Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

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CISD and PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that causes constant fear, nightmares, anxiety, paranoia, and constant disturbing thoughts. It is caused by witnessing or experiencing traumatic events and not being able to cope with the emotions afterwards. PTSD affects many people but war veterans, those that have seen trauma, had a near death experience, and people that were sexually and/or physically abused are most likely to suffer from the disorder. Symptoms usually develop within three months after a traumatic event, but sometimes there is no sign of PTSD until years later. The disorder is treated with either medication or psychotherapy (Staff, 2014). A popular but controversial therapy is Critical Incident Stress…show more content…
For this treatment, patients have to process, discuss, and reflect on the event close to or on the site of the event within 24 to 72 hours. This type of therapy tries to prevent PTSD by having the patient deal with their emotions and feelings right after the event rather than facing their issues months after the event (Davis, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing From a Traumatic Event, 2013). Research has shown that patients that go through the CISD treatment experience less severe reactions to the trauma. Those that do not receive the treatment have a higher chance of developing PTSD (Davis, Providing Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) to Individuals and Communities, 1998). According to Lilienfeld, CISD makes patients discuss negative emotions and the process interrupts the natural healing process after experiencing trauma (Lilienfeld, 60). Experts say that CISD can actually be more harmful to patients because they are forced to relive and discuss traumatic events before they can even process what happened for themselves. Research shows that CISD patients are more likely to suffer from depression rather than PTSD (Strange, 2013). Rather than using CISD to treat patients, there are other, maybe even better methods to…show more content…
In one experiment for exposure therapy, patients had to undergo ten sessions. In the first five, patients had to discuss every aspect of the event and then later had to listen to the audiotapes of the session and journal how they felt. In the last five sessions, patients had to experience their stressors and talk through their fears and what makes them afraid. Exposure therapy helps patients understand their fears to later on face them. In another experiment for cognitive restructuring, patients had to self-identify negative thoughts, feelings, and create rational thoughts. Their homework was to identify negative thoughts, journal them, and create positive, rational ones. This helps patients rationalize their fears and consciously understand that their fears cannot control their lives. Combining the two therapies is very beneficial because when making patients rationalize fears and then face them, they are able to heal and overcome their fears and limitations (Marks, et al,

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