Critical Incident Debriefing
Critical Incident Debriefing in Wolverhampton, West Midlands
Critical incident debriefing (CID) also known as critical incident stress management (CISM) is an intervention protocol developed specifically for dealing with traumatic events. It is a formal, highly structured and professionally recognized process for helping those involved in a critical incident to share their experiences, vent emotions, learn about stress reactions and symptoms and given referral for further help if required. It is not counselling, it is a confidential and educative process, sometimes called 'psychological first aid'.
First developed for use with military combat veterans and then civilian first responders (police, fire, ambulance, emergency workers and disaster rescuers), it has now been adapted and used virtually everywhere there is a need to address traumatic impact in peoples lives.
Examples of Critical Incidents
Critical incidents are traumatic events that cause powerful emotional reactions in people who are exposed to those events. Examples include:
- suicide of a colleague
- sudden death of a colleague
- serious work related injury
- bomb or hostage threat
- client Illness (i.e. heart attack in reception)
- severe or prolonged illness of employee
- sudden death of an employee
- multi-casualty / disaster / terrorism incidents
- events with excessive media interest
- events that are prolonged and end with a negative outcome
- any significantly powerful, overwhelming distressing event
The Objectives of Critical Incident Debriefing
- provide means for emotional expression by individuals involved in the event
- decrease distressing symptoms and prevent onset of PTSD
- assimilate the traumatic experience
- regain/increase capacity for self-control
- reduce the focus of the event in the daily lives of survivors
- provide emotional support
- enhance group cohesion
- dispel myths and reduce self-blame
- restore adaptive levels of trust
- restore capacity for emotional response
- alleviate disabling fears and anxieties caused by the trauma
- provide structure and stability
- prepare for physical and psychological symptoms that may follow
- inform individuals about stress, stress reactions and survival methods
- promote appropriate and realistic problem-solving
- assess individual coping skills and make referrals if necessary
- identify and access additional resources or support systems
- arrange for effective follow-up
Types of Intervention
The type of intervention used depends on the situation, the number of people involved, and their proximity to the event. The optimum is a three-step approach that addresses the trauma at various stages of progression: defusing, debriefing, and individual follow up.
A defusing is done the day of the incident before the person(s) has a chance to sleep. The defusing is designed to assure the person/people involved that their feelings are normal, tells them what symptoms to watch for over the short term and to offer them a lifeline in the form of a telephone number where they can reach someone who they can talk to. Defusings are designed to assist individuals in coping in the short term and address immediate needs.
Debriefings are usually the second level of intervention for those directly affected by the incident and often the first for those not directly involved.
A debriefing is normally done within a week of the incident and gives the individual or group the opportunity to talk about their experience, how it has affected them, look at coping mechanisms, identify individuals at risk, and inform the individual or group about services available to them in their community. The final step is to follow up with them the day after the debriefing to ensure that they are safe and coping well or to refer the individual for professional counselling.
The important final step is follow-up. This is generally done within the week following the debriefing by team members as a check-in.
Should further support be required individuals can be referred for counselling Lewis Psychology CIC.
How to Arrange Critical Incident Debriefing
If you would like to arrange critical incident debriefing or require further information please telephone our Wolverhampton office on: 01902 827808. Alternatively fill out our online contact form. For information regarding our opening hours please visit our practice opening hours page.