Debriefing (Psychological examination)

Definition: A systematic review of the group of impressions, thoughts and reactions to a critical event. The goal is to avoid unnecessary psychological after-effects and to strengthen the feeling of affinity. Debriefing (psychological examination) should not be confused with therapy or psychotherapy. However, it is an approach, which places special demands on the group leader, who should possess knowledge of the group methodology, group psychology, crisis intervention and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Both in Sweden and internationally there is a debate about the effect of early intervention, particularly about the effect of debriefing (psychological examination). It has not been scientifically confirmed that early interventions of this kind can reduce the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. Debriefing might on the other hand have positive effects on professional teams in defence, emergency services, police and medical care, such as strengthening the group. Therefore, this type of action primarily should be reserved for those groups. However, if there are individuals who shows very pronounced stress and/or depressive reactions, these people should be offered appropriate counseling. One consequence of the current research is that it is not recommended to use debriefing (psychological examination) regarding individuals who are not part of organized professional groups.