Critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) is an intervention process made up of 7 specific phases that you can use on individuals and small groups following a crisis. It’s part of the much larger critical incident stress management (CISM) program and its purpose is to support people who have experienced a traumatic event by having a discussion related to that crisis. While CISD cannot substitute psychotherapy, every business owner should know how to train their team in order to be able to deal with such a situation. This is precisely what we’re going to teach you in today’s guide.
Training Your Team in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing
Phase 1: Introduction
The first phase contains the introductions and the description of the process, as well as the guidelines everyone should follow. The team leader should also motivate the other members to be active and participate in the CISD. Since this introduction will set the tone of the entire debriefing, you should make sure it’s effective and successful.
Phase 2: Facts
When talking about the facts, you should provide an overview, not go into a lot of details. In this phase, the members should start talking and describe the crisis. This is not the most important phase, but it is a mandatory one. It helps reduce anxiety and encourage people to open up. Everyone has the opportunity to speak during this phase, but they don’t have to if they feel like they can’t.
Phase 3: Thoughts
This is an important phase because it marks the transition from the cognitive area to the affective one. The team members will have to share their thoughts, more precisely the first thing that came into their minds when faced with the crisis or what their most prominent thought was. Again, people can choose to remain silent and not share with the group.
Phase 4: Reactions
This next phase is the most important one out of the entire critical incident stress debriefing process. Why? Because it’s focused on the impact the crisis had on the team members. People may show their emotions, since you’re going to focus on the worst part about the crisis for each member. At this point, members should feel even more encouraged and supported.
Phase 5: Symptoms
The purpose of this phase is to identify the symptoms triggered by the crisis situation, be they physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral. The team tries to identify symptoms that are common for people who have been exposed to a traumatic event.
Phase 6: Teaching
In this phase, the team members get an explanation for their symptoms. They get information about stress management and discuss any issue relevant for the situation.
Phase 7: Re-entry
This is the phase in which the team members are encouraged to ask questions or provide their conclusion for the debriefing. At this point, you should also summarize the topics discussed and provide any final information or guidance.
We hope today’s brief guide to CISD has provided you with the information you needed to train your team.
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