Community-based, acute posttraumatic stress management: a description and evaluation of a psychosocial-intervention continuum

Robert D. Macy, Arbour Health Systems
Lenore Behar, Child and Family Program Strategies
Robert Paulson, University of South Florida
Jonathan Delman, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Lisa Schmid, Consumer Quality Initiatives, Inc.
Stefanie F. Smith, Center for Trauma Psychology

At the time of publication, Jonathan Delman was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


Much of today's psychological trauma can be identified as resulting from sudden and seemingly random events, and particularly from events that involve the loss of human life. This article presents a perspective on how behavioral health providers may approach the design, development, and implementation of community-based psychological trauma interventions. These interventions allow those community members most affected by the trauma to play a central role in the resolution of, and community adaptation to, traumatic losses. After a brief discussion of "critical incident stress debriefing"--a common form of psychological "first aid" that is sometimes used following traumatic events that affect a community--the article turns to the description of a community-based trauma-response program that provides a continuum-of-care model for the care and management of individual and group reactions to shared, traumatic events. A recent evaluation of that program, which was developed by the Community Services Program of the Trauma Center in Boston, is presented as an important first step toward determining the types of community-based responses that show promise in our efforts to ameliorate the impact of traumatic events in communities nationwide and internationally.