Critical Incident Stress Management

Critical Incident Stress Management usually refers to the immediate (but sometimes delayed) aftercare for those actually or potentially affected by a traumatic event. Following an unusually stressful or traumatic event, a person may experience a host of reactions that are normal but distressing. Debriefing is when the person gives his or her account of the event to a counselor or trained debriefer, and it is a primary strategy used to help decrease both the impact and the possible long-term effects on a person, as well as to speed recovery. It is common for a person to have a need to repeat their story in an effort to process it. Stress management strategies, support and other relevant information are also provided. This type of intervention is often used with front-line emergency workers, such as the police, fire fighters, and others who are helping with crisis situations, as well as with direct victims or witnesses of traumatic events.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of therapy that has been demonstrated by many research studies to be the most effective approach for a variety of psychological problems, including those related to stress and trauma. The therapy relationship is collaborative and goal-oriented, and the focus on thoughts, beliefs, assumptions and behaviors is key. In CBT, the goal is for a person to develop more realistic and rational perspectives, and make healthier behavioral choices, as well as to feel relief from negative emotional states. Specific techniques, strategies and methods are used to help people to improve their mood, relationships and work performance.

Schema Therapy is similar to cognitive therapy in that the focus is on correcting problems in a person’s habitual patterns of thinking and feeling, and corresponding difficulties in his or her behavioral coping style. These may have a variety of causes, including trauma or stressful environmental circumstances. The focus is on identifying and understanding, and then challenging and overcoming the long-standing maladaptive patterns in thinking, feeling and behavior that create obstacles for a person in getting needs met and attaining life goals. As with standard CBT, the goal is for the person to feel better and enjoy greater life satisfaction.

CTA is a network of experienced therapists in the NY metro area who provide Cognitive Therapy and Schema-Focused Therapy. To inquire about an appointment, please call us at 212-258-2577.

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