Dedicated to Those Who Serve

About Dr. Pytal

Dr. Anastasia Pytal

Anastasia Pytal, PsyD, ABPP, MPA is a licensed psychologist, Board Certified in Police and Public Safety Psychology and the founder of the First Responders Resilience Center. Her area of professional interest and expertise is working with law enforcement professionals and their loved ones on issues pertaining to trauma, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and work-related stress. 

Through patient-therapist collaboration, Dr. Pytal works with clients to first explore a problem and understand its origin, and then she teaches them practical skills they can use outside therapy to live more productive and satisfying lives.

She specializes in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, an integrative approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. She also provides Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Internal Family Systems (IFS), evidenced-based and action-oriented therapies targeted to the unique needs of first responders.

Dr. Pytal has received specialized training in Critical Incident Stress Management for Emergency Services from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. As both a former first responder and a psychologist, she has a multifaceted perspective of the impact that critical incidents have on individuals.

In November 2021, she completed Yale University School Management Executive Education, Woman’s Leadership Program.   She is a certified Hostage Negotiator and is trained to perform Psychological Autopsies.  

She is a founding member of and Mental Health Liaison for Survivors of Blue Suicide Foundation. She is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Psychological Services Section. She served on a work group to address the best practices to handle an officer’s death. 

She has the authority to practice in numerous jurisdictions through the Authority to

Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology (APIT) and/or Temporary
Authorization to Practice (TAP), Granted
by the PSYPACT Commission, (1/30/22, #9115)

PsyPact states include:

 AL  AR  AK  CO  CT  DE  DC  GA  ID  IL  IN  KS  KY  ME  MD  MN  MO  NE  NV  NH  NC  OH  OK  PA  TN  TX  UT  VA  WA  WV  W

Dr. Anastasia Pytal giving a presentation to IACP

Speaker, Trainer, Workshop Facilitator

A nationally known speaker, trainer, and workshop facilitator, Dr. Pytal has addressed municipal, county, and federal law enforcement agencies as well as non-profit organizations, labor unions, and professional associations. 

Dr. Pytal holds a Doctor of Psychology and Master’s Degree from The American School of Professional Psychology, Washington, DC at Argosy University, and has earned the distinction of Diplomate in Police Psychology from the Society of Police and Criminal Psychology. and has  aMasters in Public Administration from The American University, Washington, DC.

She completed a one-year American Psychological Association accredited doctoral internship at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morris Plains, N.J. Her post-doctoral work was completed at the Metropolitan Police Employee Assistance Program in Washington, D.C., where she worked with officers, officials, and family members.

Professional Affiliations

  • International Association of Chiefs of Police – Police Psychological Services Section
  • Society for Police and Criminal Psychology
  • American Psychological Association-Division 18
  • New Jersey Psychological Association
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association


  • New Jersey # 5288
  • New York # 020326
  • Washington, DC # 1000880 (inactive)
  • Diplomate in Police Psychology-Society for Police and Criminal Psychology
  • National Register Health Service Psychologist # 54130
  • Board Certified in Police and Public Safety Psychology (#10190, 11/17/22)
  • Hostage Negotiator Certification, 11/11/22
  • Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology (APIT) and/or Temporary Authorization to Practice (TAP), Granted by the PSYPACT Commission, (1/30/22, #9115)

Dr. Anastasia Pytal

About Christopher Barnes

Christopher Barnes is a counselor in training. He is also a police officer who has spent more than twenty-five years working for the Montclair Police Department. Chris began his career in Montclair in 1996 as a civilian dispatcher, answering the public’s calls for service received through both non-emergency and 9-1-1 lines as well as dispatching police, fire, and emergency medical services. In 2000, Chris was sworn in as a police officer. In addition to working in patrol (Where he started and plans to finish his career), Chris has also been assigned to community policing-specific bureaus and was a detective in the Juvenile Aid Bureau. Prior to becoming a sworn police officer, Chris was a volunteer member of first aid and rescue squads in his home township of Woodbridge where he received certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Chris maintained his EMT certification throughout most of his police career; this enabled him to serve as an American Heart Association CPR instructor, 9-1-1, and Emergency Medical Dispatch Instructor. Chris is also certified to teach at police academies, and has instructed recruits in First Responder training. 


Like most police officers, Chris has had some unique experiences throughout the years. These experiences, along with a lot of diverse training opportunities, have inspired him to follow a path towards a second career in professional counseling. When the opportunity for higher education presented itself, Chris obtained his Bachelor’s of Science in Counseling Psychology from Faulkner University. He is currently nearing the end of his studies and anticipates graduation from Faulkner again, this time with his Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Chris plans to retire from police work in the near future and pursue a second career helping those who have found a calling in helping others.

Chris is happily married; he and his wife have two sons. In addition to spending time with his family, Chris also enjoys music, hiking, running, and auto mechanics.  

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