Psychological debriefing is a popular crisis intervention designed to attenuate acute distress and prevent posttraumatic psychopathology following exposure to traumatic events, including terrorist attacks. Despite a flourishing “debriefing industry,” there is no convincing evidence that it diminishes the incidence of posttraumatic psychopathology. Most studies indicate that trauma-exposed persons who receive debriefing fare no better than those who do not. More ominously, other studies reveal that debriefing actually impedes natural recovery from the effects of trauma. These disappointing have prompted the development of screening methods to identify those most at risk for posttraumatic psychopathology, and the development of alternative early treatment methods. These new approaches are discussed.
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