We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Critical Incident Stress Debriefing?

By Emma Lloyd
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Critical incident stress debriefing is a process which provides help and support for people who have been through a traumatic incident. These incidents can produce extreme emotional stress, and may prevent people from functioning normally after the incident is over. The goal with critical incident stress debriefing is to help people who undergo trauma to return to their normal lives as soon as possible.

The critical incident stress debriefing model provides trauma victims with a way of talking through and dealing with the trauma they have encountered. Many different types of trauma are supported with this model, and the range of traumatic experiences is extensive. People who receive this type of counseling may have been through the trauma of a terrorist incident, natural disaster, or serious accident; may have a friend or partner who died in the line of duty; or may have been involved in an incident which received intense coverage from the media.

The nature of critical incident stress debriefing therapy offered to trauma victims depends on the type of trauma they have suffered and the nature of the event which caused it. Debriefing may be a one-on-one session or a group therapy session, again depending on the nature of the incident. For example, if the incident was a natural disaster or other event involving many people, group debriefing sessions are more likely to be held.

Victims of trauma will usually go through three critical incident stress debriefing steps. The first step is called defusing, and occurs immediately following the traumatic incident, ideally before the person involved has slept. During this session, the goal is to provide reassurance and let the person know that they may experience symptoms of extreme stress over the following days. At this stage people involved in the incident are supplied with an emergency contact number they can call if they need someone to talk to about their feelings and symptoms.

The second step in the process is the debriefing itself, and usually occurs within three days of the incident. During the debriefing session individuals or a group of people talk about the incident and how they have been affected. In a group session, they are encouraged to share stories of the incident and talk about possible coping strategies. In addition, people undergoing a debriefing are given advice about adapting their lifestyle following the event. For example, they will be advised to take time off work if necessary, and give themselves plenty of time to heal.

The third and final step is a follow-up session which is usually brief and is carried out the day after the debriefing. In this session individuals are assessed to ensure that they are coping well, and are given contact information for counseling or support groups if needed. Overall, the entire process is designed to reassure victims of trauma that their feelings following the event are normal, and that they have the means to heal.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.