Q: What is Critical Incident Stress Debriefing?

A: CISD (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing) and CISR (Critical Incident Stress Resiliency) are processing techniques that help individuals and groups deal with grief, trauma and/or stress. Typically in a workplace, CISD and CISR would be done with a group of individuals who were directly impacted by an event, witnessed an event or who have expressed an interest in participating in counseling. Examples of events may be the loss or injury of an individual, or a workplace trauma where no one is physically injured but people are emotionally impacted or a work place layoff.

Q: How would CISD and/or CISR help my company?

A: A CISD or CISR may last anywhere from 30 min to several hours. Often, a time frame of 45 min to 75 minutes might be the most useful. In most cases, a supervisor/director or human resources individual would contact us requesting a CISD (or CISR) for company employees. PSC staff would gather basic information about the event and the impact on individuals and the company. When an event has just unfolded, it is common for individuals to not be fully attuned to their own thoughts and feelings regarding this event. In light of that, sometimes a CISD or CISR may need to be scheduled a day or more past the event, so that processing what has happened can have it's greatest benefit.

Individuals process grief, stress and trauma differently. Some individuals or groups benefits from talking directly about the experience and the impact on themselves. In those situations, CISD style processing may prove to be very useful and can be a cathartic and healing experience. Other individuals benefit more from exploring how to be resilient and work on self care with supporting one another so they can return to a normal (or manageable) routine at work and in their private lives. Those individuals or groups may benefit from a CISR style processing that focuses more on resiliency and less of debriefing the trauma. Given adequate information regarding the individuals or group's personality, PSC may be able to make a recommendation on which approach may be more useful for the work setting. PSC staff may use a blend of CISD or CISR techniques to help with both a catharsis and resiliency focus in dealing with an event.