A Quick Overview of Various Debriefing Techniques

Depending on the context in which they are utilized, debriefing techniques may take on different forms. While the basic goal of debriefing is to extract or divulge information to individuals after a specific event takes place, the methodology and intention behind the process can vary greatly. The basic types of debriefing sessions may be administered by military personnel, mental health personnel or impartial peers in an academic atmosphere.

Military Debriefing Techniques

Military personnel rely on debriefing sessions to gather information from soldiers as well as to emphasize unit cohesion and help unit members adjust to stressful incidents. Therefore, in addition to serving as educational sessions, military debriefings also aim to aid the cognitive functioning of the soldiers.

Military debriefings take place within the week following a military operation. This gives the troops ample time to recuperate. Military unit leaders are usually the individuals who lead the debriefing sessions. However, troops of any rank may participate in the session as long as they were involved in the operation. A typical group involved in a debriefing session usually has around 10 members. Larger groups may be broken down into smaller groups after introductory information is supplied by the unit leader.

During the course of the debriefing, soldiers introduce themselves or participate in icebreakers, a timeline of events is constructed to review experiences, potential anxiety symptoms are addressed and normalized, and then closing remarks are made. Information discussed in these debriefings is confidential.

Psychological Debriefing Techniques

Mental health personnel may employ debriefing techniques in an attempt to prevent individuals from experiencing short-term and long-term anxiety disorders following a traumatic event.

As with military debriefings, these sessions usually involve groups of roughly 10 members and take place in the days following the event in question. Trained personnel, who will lead the group through several phases, join the civilian members.

The phases of psychological debriefings are designed to clear up misconceptions surrounding the incident and allow the affected an opportunity to vent their emotions, share their reactions and learn information concerning anxiety disorders. Debriefings often take place in locations that are free from outside interruptions.

Peer Debriefing Techniques

Peer debriefing sessions help qualitative researchers gain credibility during their studies by subjecting their gathered information and methodology to the critique of impartial peers. In addition to establishing credibility, these sessions will help the researcher improve upon his own work.

The sessions occur regularly throughout the development of the research project. The researcher may be given the task of selecting a group of impartial peers. The peers then examine the researcher’s information and methodology before providing helpful feedback and asking questions. The researcher’s responses keep the cycle of constructive criticism in motion. The specifics regarding the structure, schedule and location of the sessions vary depending on the group’s decisions.

The different types of debriefing sessions serve different purposes, but each type utilizes techniques that involve the exchange and examination of experiences and information. Whether you are participating in a military operation, have been involved in a natural disaster, or are constructing a dissertation, specialized debriefing techniques can play a highly beneficial role.