TRAINING IN PSYCHOSOCIAL AND SPIRITUAL SUPPORT
Training in this field should be treated by :
- founding principles of communication (active listening, empathic understanding, interviewing techniques, etc.) ;
- basic knowledge concerning notions of : stress, acute reactions to factors of stress, acute stress, cumulative stress, professional exhaustion, PTSD, and adaptive disorders (with reaction recognition exercises) ;
- knowledge and experience of intervention techniques (welcome, demobilisation, defusing, debriefing, support interviews in limited sessions, follow-up and orientation towards other supports) exercised through role playing for example ;
- caring for the person with his/her own values, ideologies and beliefs as the starting point, especially concerning existential questions (notably the spiritual support) ;
- definition and recognition of emotions, work with/on emotions (those of the interlocutor as well as our own) ;
- recognition and consideration of the effects of the intervening professional's reactions on his/her family, colleagues, hierarchy and his/her organisation ;
- knowledge and experience of self-protection techniques as well as psychological hygiene.
To cover these contents, the training should last between 60 and 100 hours (theory classes, training, exercises, lectures and exams included). It is usually spread out over two years and organised in modules of variable lengths (from one to five days).
There are, however, three different types of intervening professionals :
Care givers (members of the Care Team)
These are first-aid workers trained in emergency psycho-social support for people victim of potentially traumatizing events. They offer emotional, practical and logistic support and orient the individuals towards professional care adapted to their needs. They are generally employees of specially-trained companies, their cursus can be shorter.
The Peers (members of support teams through the peers)
These are members of intervention forces or risk-based professional corps who have followed a training in psychosocial and spiritual support. Their interventions generally revolve around their own colleagues. In our conception, their training is equivalent to that of the specialists, since we can expect the same skills from them with the only difference being the supported population in question.
The specialists (members of psycho-social and spiritual support)
These are doctors, psychologists, chaplains, psychological nurses or other professionals from social or education fields, justifying complementary qualifications in their field.
At the training's term, the intervening professional should:
- know and be able to recognize the principal potential reactions (stress, acute reactions to factors of stress, acute stress, cumulative stress, professional exhaustion, PTSD and adaptive disorders) ;
- know at least one model of recognized psycho-social and spiritual support ;
- be capable of judiciously supporting his/her colleagues by applying various techniques of intervention
- support interviews in limited sessions,
- follow-up and orientation towards other sources of support,
- adequate communication (interview and support techniques) ;
- be able to apply techniques of stress reduction on himself/herself and his/her colleagues and to teach them within his/her organisation ;
- orient the direction of his/her organisation regarding the measures that need to be put in place for primary and secondary prevention (during and after a potentially traumatizing event) ;
- evaluate the impact of reactions on relations with family, colleagues, hierarchy and the organisation ;
- be capable of questioning himself/herself and involve himself/herself in intervisions and supervisions.
Formation des Associations Romandes et Tessinoise des Psychologues (FARP)
- module 1 : introduction to emergency psychology (6 days, 50 hours),
- module 2 : training for immediate psychological intervention (50 hours),
- module 3 : personal experience of stress management (14 hours).
Delegated to the FARP by the Swiss Federation of Psychologists, this training is for psychologists and health professionals. www.farp.ch
Office Protestant de Formation (OPF)
- Emergency spiritual assistance I (5 days),
- Emergency spiritual assistance II (5 days),
- Emergency spiritual assistance III (3 days),
Centre Romand de Soutien par les pairs (CRSP)
- psychosocial and spiritual support training (90 hours)
The RNAPU sometimes organises trainings. Such trainings can also be followed through other organisation in Switzerland and elsewhere.