Psychological debriefing

“Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence” Peter A Levine

What is psychological debriefing? 

Psychological debriefing is a formal version of providing emotional and psychological support immediately following a traumatic event. It includes procedures that encourage and normalise emotional expression.

What is the goal?

The goal of psychological debriefing is to prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder and other negative consequences. Debriefing allows those involved with the incident to process the event and reflect on its impact psychologically, physically and emotionally.

How does it work?

Psychological debriefing interventions involve a single session which might last between one and three hours, in the days immediately following a traumatic event.

How do you know if you need psychological debriefing? 

If you have experienced any form of trauma, we recommend that you have trauma debriefing. Waiting until you become overwhelmed by the after-effects of trauma is more difficult to deal with. Some of the long term consequences of trauma that is not dealt with include on-going nightmares, anxiety attacks, hypervigilance, flashbacks etc. Psychological debriefing helps to reduce these aftereffects helping you heal more quickly.

Various types of trauma include: 

  • Natural disasters
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Physical Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Medical Injury, illness, or procedures
  • Community violence
  • Neglect, deprivation
  • Traumatic grief
  • Victim of crime
  • Kidnapping
  • Accidents
  • School violence
  • Loss
  • Terrorist attack

Healing effects of trauma debriefing 

  • It re-establishes hope. 
  • It facilitates a return to normalcy. 
  • It provides a safe space for talking, venting and emotional release. 
  • It provides information – which will improve the healing process