Are you interested in providing peer support during times of crisis or a critical event? Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is a widely used form of psychological first aid.
The program was developed by the founders of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), Dr. Jeffry Mitchell and Dr. George Everly.
What is CISM?According to the ICISF, Critical Incident Stress Management is a method of helping first responders and others who have been involved with events that leave them emotionally and/or physically affected by those incidents. CISM is a process that enables peers to help their peers understand problems that might occur after an event. This process also helps people prepare to continue to perform their services or in some cases return to a normal lifestyle. ICISF provides training for individuals interested in becoming a part of a crisis management team, or for an organization that is dedicated to helping individuals or groups recover from incidents.
Why is CISM Important?
Any incident or traumatic event (death, divorce, injury/illness, loss of job, etc.) that causes you to experience unusually strong emotional reactions has the potential to interfere with your ability to function at the time of the event or later.
The signs and symptoms of stress reaction may last a few days, a few weeks, or a few months and occasionally longer, depending on the severity of the traumatic event.
Occasionally, the traumatic event is so painful that professional assistance from a counselor is necessary. (This does not imply mental illness or weakness.) It simply indicates the event was so powerful a person may need additional help to speed the recovery process.