Infographic Text: How to Give Psychological First Aid
Approach the individual.
- Introduce yourself and state any organization you might be affiliated with.
- Be polite and professional—remember to say please and thank you.
- Find a safe, private place to talk if possible.
Stabilize their emotions.
- Communicate in a calm, warm tone. The person might be in shock, so you may need to repeat yourself at times.
- Offer to guide them through some grounding exercises, such as taking slow, deep breaths.
- Ask for permission before you hug or touch them.
Serve their needs.
- Ask the person what they need. Don’t assume what their priorities are.
- If they don’t know what they need, offer practical support, such as a blanket or water.
- Help them find any missing family members or friends.
Inform them of the facts.
- Give them concrete information about the incident and any relief efforts under way.
- Don’t make false promises. Avoid generalizations such as “everything will be okay.”
- Be honest if you don’t know the answer to a question.
Support their story.
- Respect the person’s privacy. Don’t pressure them into recounting their trauma or sharing personal details.
- Allow the person to assign whatever spiritual or religious meaning they wish toward the crisis.
- Let them cry or go silent if they need to.
Turn them toward further services.
- Direct survivors to the nearest relief station. Do not force them if they are not ready to move yet.
- Give them written contact information for long-term services, such as trauma counseling.
- Remember children may need extra direction and care.
- About PFA. (n.d.). The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2pY5z51
- Psychological first aid for first responders [PDF]. (n.d.). SAMHSA. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2NKy0Bb
- Snider, L., van Ommeren, M. & Schafer, A. (n.d.). Psychological first aid: Guide for field workers. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2ZzKmSP
© Copyright 2019 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.