Psychological Services

Defusing, Debriefing and Worker Support

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Defusing, Debriefing and Worker Support

These special techniques have been developed to assist recovery workers who have been affected by their experiences and have developed potential or actual traumatic stress, sometimes called critical incident stress. Debriefings may use structured methods by those with specific training whose aims are to ensure that the details of the experience are reviewed, together with the thoughts, emotions and behavioural reactions they have caused.
Services whose workers are offered debriefing include police, firefighters,
hospitals, nursing homes and community service agencies.
Debriefing has also been offered to victims, not only service personnel.
People affected by a disaster caused by known and expected hazards are more likely to benefit from debriefing than people who have not had any expectation of the trauma they have suffered and are in a traumatised,
distressed or disorganised state. In such cases it may be of assistance in a modified form as part of a network of other services.
Debriefing has come under critical scrutiny in recent times, as many inexperienced providers applying debrief packages have converged on disaster sites causing distress rather than mitigation of stresses. It is important to understand that no treatment is a panacea and that knowledgeable professional sensitive tailoring of good principles is more important than prescribed techniques.

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