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Best Practice In Responding To Critical Incidents And Potentially Traumatic Experience Within An Organisational Setting

Carole Adamson

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This chapter addresses best practice for organisational support after critical incidents and traumatic events within social work. Critical incidents are situations and incidents within workplace settings or roles, which, whilst able to be anticipated and planned for, have the potential to create a sense of emergency, crisis, and extreme stress, or have a traumatic impact on those directly or indirectly affected. Alongside the notion of critical incidents are concepts of debriefing, psychological debriefing, critical incident stress debriefing (CISD), and critical incident stress management (CISM). Debate about debriefing models has concerned their effectiveness and safety; the terms being loaded with meaning and tensions between scientific and holistic paradigms and between academic and practitioner perspectives. The chapter suggests areas of research and exploration for agency managers and senior practitioners wishing to make sense of the debates and enables the reader to consider best practice for critical incident response within organisational settings.