Disasters and incidents which cause devastating damage always result in intensive media coverage and extended public discussions. The high-speed train accident in Eschede, Germany, the avalanche incident in Galthür, Austria, the Concorde aircraft crash in Paris, the accident on the funicular train in Kaprun, Austria, and, above all, the terrorist attacks in the United States, are examples of such long-term discussions in the media. Apart from reporting on the extent of the disaster and its victims and causes, the media is also increasingly focusing its attention on helpers, members of rescue teams and other emergency service personnel. Discussing the consequences of such missions on the personal emotions of members of rescue teams, and the question of how to cope with such situations, have increasingly gained importance. This topic has also been discussed within rescue organisations and, thanks to such discussions, the self-image of these professional groups has changed. These discussions revealed that it is necessary to implement a special "method of treatment" for members of these professional groups. This method should be efficient and, at the same time, different from measures which are usually undertaken in psychotherapy. One of the methods, which fulfils these criteria and has been introduced in several organizations, is called Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).
What will participants learn?
In general, we can assume that members of certain professional groups, such as rescue services, firefighters, members of the police and the armed forces, pilots, and air traffic controllers are, due to their training, experience and personality, better prepared to cope with unusual situations than others who are not members of these professional groups. However, there are occurrences which reach beyond the normal, in other words, beyond the extended scope of experience of members of these professional groups. Such incidents may therefore have a considerable traumatising potential. In most cases, the individual’s coping strategies are not enough to fully cope with these critical incidents. It seems impossible for the person affected to re-assess the situation, and they cannot rely on their previous experience in order to be able to cope. These reactions are usually more intense and last for a longer period of time than normal. The goal of this course is to teach participants how to avoid post-traumatic stress disorder and reduce stress after traumatic events.
Who should attend?
All those who have major roles in crisis events.
Course participants must be proficient in English or German.