Critical Incident Debriefing Support

Critical incidents are an unfortunate feature of organisational life.  Incident Debriefing is a service available to every organisation in the suite of Employee Assistance Programs available with ACT Curious EAP.  Incident Debriefing is available to groups and individuals. 

Signs of critical incident stress include physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural responses.  Individual welfare and organisational productivity can suffer as people deal with anxiety, mood changes, an inability to concentrate, or fatigue. 

An emotional reaction to a shocking or unexpected event is normal.  Some workplace incidents are so distressing they overwhelm the ability of people to cope in their usual manner. 

The benefits of Incident Debriefing

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing has been shown to reduce traumatic stress, increase the coping ability of the debriefing participants, and facilitate group solidarity.  With ACT Curious EAP, Incident Debriefing is the starting point for healing. 

Planning for reasonably foreseeable events is an essential part of risk management for any organisation. 

Effective management of employee wellbeing is essential for sustained performance, staff retention, and a positive workplace culture.  An incident or series of sudden, distressing, threatening, or chronically stressful events cannot be left unaddressed. 

Incident Debriefing can reduce the possibility of psychological harm by talking about what has happened.  ACT Curious Incident Debriefing and other EAP services also support the individual and organisational learning process.  Facts can be reviewed, observations taken on board and misconceptions corrected, to help improve work processes and prevent future untoward incidents or suboptimal responses to events.

A planned and structured approach to Incident Debriefing

Your response to a crisis cannot be left to chance.  Learn how to come together with shared values to overcome any critical incident in your workplace.  

Critical incident debriefing is a confidential and supportive group discussion of distressing events at work.  It is a process designed to lessen the distress of an incident.  Debriefing accelerates the recovery of people having normal reactions to abnormal events by restoring individual wellbeing and group cohesion.

Our experienced ACT Curious Senior Clinicians are trained facilitators.  We are experienced leaders and managers who know how to create an environment of psychological safety. 

You will not be aware of the pre-existing state of mind of your staff when unexpected and distressing events occur at work.  People may already be at the limit of their coping resources.  We can help with your first response when you are already working at peak stress. 

Critical Workplace Incidents


Critical incidents and distressing events may occur due to personal and interpersonal factors, work practices, job design, economic factors, as well as those factors outside of your organisation’s control, for instance:

  • The loss of family members, close friends or colleagues
  • Redundancy, dismissal or resignation
  • Organisational change
  • Workplace accidents
  • Workplace harassment or violence
  • Natural disasters
  • Covid lockdowns and working in abnormal conditions
  • Workplace death, serious injury or suicide attempt

Consult us via ACT Curious Manager Assist for immediate advice when dealing with events in real-time.  ACT Curious Incident Debriefing then provides a proven and structured process to begin the healing and recovery of affected people.

We know that people take longer to recover from abnormal and traumatic events if they try to handle things on their own.  A workplace incident might be abnormal, normal yet traumatic, or sudden and shocking.  ACT Curious Incident Debriefing encourages people affected by a workplace event to put voice to their thoughts, memories and reactions.

ACT Curious Incident Debriefing facilitators help session participants to be aware of normal psychological responses to stressful events, and reflect upon their own signs of distress.  Our experienced facilitators also introduce debriefing participants to effective strategies for coping.

Critical incident debriefing is not psychotherapy or a substitute for psychotherapy.

We recommend ACT Curious Crisis Counselling to address and resolve peak distress, or ongoing support via EAP Counselling with our ACT Curious Senior Clinicians for anyone experiencing continued distress or other mental problems.

An integrated approach to workplace mental health

With ACT Curious, critical incident debriefing is part of an integrated approach to employee wellbeing, occupational health and safety (OHS) and risk management.

Ensure the mental health and psychological flexibility of your staff via planning, training, incident debriefing and follow-up support.

Effective risk management begins with planning.  Our experienced ACT Curious clinicians will collaborate with your team to develop planned responses to critical incidents.  Proactive risk management will also enhance employee engagement and improve workplace communication.  Work with our team to understand the priorities and needs of people at all levels of the organisation.

We also offer inclusive workplace training in psychological first-aid.  Ensure your first-responders can provide immediate personal support, demobilise affected staff, and instigate critical incident debriefing.

Perspectives and priorities can change over time as people reflect upon a critical incident.

With ACT Curious, access to ongoing individual or group counselling is available via Crisis Counselling and EAP counselling to restore and maintain individual wellbeing and psychological flexibility.

Essential advice and ongoing professional development for workplace leaders and managers can be accessed via Manager Assist and Supervision.  Shared values and goals can be reinforced via Prosocial @ Work training.

Organisational learning

Critical incidents may be unpredictable.  They are not unforeseeable.  Incident debriefing fosters individual recovery and group cohesion via proven pre-planned responses.

As a follow-up to incident debriefing, structured organisational learning processes foster innovation and growth, by ensuring the wider lessons of workplace incidents and our responses to them are fully understood.

Proper review of workplace incidents should be part of your OHS and risk management strategies. 

When embedded in your organisation’s organisational development cycle, the planning and training for Incident Debriefing with ACT Curious becomes a valuable part of organisational learning. 

Our Clinical Director and Senior Clinicians are available to work with individual and groups to build clearer mental models and understanding of people, events and work processes. 

Work.  Home.  Mental health covered with ACT Curious


With ACT Curious as your EAP provider, everyone at work has access to well-trained and experienced clinicians and therapists.

Contact us today to learn more about the full range of ACT Curious Employee Assistance Program services.  All ACT Curious EAP counselling, stress management, and mental health services are confidential.

We can also help your leaders to develop a proactive training and development strategy to improve workplace communication and employee engagement.

With the support of our experienced ACT Curious professionals, a proactive approach to the promotion of good mental health in the workplace, psychological flexibility and stress management can help everyone address mental health issues before they escalate to a crisis.

EAPAA (employee assistant)