Hopefully your department has kept up with supplying you current state of the art law enforcement equipment, and provided you with the training you need to effectively utilize the same. Departments, depending on budgets, are generally pretty good at that. Unfortunately, they are usually very poor in training officers how to condition and train their minds related to enhancing essential law enforcement and personal skills.
Most people will acknowledge the strong connection between their minds and bodies. But exactly what is the mind and how does it work? The two main parts of the mind are the conscious and the subconscious. Both parts take in the same information, but each processes that information in completely different ways. The conscious mind is rational and analytical. Will power comes from the conscious mind. Short term memory is stored in this part of the mind. However, the conscious mind can only process and store a limited amount of information at any one time.
The real boss of the mind is the subconscious part. The subconscious mind communicates through feelings, emotions and experiences. It is also responsible for long term memory. Have you ever been on a call and had a gut instinct that something isn't right? That intuition comes from your subconscious mind. The subconscious is the part of the mind that relates to self preservation; it serves as an alert system to protect us from real or imagined threats. Training the conscious part of the mind is considerably easier than training the subconscious part. Few officers have learned how to program their subconscious mind for success in the field, or personally. Guided imagery has been suggested as one of the most powerful tools available to help officers and departments in this regard.
Officers have used visualization training to enhance their skills for years. You put yourself into visualized scenarios and play out what you would do in different situations, such as, in a confrontation with a mentally ill subject holding a grenade, with a group of hostile rioters armed with bats, a career criminal who managed to take your gun, etc. You process your reactions, the outcomes, and may decide to replay the scenario using different techniques of intervention, force, communication, etc. These types of exercises allow you to create a mental movie of yourself or team in a variety of situations in which a worse case scenario is resolved with a successful outcome.
This type of training utilizes only visualization. For effective subconscious mind training you need to use more; specifically you need to use your imagination. Some individuals may not be able to close their eyes and visualize a situation, but everyone has the ability to image, and to invoke all of their senses with the appropriate guidance.
Guided imagery can help enhance an officer's skills in numerous ways. It can give the officer the ability to continue to engage even if injured, to stay calm and in control in stressful situations, and enhance his/her tactical and firearm skills. There are additional benefits to guided imagery. It has been proven successful in treating a number of medical or psychological problems. It can relieve pain, lower blood pressure, speed healing, decrease anxiety and improve mood. Guided imagery is also a tool for accomplishing any goal; professional or personal (such as losing weight or quitting smoking).
Virtually everyone can successfully use imagery, but it requires patience and persistence. A trained professional in guided imagery is ideal, but may not be practical. Tapes can be purchased, but may not meet your goals or needs. There are certainly ways to train your subconscious, through imagery, yourself. The following steps are offered as a starter course. It is paramount for you to always end with a positive outcome, whether you are imaging a crime scenario, an athletic competition, a job interview, or taking a relaxing hike in the mountains or a romantic encounter on the beach. Remember, you always win.