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In previous blogs we’ve looked at the history of critical incident stress management (CISM) as well as some of the components of CISM, like debriefing, you’ll learn in our critical incident training and development courses.

In this blog, we’d like to take a closer look at an element of CISM that may or may not be utilized during the deployment of a CISM: defusing. This activity differs from debriefing in some significant ways, but it’s definitely one of the most important things you’ll learn during critical incident training.

The First Level Of Critical Incident Counseling

In many critical incident training courses, defusing is taught as the first level of CISM. Defusing is typically utilized with smaller groups of affected persons, and must always be carried out within eight hours of the incident (i.e. before they have a chance to sleep).

Diffusion is a shortened version of debriefing, traditionally involving three phases instead of seven, and is not as structured.

3 Elements Of Diffusion During Critical Incident Counseling

  1. Normalization Of Feelings – “Your stress/anxiety/fear/depression in response to this event is normal and likely shared by others in our group.”
  2. Warnings About Symptoms Of PTSD – “Critical incidents such as this one affect people differently, and if you experience any of the following, it’s best to reach out to a professional.”
  3. Explanation Of Available Support Resources – “We have peer support specialists you can talk to as well as professional therapists. Here is how you can get in touch with them 24/7.”

Contact us to learn more about how our critical incident training can help you facilitate defusing in your own community.