Tag Archives: CISM

Post traumatic event counseling: New research shows it doesn’t work and may make things worse

This week’s shooting incident in Lake City makes me glad that the Northfield School District has an Emergency & Crisis Management Plan, revised in 2010.

However, there’s one big problem with it.

Section 2.29 of the District’s plan, Post-Crisis Intervention Procedures, advises that district leaders consider interventions known as Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) or Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).

CISM is "designed to help people deal with their trauma one incident at a time, by allowing them to talk about the incident when it happens without judgment or criticism" (Wikipedia reference).

Redirect - The Surprising New Science of Psychological ChangeIt turns out, "CISD doesn’t do what it is supposed to do and may even prolong people’s distress," according to a new book I’m reading, Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change by Timothy D. Wilson, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. (See Timothy Wilson’s blog, follow him on Twitter, and see the book’s Facebook page.)

Neither Carleton College nor St. Olaf College have CSID as part of their crisis management plans but it’s evidently not by design, according to those I contacted. I think it’s safe to assume that if there were a traumatic event of some kind at the colleges, post traumatic event counseling would be made available.

I’ll invite some Northfield area psychologists, therapists and counselors to chime in here with their comments and questions in hopes that we all can get smarter about this issue and be better prepared should something bad happen.

Here’s an extended excerpt from Wilson’s book about CISD:

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