Critical Incident Debriefing

Critical Incident Debriefing or CID is a highly structured form of personal debriefing, which can take place after a traumatic experience (such as a natural disaster, a violent incident, or a traffic accident).

These types of incidents can generate profound emotion, impact on present or future skills, and often surpass coping skills and evoke stress in any normal healthy person. The effects can result in perceptual distortions, shock and disruption, emotional numbing, hostility and anger, fear, depression, isolation, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, sleep difficulties, guilt, anxiety, loss of interest, loss of enthusiasm and emotional conflict.

Debriefing staff on either a one to one basis, or more commonly on a group following an incident has been found to be very beneficial.

Studies have shown that only 7% of personnel reported having intrusive thoughts of a clinical severity when they were followed up (using anonymous questionnaires) approximately 14 months after receiving debriefing. This compares to 24% of workers who received no debriefing.

Likewise only 7% of debriefed personnel reported clinically significant levels of avoidance compared with 25% of the comparison group. 40% reported that there had been a noticeable positive change following debriefing. No one reported a negative change.

Using a carefully structured model provides a starting place, we ensure the most important aspects are discussed. We prevent deeper issues (from the past) becoming the main focus, and stop the session from becoming a counselling session. Structure provides people with a sense of security, they know what to expect. It leads to a gentle ‘step down’ into discussion of the more emotional aspects surrounding any incident, and then ‘climbing back up’ so that the session ends by thinking about support and the future.
At The Romney Centre we aim to provide a fast effective response allocating professional debriefers within hours of the request for help. In addition to the debriefing itself we can arrange counselling and or Therapy for Post Traumatic Stress.