ICISF Events & Partner Events
Articles of the Week: 6/04/12
This research identifies important themes in critical incident stress management from a social work perspective. Fifteen social workers responded to an advertisement in the national professional newsletter asking about social workers' recent experiences of critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) as an intervention. Their preferred models of critical incident stress management (CISM) were then discussed. Thirteen participants were interviewed, ten of whom had the dual experience as a debriefer and as a social worker who had been debriefed following a “critical event.” Those who had dual experience of facilitating debriefings and being debriefed, commented from both sets of experience. There was overwhelming support for Mitchell's model of CISM. The social workers interviewed thought Mitchell's seven staged model of CISD as an intervention needed to be offered within an integrated CISM policy that could be adapted to the specific field of social work in which the participant was working. Strengths-based principles were considered important to build into a CISM policy with debriefing being an option rather than a compulsory organizational support. The role of individual ongoing clinical supervision was seen as an essential part of an integrated CISM policy complementing the provision of CISD through an ongoing relationship.
As we all know, the IMO Marine Shipping Circular 1334 requires the Master to conduct a Psychological Trauma Debriefing. For those of you, who have missed this important guideline the exact wording, is as follows:
Post Incident Follow Up; the ship-owner should be aware that the seafarer may suffer from trauma or similar condition after being victimized under an attack from pirates or armed robbers. An important first step in reducing the risk from trauma is for masters to debrief crew immediately after the attack or release of a vessel in order to get crew to confront their experiences.
Conducting a good and robust debriefing requires not only skills, but specific and essential training. Therefore it seems unrealistic just to expect that all Master, owners, SSO and CSO are capable to arrange and conduct a psychological debriefing. There are many aspects in obtaining the correct debriefing technique and worst case would be the contrary outcome, which could damage more and definitely not support the individual seafarer, who is in need for a mind-clarification after having been subject to a piracy attack – or more realistically a serious accident.
There is much more to a psychological debriefing than just recapping a series of events. Letting steam out, building a common picture and applying psychological support to the crew-members are just some of the essential elements and the most optimal debriefing consist of 6 structured phases, which should be known to each de-briefer. These phases are; Introduction, facts, thoughts, emotional, support and termination.
However, looking at the maritime industry it is difficult to find training or courses, where debriefing techniques are included.
The benefit of Psychological Debriefing Technique training is also visible in any severe post-accident case.