will work alongside you to provide the most comprehensive treatment available.