Spiritual and Psychological First Aid

Course Description:
Research validates that the help and support people receive in times of crisis matters. Providing effective emotional and spiritual care to individuals, families, and communities in difficult times is critical and can help promote resiliency and recovery. This two-day course endeavors to build helping skills and a better understanding of the unique role of the crisis responder and trains participants in the fundamental principles of spiritual and psychological first aid (SPFA). Care provided in SPFA may be defined as a practical, compassionate and supportive presence designed to mitigate acute distress, assess needs, provide essential supportive care, and link with other support systems as needed for ongoing spiritual, emotional, and mental health care.

Targeted participants will be trained clergy, chaplains, mental health professionals, crisis responders, and individuals who desire to enhance their skills in providing SPFA to survivors of loss, disaster, emergency, trauma, and crisis settings.

Course Highlights:
At the conclusion of this course, successful students will be able to:

  • Identify evidence-informed foundations for SPFA
  • Articulate an understanding of the “ministry of presence” and “companioning.”
  • Define the essential elements of connecting and communicating with people in crisis
  • Prepare survivors to understand commonly experienced psychological/ behavioral reactions and the process of recovery
  • Identify indicators of resiliency, recovery and post traumatic growth to encourage help, hope and healing
  • Identify how meeting basic human needs is foundational to providing SPFA
  • Demonstrate essential interventions to help stabilize and protect people in crisis
  • Create a safe environment that facilitates effective listening and crisis communication
  • Link those served with existing community support services and develop an ongoing care plan
  • Demonstrate skills for assessing spiritual and psychological needs of individuals in crisis
  • Utilize a spiritual assessment framework to identify ways to help an individual draw on spiritual and religious resources to cope and foster resiliency