December Chaplains Meeting: Responding to Crisis and Trauma

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Earlier this month, CRC chaplains gathered to talk about caring for people experiencing crisis and trauma. In the meeting, chaplains shared helpful resources, programs, and trainings that they have found effective. Many insightful things were shared, but here are some highlights: 

Responding to trauma: 

  1. It can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of one model against another. Whichever model organizations use, it's important to have an official response as it shows the organization cares. It also gives validation and significance to traumatic events. 
  2. The goal is to help increase the ability of staff to function. 
  3. If you've also been traumatized, it's vital that you are not also leading the debriefing or response team. Allow another person to facilitate. 
  4. It’s easy to want to take on others’ pain, but chaplains cannot do this for everyone. It’s important to let that person’s trauma be that person’s trauma.
  5. Trauma has secondary and tertiary effects as it is shared. It is helpful to have a system where a survivor doesn’t need to give the details of the incident but instead focuses on how it affected them.

Questions raised:

  1. How do we continue to provide care for those traumatized beyond the initial crisis?
  2. How do we tailor appropriate responses to individuals and to groups? What are some guiding principles? 

Programs

Red Cross psychological first aid (PFA)

  • PFA app.
  • PFA for Caregivers (attachment)

RISE (Resilience in Stressful Events)

Several institutions are implementing RISE, including Johns Hopkins and Maryland Patient Safety.

CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management)

CISM is an intervention protocol developed specifically for dealing with traumatic events (CISM site). There have been a number of articles that have place CISM in disfavor in that there is not evidence-based practice that it is effective and it has not been subjected to the Gold standards of research. There have been other articles discussing the possibility of it re-traumatizing or triggering PTSD. It is not clear whether it falls within the practice of Trauma informed Care.

  • CISM Information Pamphlet (attachment)
  • CISM Brief handouts (attachment)
  • Stress Symptoms (attachment)

Mental Health First Aid

This training helps us to:

  • Assess for suicide risk
  • Listen non-judgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Trauma Informed Care

Alberta Health Services provides free computer modules for this training.

Other Resources

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