For an excellent article on using TFT to relieve the significant trauma that can be experienced by 911 emergency dispatchers, click here.
The article was written by Jim McAninch, Executive Director of Your Solution for Stress, www.yoursolutionforstress.com. Jim is a veteran who has worked as a journeyman tradesman in the steelworker union for thirty years. He has been a certified employee assistance professional (CEAP) for over twenty-six years, is a certified trauma responder (CTR) and past executive board member of the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists. Jim has been a board member of Pittsburgh’s Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team for 20 years. He is also a member of the Ethics committee of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP), a member of the Research committee of the Thought Field Therapy (TFT) Foundation, and currently co-chairs the TFT Foundation’s trauma relief committee.
911 dispatchers are a unique group, for they are the first responders. They are the first ones to connect with the individuals or groups with an emergency need. They must take the information, figure out the need and then relay that information to the proper responders with the correct location in seconds.
There is no room for error for they are dealing with life and death situations. Like the military and their special operations individuals; they are a challenging group to gain entry into.
With the development of CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) procedure and CISM teams working with the various responder groups, the value of this to the members was being recognized. Unfortunately the dispatchers we’re not included in these groups because they were not at the scene of the incident and it was felt that they were not affected by the event.
A number of years ago, I was called in to help with a crisis that had occurred within the northern zone of the Pittsburgh call center. On the northern zone’s weekend off, the team’s group leader/mentor and his wife were killed in a tragic car crash. The crew members were unaware of the incident until reporting to work. The whole crew was impacted by the event and unable to safely work on the screens.
The Chief Administrative Officer for Allegheny County requested immediate help from Pittsburgh’s CISM team. I was available and I went in to assess the need and give them what I was trained in regarding crisis intervention.