Critical Incident Stress Management, or CISM
CISM has multiple components that can be used before, during, and after a crisis. These components include but are not limited to:
- Pre-Crisis Preparation: This component involves helpful procedures that encourage stress management, crisis education, and crisis planning.
- Community Support Programs: Often referred to as “town meetings,” these programs support organizations, schools, and communities by providing structured opportunities for discussion and processing of disasters or events.
- Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD): CISD is a major component of the CISM crisis intervention system. Because critical incident stress management originated with the development of the CISD technique, the two terms are sometimes confused. CISD is not meant to be used as standalone intervention, but rather as a CISM technique for use with small groups. This seven-phase intervention attempts to mitigate traumatic stress, determine the need for further mental health treatment, and assemble a sense of psychological closure about an incident.
- Defusing: This three-phase technique is similar to CISD in that it is a group intervention, but it is more immediate in nature. Intended to take place within hours of the event, defusing involves confidential discussion groups that promote stabilization and prevention of traumatic stress.
- Other Crisis Interventions: Additional CISM components include one-on-one crisis counseling, crisis intervention for families, and aftercare follow up and referral procedures.