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“Living Blue” – New Book by Barbara Rubel

Living Blue

Barbara Rubel’s new book Living Blue is now available! Co-authored with Jason Palamara, a retired cold case homicide detective, it was published on December 6, 2023 and can be purchased on Amazon.

The effects of vicarious trauma

Living Blue has the power to change lives by offering a more complete understanding of the effects that vicarious trauma has on law enforcement personnel and their families. The book is based on evidence founded on both firsthand experience and cutting-edge research and addresses symptoms of moral injury, burnout, secondary trauma, chronic stress, and compassion fatigue. Living Blue dives into police wellness research and strategies for helping law enforcement officers who have experienced vicarious trauma.

For anyone involved in police safety and wellness, including law enforcement officers, their families, and mental health specialists who assist them, Living Blue is a vital resource. The content is adaptable enough for new, seasoned, and retired officers. Living Blue is written for educational purposes for anyone interested in first responder mental health, and in particular, law enforcement officer well-being.

About the authors

Jason Palamara, a retired Cold Case Homicide detective, and Barbara Rubel, daughter of two police officers and a renowned Thanatologist, walk you through the obstacles to well-being. Thanatologists are specialists who focus on managing traumatic death. They use science and applied practice to educate first responders on ways to manage loss and prolonged grief. Palamara and Rubel share proven techniques to increase officer health and wellness, which also makes this book a valuable tool for mental health professionals who counsel police officers. The book combines stories, research, and introspective prompts, inviting LEOs and their families to discover insight into cultivating a positive mindset to build their resilience. What’s more, over 70 law enforcement professionals and experts on wellness share their insights.

First hand experiences

Throughout Living Blue, LEOs, both on the job and retired, share their experiences and suggestions on law enforcement wellness. You will read what a police commissioner, chief of police, assistant chief of police, deputy chief, commander, captain, lieutenant, sergeant, detective, police officer, K9 Handler and trainer, and police dispatcher have to say about police stress. Learn about first responder mental health from those who were in the military, FBI, and firefighting. A retired colonel, a fire lieutenant, a former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer, and a former United States Secret Service Agent share ways to build resilience. Pick up tips to mitigate burnout from police wellness authors, police and public safety trainers, and law enforcement instructors.

Gain valuable insight on first responder wellness from a LEO life coach, a transition specialist, a recovery coach, and a transformational life coach. Increase your knowledge about well-being from a psychiatrist, licensed clinical psychologist, suicidologist, family therapist, psychotherapist, grief and trauma specialist, a research professor, and a director of wellness services. To improve overall health, a nutrition specialist and a fitness specialist offer their suggestions.

Living Blue BookHere is a breakdown of the content by chapter.

Chapter 1: Law Enforcement Stress

  • Identify acute and chronic stressors in policing.
  • Describe the benefits of stress inoculation.

 Chapter 2: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Wellness

  • Identify Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as a possible predictor of a health risk for adults.
  • Describe the polyvagal theory in relation to policing.

 Chapter 3: Law Enforcement Burnout 

  • Examine contributors to empathic distress.
  • Explain burnout and secondary traumatic stress.
  • Identify effective strategies to manage compassion fatigue.

Chapter 4: What is Maladaptive Coping?

  • Explain how maladaptive coping strategies increase occupational stress.
  • Identify how culture, stigma, shame, and confidentiality prevent law enforcement professionals from getting help.

 Chapter 5. Moral Injury in Law Enforcement

  • Reflect on contributors to moral injury in policing.
  • Recognize eight protective factors against moral injury.

 Chapter 6: Vicarious Trauma-Responsive Approach in Policing

  • Examine a vicarious trauma-informed approach to policing.
  • Describe the significance of internal police peer support programs.

Chapter 7: Law Enforcement Family Support: Spouses, Partners, Parents, and Children

  • Examine ways to build family resilience.
  • Select ways to go from work-family conflict to work-family synergy.

Chapter 8: Women in Policing

  • Describe stressors policewomen encounter throughout their career.
  • Examine practices to alleviate some of the stress experienced by policewomen.

Chapter 9: End of Watch

  • Explain eight characteristics of a death notification after a LODD.
  • Review ways to support bereaved individuals.

 Chapter 10: Law Enforcement Officer Suicide

  • Review how thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and hopelessness, are warning signs of suicide.
  • Discuss how an officer’s beliefs and attitudes are barriers to their getting help for suicidal thoughts.

 Chapter 11: Prolonged Grief in Police Work is Griefwork

  • Describe Palette of Grief® reactions after a loss.
  • Review 25 risk factors that complicate the grief process.
  • Compare contemporary mourning models for coping with loss.

 Chapter 12: Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth

  • Describe posttraumatic growth after a psychological struggle.
  • Select eight character strengths to build psychological resilience.

Chapter 13: Life Beyond Law Enforcement

  • Plan for retirement with a long-term wellness strategy.
  • Recognize eight elements of resilience that enhance the ability to take action to secure a healthy retirement.

Living Blue is a must-have resource for everyone involved in the law enforcement community to work to promote wellness of LEO and their families.

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Barbara is a leading authority and best-selling author on managing burnout, secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. As a nationally recognized keynote speaker, she motivates audiences to build their resilience and create work-life balance. Her programs help leaders and teams manage workplace chronic stressors and get over burnout at work.

Barbara's newest book, "But I Didn't Say Goodbye: Helping Families After a Suicide", is available now on Amazon -

• Three weeks prior to giving birth to triplets, her father died by suicide. Her story was featured in the Emmy award winning documentary, Fatal Mistakes, Families Shattered by Suicide narrated by Mariette Hartley. Many employees are grieving personal loss. She offers programs for leaders on lost productivity and performance while managing grief at work.

• As a sought-after keynote speaker who has presented to over 500 groups since 1991, including corporations, state and national associations and non-profit organizations, Barbara offers work-life balance strategies for leaders to implement right away. With clarity and humor, her speaking engagements are designed to give audiences powerful and practical strategies of work-life balance, wellbeing, and self-care that can be implemented immediately.

• Barbara is a Board-Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress and Diplomate with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. She received a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Master of Arts degree in community health, with a concentration in thanatology, both from Brooklyn College.


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