Treating trauma – Risks of debriefing after disaster

February 12, 2011

Talking through trauma after it’s happened will help, won’t it? It makes sense and sounds right for professionals to get in early and help us bear witness to our own trauma, doesn’t it?
Not necessarily…….

Floods, fires, cyclones and the anniversary of Black Saturday. Psychological debriefing is a technique aimed at helping us process traumatic events, so the emotional scars can heal not harm. To some the approach is discredited, ineffective and may even do damage – to others it can still have important role. Beyond the controversy, where does the field stand today?

Finding a strong evidence base for what to do in the hours and days after a traumatic event – a flood, a cyclone, a fire, a bombing, a rape, a car accident – presents significant challenges. Chaos doesn’t lend itself to systematic investigation and randomised controlled trials, for obvious reasons.

The issue of All in the Mind is a discussion about the potential benefits and drawbacks of ‘trauma debriefing’ and immediate psychological treatment link to podcast and also check out the blog To debrief or not to debrief after disasters? Updating an old debate

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