Cochrane review: debriefings useless and possibly harmful

Submitted by myraidgoups on May 2, 2008 - 8:45am.

The Cochrane library has just published their review of the evidence regarding psychological debriefing for preventing post traumatic stress disorder. Their conclusion is interesting to say the least:
There is no evidence that single session individual psychological debriefing is a useful treatment for the prevention of post traumatic stress disorder after traumatic incidents. Compulsory debriefing of victims of trauma should cease. A more appropriate response could involve a 'screen and treat' model.

This plays havoc with the received wisdom and common practice in many aid organisations that mandates such debriefings as a routine measure. We might be doing the wrong thing here...

Cheers,
Michael

Submitted by jcravens42 on May 2, 2008 - 5:45pm.

I've heard many people recently talking about re-victimizing/re-traumatizing people who have been through traumas (rapes, physicial assaults, etc.) simply by questioning them about their experience, however well-intentioned. Would be interesting to read about the alternative approaches that would least-harm the traumatized person and get the organization the information it needs following such events.

Might make a great advice page.... any volunteers out there who would like to take it on?

<><><><>
Jayne Cravens
www.coyotecommunications.com/development/
Bonn, Germany

Submitted by myraidgoups on May 9, 2008 - 8:34am.

... alternative approaches that would least-harm the traumatized person and get the organization the information it needs following such events.

I would look at it from another angle: how to avoid (further) harming the person and get the organisation as much information as possible -- the difference being that 'do no harm' should be the first priority and getting the information only second. Even 'least harm' is too much in my view.

Full disclosure: I have been on the wrong side of a well-meaning but very clumsy attempted debriefing after a security incident, so I bring some luggage with me here.

Cheers,
Michael

Submitted by umakant on February 2, 2011 - 2:01pm.

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