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Group Crisis Intervention Debriefs

Updated: Aug 4, 2023


Critical Incident Stress Debriefs in London

Often when we think of traumatic events, like a sudden death for instance, we identify a specific victim and their loved ones as ‘most affected’ and we tend to focus our healing efforts on them. Tragic circumstances cast a wide net, however, and can have an impact far beyond immediate family members. A workplace accident, for example, can deeply the entire workforce, even those who did not even know the accident victim or witness the incident firsthand. One of the primary repercussions of trauma is the loss of a sense of safety in our world and learning that someone with whom we have something in common, like a place of employment, has been killed or injured, can destroy our sense of feeling safe.


After a traumatic incident, group crisis intervention can be a powerful and effective way to help people through traumatic events. This type of intervention involves bringing together individuals who have experienced a traumatic event and providing them with support and resources to cope with their emotions and reactions.


A form of psychological first aid, group crisis intervention is designed to help individuals cope with the emotional impact of a traumatic event and is typically provided in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, such as a natural disaster, workplace accident, or act of violence. Crises do not necessarily have to involve life-threatening situations; caring companies provide group interventions in the event of mass layoffs and corporate restructuring. The goal of group crisis intervention is to provide individuals with a safe and supportive environment where they can share their experiences, express their emotions, and develop coping strategies.



Critical Incident Stress Management London



It is important to understand that crisis intervention is not therapy. Where therapy seeks to explore grief reactions and support individuals as they uncouple their identities from whatever or whomever it is that was lost, crisis intervention is about stabilization. Crisis intervention occurs in the aftermath of an incident, often while people are still in a state of shock and numbness, and before the processes of grief come online. Effective group intervention provides context and connects survivors to each other and to resources that, hopefully, will reduce the chances of complex grief reactions later on.


One of the main benefits of group crisis intervention is that it provides individuals with a sense of community and support. When people experience a traumatic event, they often feel isolated and alone. By bringing together a group of individuals who have experienced a similar trauma, group crisis intervention can help to alleviate these feelings of isolation and provide a sense of belonging.


Another benefit of group crisis intervention is that it can help individuals to develop coping strategies for dealing with their emotions and reactions. By sharing their experiences and learning from others, individuals can develop a toolbox of coping strategies that they can use to manage their emotions and reactions in the future.


One example of successful group crisis intervention is the response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. In the aftermath of the attacks, several organizations provided group crisis intervention services to individuals who had been affected by the tragedy. These services included support groups, counselling, and other resources to help people cope with their emotions and reactions.


A second example of successful group crisis intervention is the response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. In the aftermath of the disaster, a number of organizations provided group crisis intervention services to individuals who had lost loved ones or experienced other traumatic events. These services also included support groups, counselling, and other resources to help people cope with their grief and trauma.



Group Crisis Debriefs in London Ontario


Group crisis intervention is a powerful and effective way to help individuals cope with traumatic events. By providing a safe and supportive environment, individuals can share their experiences, express their emotions, and develop coping strategies. One of the most successfully models for facilitating group crisis interventions is the Critical Incident Stress Management, commonly referred to as CISM.


Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is a set of interventions and strategies designed to help individuals and organizations deal with the psychological and emotional impact of traumatic events. CISM is used to address the immediate and long-term effects of critical incidents, such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and other traumatic events that can cause significant stress and trauma.


CISM is based on the principle that people who experience trauma may need immediate support and assistance to help them cope with their emotions and reactions. The goal of CISM is to provide a structured and supportive environment that helps individuals process their experiences, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote resilience and recovery.


One of the key components of CISM is Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD), a structured group crisis debrief that allows individuals to share their experiences in a supportive and non-judgmental environment. CISD is typically conducted within 24-72 hours of a critical incident and involves a trained facilitator who guides participants through a series of questions and exercises designed to help them process their emotions and reactions to the event.


Critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) is a group intervention process aimed at reducing the negative effects of exposure to traumatic events. The goal of CISD is to help individuals deal with the emotional aftermath of a traumatic event and prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).



CISD is a structured process that involves a trained facilitator leading a group of individuals through a debriefing session. The session typically takes place within 24-72 hours of the traumatic event and lasts for 2-4 hours. During the session, individuals are encouraged to talk about their experiences and emotions related to the incident. The facilitator provides support, validation, and information on normal reactions to traumatic events.


Traumatic events can have a significant impact on an individual's mental health. Research has shown that exposure to traumatic events can lead to depression, anxiety, and PTSD. CISD provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals to express their emotions and discuss their experiences. This can help individuals cope with the emotional aftermath of the event and reduce the risk of developing PTSD.


Traumatic events can also have a significant impact on organizations. CISD can help organizations manage the impact of traumatic events on their employees and improve organizational functioning. Research has shown that organizations that provide CISD to their employees have lower rates of absenteeism and turnover.


PTSD is a serious mental health condition that can develop after exposure to traumatic events. CISD can help prevent the development of PTSD by providing individuals with the support and information they need to cope with the emotional aftermath of the event. Research has shown that individuals who receive CISD have lower rates of PTSD than those who do not.




CISM | CISD Group Intervention London Ontario




Examples:


1. CISD after a natural disaster.


After a natural disaster, Critical Incident Stress Debriefings can help individuals cope with the emotional aftermath of the event. For example, after Hurricane Katrina, CISD was provided to first responders and community members. This helped individuals cope with the trauma of the event and prevent the development of PTSD.


2. CISD after a workplace shooting.


After a workplace shooting, Critical Incident Stress Debriefings can help organizations manage the impact of the event on their employees. For example, after the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, CISD was provided to students and staff. This helped individuals cope with the trauma of the event and improve organizational functioning.


3. CISD after a terrorist attack.


After a terrorist attack, Critical Incident Stress Debriefings can help individuals cope with the emotional aftermath of the event. For example, after the 2015 Paris attacks, CISD was provided to first responders and community members. This helped individuals cope with the trauma of the event and prevent the development of PTSD.


CISD is an important intervention that can help individuals cope with the emotional aftermath of traumatic events while improving organizational functioning and preventing the development of PTSD. The importance of CISD cannot be overstated, and organizations should consider implementing Critical Incident Stress Debriefings as part of their emergency preparedness plans.


Another key component of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is Psychological First Aid (PFA), a set of interventions designed to help individuals cope with the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event. PFA involves a range of techniques, such as active listening, reassurance, and referral to mental health services, that are designed to help individuals feel safe and supported in the aftermath of a traumatic event.




CISB | Kintsugi Counselling


CISM is also used to help organizations manage the psychological impact of critical incidents on their employees and stakeholders. Organizations can use CISM to develop policies and procedures that support the mental health and well-being of their employees, as well as to provide training and education on how to recognize and respond to critical incidents.


Critical Incident Stress Management is an essential tool for individuals and organizations dealing with the aftermath of traumatic events. By providing a structured and supportive environment for individuals to process their experiences, CISM can help reduce stress and anxiety, promote resilience, and support recovery. CISM can help individuals and organizations cope with the psychological impact of critical incidents such as workplace accidents and move forward towards healing and recovery.


Kintsugi Counselling offers fully trained CISM facilitators who are experienced in providing Critical Incident Stress Debriefings and Psychological First Aid in a range of settings including workplaces, Indigenous communities, first responder units, sports clubs, community organizations, and schools.

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