About Sue

Sue Johnston, LICSW

CEO & Founder

I began CISC because I’m passionate about helping the helper. If we ask people to do the hard work of taking care of society’s needs – be it through emergency services, the medical or mental health professions, nonprofits, or humanitarian aid – we must support them. I am also passionate about training CISM and peer teams to effectively implement strategies that will help the helpers. Maintaining and improving intervention skills should be a regular practice for these teams in order to develop ‘muscle memory’ of the intervention procedures. Without such practice, the result is the commonly seen problems for which CISM is criticized. As a trauma treatment specialist, I have learned the tricks of the trade to keep crisis interventions specific and effective.

As a licensed psychotherapist with more than two decades of experience treating traumatic psychological stress, I’ve brought my understanding of acute stress reactions and vicarious traumatization to a wide variety of places, organizations and large-scale events, including:

  • Fire/EMS responders

  • Hospital Personnel

  • Organ Procurement Organizations

  • Refugees and torture survivors

  • Myanmar, a place of active civil war, as part of Doctors Without Borders

  • Hurricane Katrina

  • The 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis

  • Death-in-Service incidents

Since 2005, I’ve been training and providing clinical consultation to peer support teams and have served as the Clinical Director of the Metro CISM Team, which responds to critical incidents in emergency services. I’m an International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) approved instructor. For more than 30 years, I’ve worked as a psychotherapist, specializing in treating anxiety and PTSD and am trained in EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, ART, hypnosis, and HeartMath.

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