‘Don’t do that!’: A first responder therapist signals common relationship red flags

Dr. Rachelle Zemlok – who is also married to a fire captain – details the ‘4 horsemen’ of the firefighter-relationship apocalypse, plus how to avoid conflict escalation

Get ready to kick back on the metaphorical couch because on this episode of the Better Every Shift podcast, Zam and Janelle talk to Dr. Rachelle Zemlok – a first responder-focused psychologist, who also happens to be married to a fire captain – about all things firefighter relationships: stress-related competition between partners; assuring firefighters that they are in control of their therapy session; the one word that defines the trickiness of firefighter relationships; and a lot of simple ways to not blow up your marriage.

Plus, we get into all this:

  • Dr. Gottman’s research into the ‘four horsemen’ of the relationship apocalypse
  • The most important post-shift question before you get home
  • Why therapy isn’t a competition and therapists aren’t referees
  • How much to talk to your spouse about your shift

What else …

  • Don’t miss: The top issue she helps first responder couples navigate
  • Episode power quote: “Firefighters can see [therapy] as a contained space where they can go and just dump it all and then feel lighter. You’re allowed to come here and just dump it all and leave.”
  • Hot seat sneak peek: The dumbest fight she had with her fire captain-husband recently

Resources we mentioned on the show …

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Here's what one listener shared with us:

Rachelle, I just watched your podcast. Amazing and simply-put information. I want to say thank you for going on Zam's show and explaining how to navigate work and home for first responders. I am sending this podcast out to all the troops in the Memphis Fire Department in the hopes they watch it, along with their spouse, and gain some great insight. Looking for more in the future!"

– Gerald E. "Pete" Crawford, Battalion Chief of Safety, City of Memphis Fire Services

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