Lohr and colleagues Katherine M. Newbold and Richard Gist evaluated a discredited but well publicized approach that was used for a time by the FBI to debrief employees who had been involved in potentially traumatic situations.
CISD, sometimes known as Critical Incident Stress Management, is used worldwide to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder, although it lacks scientific validation, the researchers wrote. As evidence has mounted questioning the efficacy of CISD, the World Health Organization and governmental bodies in Great Britain and Australia have recommended against routine use of debriefing in crisis situations.
The CISD approach assumes that “exposure to ostensibly traumatic life events is a sufficient precursor for the development of psychological symptoms that can readily grow to pathological proportions,” the researchers wrote. Additionally, CISD is based on the notion that early intervention involving some element of emotional release is all that is needed to prevent such serious outcomes as PTSD. Neither of these assumptions passes the tests of science, according to Lohr and his colleagues.
The researchers identified ways in which CISD conforms to the five criteria that identify a pseudoscience.
First, like other pseudosciences, CISD promotes its product through persuasion, rather than by objective measures of effectiveness.
Second, when pressed, CISD proponents will offer their own supposedly scientific analysis of the system, but on investigation, their studies show serious flaws and “strongly suggest that their function is to deflect the impact of independent studies.”
Third, CISD proponents share an opposition to skeptical inquiry typical of pseudosciences. While scientists engage in the process of inquiry, the efforts of pseudoscientists center on the “capacity to secure and maintain believers,” the researchers wrote.
Fourth, pseudoscience avoids rigorous testing. Not only does it begins with the assumption that theories and techniques are adequate and “even venerable,” the researchers wrote, “Its objective is to prove their accuracy and benefit.”
Fifth, pseudoscientific endeavors consistently resist self-correction, as did the CISD unit at the FBI for a time.
“CISD is not the only option” when people have been involved in a crisis situation, Lohr said. “Other scientifically validated approaches are available, such as the guidelines and reviews developed by the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health in 2007.”
The researchers noted that it is possible to make an assessment of those who need further help through simple, non-intrusive instruments for screening, such as the Trauma Screening Questionnaire, that have shown “high sensitivity, specificity and screening efficiency.” One strength of these scientifically verified methods is that they can be used in health settings or for self-screening and self-referral.
The researchers concluded that the use of CISD involves issues of ethical principles and conduct for mental health professionals: “The influence of nonscience, junk science, and pseudoscience raises major ethical implications for mental health practice in its entirety, with professional psychology providing a particularly well-placed example of our concerns.”
Lohr is a professor of psychology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. Newbold is retired from the FBI and teaches criminal justice at Illinois Valley Community College. Gist is on the research faculty in the department of preventative medicine at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Their article “Apprehended Without Warrant: Issues of Evidentiary Warrant for Critical Incident Services and Related Trauma Interventions in a Federal Law Enforcement Agency” was published in the October issue of Criminal Justice and Behavior.CONTACTS:
Barbara Jaquish | Newswise Science News
WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News