Critical Incident Stress Debriefing—CISD

Piyali Misquitta, MA Clinical Psychology

CISD (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing) was conducted at the  office of a software company in Pune by Piyali Misquitta. A team of 15 members were present for the debriefing, including Lynette Nazareth (CGP) and a representative from the HR department. The session was planned in response to the unexpected death of a young team member three days before the session. 

The stress debrief began with an overview of basic guidelines which established the tone of the session, with an emphasis on confidentiality. Next, the facts of the incident were elicited from the team members, and most shared what they knew. This facilitated an understanding of the members who were most impacted by the incident, as well as clarifying the facts of the incident for everyone present at the session. 

Reactions to the incident were elicited from the group, focusing on the distressing thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. The use of standardised scales for trauma and general health aided the discussion. The group then moved to the educational aspect of the session. The emphasis on this session was on validating the experiences of different people within the group, and acknowledging that distressing and unusual reactions are expected in highly stressful and unusual situations like present one. In addition, members were advised self-care and to prevent avoidance of anxiety-related events. A Quality of Life Scale helped identify areas in their life that needed attention. 

A report of the scores was handed to the members at the end of the session. Members with high distress levels were advised to seek personal counselling.