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Critical Incident Stress De-Briefing




De-Briefing after a Stressful Incident

Any event that causes an unusually intense stress re-action can be called a Critical Incident. People react in many different ways to such events and the distress experienced can limit their ability to work effectively, impairing their ability to adjust and negatively impacting the work environment. Examples of such traumatic events in Afghanistan include:

  • Close proximity to a bomb explosion
  • An attack on familiar premises – either where the person was at the time, or the person knows the people who were there at the time
  • A co-worker’s [or friend’s] death, serious accident or kidnapping
  • A violent or threatening incident in the work place or accommodation setting
  • A natural or man-made disaster or
  • Any incident that affects the worker’s [or a team’s] ability to function normally

De-briefing after a Stressful Incident is different from counseling or therapy.

Handled professionally, debriefing after a Stressful Incident enables people to return to work as quickly as possible with greater understanding of themselves and of others of their team who were also involved in the Traumatic Incident.

Ideally, De-briefing after a Stressful Incident should take place within 24 to 72 hours following an incident. However, it has still been found to be beneficial if conducted outside of that ‘window’ – but as soon as possible after a Traumatic Incident.

How Does it Work?

  • For a team involving, say, 6 people, a De-brief after a Stressful Incident should be planned for no less than 4 hours – undisturbed – in a comfortable, private room, with refreshments available
  • For larger groups, a whole day needs to be set aside. Any who say, “I’m fine – I don’t need help” should be encouraged to see themselves as part of the process of helping their team/co-workers come through the incident strongly together.

What Are the Benefits?

  • Helps prevent the development of ‘PTSD’
  • Keeps people in post
  • Demonstrates practical care by the employer for employees at an acutely vulnerable time
  • Builds team consciousness and cohesion in a time of loss or a stressful incident
  • Gets an organisation back on its feet by helping individuals adjust to a new ‘normal’ in abnormal circumstances

What Do We Provide?

  • Fully qualified and Afghan-context experienced professionals
  • A specially trained Afghan interpreter should the team or individuals be Dari- or Pushto-speaking
  • A report to management advising on any recommended follow-up action whilst safeguarding confidentiality promised to the participants.


Our Credentials:

Peter and Barbie Reynolds are fully trained and experienced in the Stress De-briefing procedure having been trained by the Edinburgh International Health Centre [UK]. They founded and ran a UK-Government-funded, nationwide Bereavement Support network that has grown and is still very successfully operational. Peter and Barbie Reynolds have, now, lived in Afghanistan for the past 11 years and have carried out many Stress De-briefs for organisations in Afghanistan and they understand, and are sensitive to, the Afghan context.

Rebuild Consultants is a registered service provider with ‘AETNA International’ for insurance purposes.