Critical Incident Stress Consultants (CISC) is dedicated to providing evidence-based resiliency strategies and support following toxic stress exposure to help the helpers stay in their chosen field. Located in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, we work with clients locally and across the country. When you engage Critical Incident Stress Consultants, you engage a team of experienced professionals.
Sue Johnston, LICSW
CEO & Founder
As leader and CEO of Critical Incident Stress Consultants, I strive to bring together experienced professionals to assist those in the helping professions through evidence-based interventions. My work is informed by my 30 years of experience as a psychotherapist treating stress, anxiety and psychological trauma in a variety of locations and populations, including: emergency services personnel, medical professionals, rape survivors, torture survivors, refugee communities, and war zones with MSF/Doctors without Borders. I’ve responded to multiple critical incidents (employee death in service, employee suicide, staff assault, staff grief reactions, ambulance crash, helicopter crash) as well as mass casualty events, including Hurricane Katrina, the 35W bridge collapse, and tornado destruction. I was a founding member of the United Hospital and Children’s Minnesota CISM/Peer support team, the Clinical Director of the The Metro CISM Team and I continue to teach peer team interventions, as well as providing clinical support to the St. Paul Fire Department Peer Support Team.
Kathy Abrams, MA
Retired Deputy Sheriff
During my 25-year career in law enforcement as a dispatcher, jailer, patrol officer, detective, and watch commander, there were no helpful interventions. The prevailing attitude was “Buck up and get over it,” which is not a healthy attitude in responding to critical incidents or chronic stress. After my first few debriefing interventions, I was hooked on the way in which I could help first responders and the public normalize a critical incident and help them move on. I am incredibly motivated to help keep first responders mentally healthy for their careers, their families and their communities. Their job should never get in the way of off-duty life.
Kerry P. Appleton,
MAN, RN, CCRN-K
Critical Care Nurse & Consultant
For more than 20 years, I’ve worked with pediatric intensive care units providing education, practice support, bedside care and delivering extracorporeal therapies such as ECMO and CRRT.
My experiences in critical care prompted my interest in critical incident stress management. After obtaining additional training, I spent the past four years providing real-time support services to staff experiencing critical incident stress in the hospital setting.
I’m also a member of the Metro CISM Team, which is a group of volunteers who provide free critical incident stress debriefing sessions to first responder teams within the Twin Cities metro area.
Psychotherapist & Consultant
I am proud of my 15 years of experience in the field of mental health working with groups, couples, children, teens and adults. I’m trained in Critical Incident Stress and work with first responders on a regular basis. I specialize in trauma, incorporating Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and body-brain connections. I approach my work by putting my clients at the center and working with them holistically. I believe there is always a path to healing, and there is always cause for hope.
I’ve always been passionate about communication – telling stories and sharing ideas that connect people. My 18+ years of non-profit communication experience combines this passion with my dedication to serving others. Advocating for solutions to homelessness and inspiring people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors has helped me hone the ability to distill complex ideas into simpler narratives with sensitivity and compassion.