Examining Dark Humor for Stress Management & Cultural Insight

Law Enforcement & Military Service can be acutely stressful. Although conventional Employee Assistance Programs are helpful, often additional coping strategies are required. One of them is “Dark Humor”. This insider technique is not generally shared with the public because it is so easily misunderstood. Often, encountered situations are not funny, but the technique does encourage personnel to view sad events, unforeseen consequences & improbable outcomes in a different way. This twist in perspective helps people distance themselves emotionally from events from which they cannot physically remove themselves. This presentation will provide a glimpse of law enforcement and military culture by using actual incidents experienced by Don during his twin careers. These examples are about serious matters being emotionally deflected for the benefit of the people, involved. Attendees are warned normal sensibilities & ideas of political correctness must be suspended temporarily to fully understand the benefit of this non-public but highly effective stress management tool that also provides insight into law enforcement & military service.

Don Sheehan is a Life Member of Mensa with 20 years of service in the Federal Bureau of Investigation & 26 years in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Today, he will be talking about two important lessons he learned. First, military service & law enforcement work can be acutely stressful. Secondly, a strong “Sense of Dark Humor” can be an effective form of stress management, as well as a means of understanding the culture of these organizations.

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