Research and Reviews

If you are looking into Critical Incident Stress Management research, I have some cautions for you.  First, what you will discover is that there is unfortunately a relatively small body of research and almost none that actually studied the Mitchell Model, now the ICISF Model, when properly applied.  

The Cochrane Reviews are frequently referenced and in fact to the best of my knowledge are the starting point of the “controversy”.  The problems with the Cochrane Reviews are outlined below.

The next thing to be aware of is that if you are reading material that is prior to 2009, they likely reference the Cochrane Review of 2002.  So, you need to be aware of the statement from the Cochrane Library in 2009, again, outlined below.  

If you are reading a review of the literature that is dated 2010 or later, then it should include at the very least an acknowledgement that the Cochrane Library walked back the criticism.  If the researcher you are reading didn’t find that document in their review, then who knows what else was missed.

Finally the “reviews of literature” have become such that they are feeding on themselves.  If someone were to take the time, I think a cycle of reliance on reviews of the same literature as sources would be uncovered.  All eventually landing back to a very few and very flawed studies where the model was not used properly.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that when something is used in a way it is not designed to be used, that an adverse outcome may result.

The Cochrane Reviews are frequently referenced.  Their information is not always easy to search or to find for people who don’t have access to research libraries.  Hence I am making a copy available here.  All credit to the authors.

You will note on page 10 (page 12 of the PDF) of  Psychological debriefing for preventing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Review) the following statements:

“1. At present the routine use of single session individual debriefing
in the aIermath of individual trauma cannot be recommended in
either military or civilian life. The practice of compulsory debriefing
should cease pending further evidence.”

 “2. We are unable to comment on the use of group debriefing, nor the
use of debriefing after mass traumas. We are also unable to make
recommendations about the use of debriefing in children.”

Regarding point #1, this is 100% consistent with the ICISF model in that there is never a “single session individual debriefing” and compulsory Critical Incident Stress Debriefings (CISD) have NEVER been a part of the ICISF model.  

Regarding point #2, it really speaks for itself.

If you are interested, I urge you to read the paper.  Download it here: Psychological debriefing for preventing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Review)

This paper examines the Cochrane Reviews and their adherence to their own standards of research.  

Download it here:  Was Psychological Debriefing Dismissed Too Quickly? An Assessment of the 2002 Cochrane Review