Warning issued for trauma debriefing.
Most published studies show that people who are debriefed individually or in groups just after a trauma fare no better than do those who aren't debriefed, say psychologist Richard J. McNally of Harvard University and his colleagues. No evidence exists that debriefing reduces the incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder, and some investigations suggest that debriefing distorts the natural course of psychological healing after a severe trauma, the scientists remark.
"For scientific and ethical reasons, professionals should cease compulsory debriefing of trauma-exposed people," the researchers conclude. They don't preclude the technique for those who request it, however.
For those who don't, the scientists say, cognitive-behavioral treatment delivered weeks or months after a traumatic event shows promise as a way to improve psychological adjustment. This technique focuses on reliving the trauma through imagination, addressing distorted beliefs about the trauma, and learning ways to relax.--B.B.
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|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Dec 20, 2003|
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