Critical Incident Stress Debriefing
Critical incidents are traumatic events that cause powerful emotional reactions in people who are exposed to those events. (CISM) Critical Incident Stress Management is an adaptive, short-term psychological process that focuses solely on an immediate and identifiable problem. CISM is designed to help people deal with a trauma by allowing them to talk about the incident without judgment or criticism.
The purpose of intervening is to enable employees to return to their daily routine more quickly and with less likelihood of experiencing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The type of intervention employed depends on the situation, the number of people involved, and their proximity to the event. In all cases of Critical Incident Stress Defusing/Debriefing, employees are screened to determine if additional professional assistance is warranted.
A defusing is organized to address the emotional trauma typically experienced following a critical incident. Discussing resources and the reactive symptoms commonly experienced with a knowledgeable professional has proven extremely beneficial to begin the healing process. Defusings are limited only to individuals directly involved in the incident and are often conducted informally, sometimes at the scene of the incident.
A debriefing is normally conducted within 24-72 hours of the incident, providing the individual or group the opportunity to talk about their experience. Participants, individually or as a group, are encouraged to discuss how the event has affected them and brainstorm coping mechanisms.
Often a defusing or debriefing is enough to put the employee back on track. However, following-up with all affected individuals is imperative to ascertain that all symptoms have been identified and addressed.