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University of Toronto

Understanding and Managing the Stresses of Police Work

University of Toronto via Coursera


Policing has always been psychological challenging. On any given shift police officers may encounter a range of psychological challenges including domestic violence, interacting with people experiencing mental health issues, violent crime, even attending the aftermath of horrible accidents. The long exhausting shifts can also result in stressful person interactions within one’s personal life. The presence of COVID and political issues related to instances of over-policing have increased these stresses even more. This course has two goals. First, we want to inform officers how their stress system works and why they sometimes feel as they do. With this as a foundation we then describe some strategies officers can use to manage this system, giving themselves much needed breaks from the stress response and overall empowering them with a greater sense of control over how their bodies react to stress.


  • Understanding the Stress of Police Work
    • This module consists of two videos, each followed by a short multiple-choice assessment. The first video will describe the biological machinery underlying your stress response; how it works and how it makes you feel. The second video will then consider the stresses of police work and how society's expectations of you with respect to your ability to manage stress is to a large extent an unreasonable ask.
  • The NaRLy Approach to Managing Stress
    • This module consists of three videos that break down the NaRLy approach to its three constitute elements, (1) Learning how to NOTICE your stress level, (2) learning how to then use RELAXATION to counter the stress response, and (3) then use the power of active LISTENING to also reduce the stress response in those you are interacting with.
  • It's All About the Pratice
    • As is true for all skills, the biggest factor determining how helpful this course will be for you comes down to that one factor ... how much you practice the skills you learned. To encourage and inform you this last video focuses on how practice works, why the first few practice sessions are the most important to get through, and the benefits you will get if you stick with it!

Taught by

Steve Joordens

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3.0 rating, based on 1 reviews

Start your review of Understanding and Managing the Stresses of Police Work

  • A good short course as far as understanding stress is concerned. However, the tool provided in the course doesn't help you in run-time situations.

    I was looking for training to be calm under pressure and during dealing with extremely stressful situations, this course fails to address this topic.

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