No evidence to support psychological debriefing in schools

January 5, 2010

There is no evidence to support psychological debriefing in schools after traumatic events such as violence, suicides and accidental death, which runs counter to current practice in some Canadian school jurisdictions, according to a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Recent systematic reviews indicate that psychological debriefing of adults does not prevent and it may even increase the risk of this disorder. While there is little research on the effectiveness and safety of these interventions in schools, "the evidence clearly points to the ineffectiveness of these interventions in preventing post-traumatic stress disorder or any other psychiatric disorder in adults," write Magdalena Szumilas of the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health Team, Dalhousie University and coauthors.

Two programs, based on the empirically-supported principles of engendering feelings of safety, calmness, sense of self and community efficacy, connectedness and hope, show promise of effectiveness. Providing Psychological First Aid immediately after an incident and providing cognitive behavioural support for students with persistent distress weeks after a school trauma has ended may be helpful.

They urge that psychological debriefing not be performed after traumatic incidents in schools, and that more research is needed to assess psychological and mental health interventions prior to implementation in schools.

More information: http://www.cmaj.ca/embargo/cmaj091621.pdf

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freethinking
not rated yet Jan 05, 2010
I have been saying this for years. Perhaps I need to get in the psychological field. But like the joke goes, crazy people go into psychology to figure out whats wrong with them. After they graduate they still haven't figure it out, but now they council other crazy people.

(two people who I know who have either been committed, or comes from an extremely disfunctional home and is boarderline functional, have taken physcology courses, and one plans to be a physcologists.)

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