Dean of Students Office

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team

The UW-Whitewater and Community Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team is prepared to assist your organization, company, school or community group in response to traumatic incidents.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing is a structured process conducted for a group of people who have experienced a traumatic event. Research has shown that the benefits of such a debriefing include:

  • a quicker return to normal functioning
  • reduced stress and anxiety
  • greater productivity
  • fewer days lost to illness
  • increased morale in groups
  • prevention of accidents

The goals of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing are:

  • to return individuals to their pre-crisis level of functioning
  • to help participants identify and manage their normal reactions to the incident
  • to stabilize the situation and reduce any continued negative impact of the incident

The UW-Whitewater and Community Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team is a combined effort of the University and members of the larger Whitewater community. The team offers its services to all groups at no charge.

What is the CISD Process?

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing is a process which helps people return to their pre-crisis level of functioning as soon as possible. The process typically takes place between 48 and 72 hours after a traumatic incident and involves anyone affected by the incident.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing is a two to three hour group process which is facilitated by trained members of the team. Participants are people who witnessed or are affected by the critical incident, and group size is typically between five and twenty people. If more people are interested, separate debriefing sessions could be offered.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing is not psychotherapy, long-term therapy or immediate crisis intervention. However, members of the CISD team can provide referrals to those resources.

What Kinds of Events or Incidents Require Debriefing?

Debriefing can be helpful after any sudden or unusual event which causes stress and which can overwhelm the usually effective coping skills of people. In our community such incidents might include accidents, natural disasters, fires, industrial incidents, crimes of violence, personal injury or major illness or death of a peer or colleague.

Who Utilizes Critical Incident Stress Debriefing?

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing can be beneficial for anyone who has been affected by a traumatic incident. This can include people who have been part of the incident, as well as witnesses to the incident, or friends and family members of those involved. It is particularly helpful for groups of people who commonly interact together such as classes, clubs, teams, or groups of people who share a common workplace, school, or activity.

Who Makes Up the UW-W and Community CISD Team?

The UW-Whitewater and Community CISD Team is composed of mental health professionals, emergency services personnel, clergy, UW-Whitewater students and staff, and people from local education and industry. All team members have been trained to conduct debriefing sessions on campus and within the community.

Although a wide variety of people serve on the team, a typical debriefing would involve a team of four to six people and would include a mental health professional and other team members who can relate to the participants.

For Further Information

For further information or to arrange for a debriefing, contact Sandi Scott Duex by email at duexs@uww.edu or by phone at (262) 472-5275.

Or contact Mary Beth Mackin by email at mackinm@uww.edu or by phone at (262) 472-1533. Outside of normal business hours, contact the Whitewater Police Dispatch Center at (262) 473-0555. Members of the team are also available to provide informational presentations to community groups, clubs, and businesses.