Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Example guide on group debriefing for a fatal accident

A fatal diving accident has a major impact on a diving club. A group debriefing led by a mental Coach can be very helpful. The purpose of such a debriefing is to bring social calm and to stop the group from inevitable speculation. It also creates connectedness, where people really need it in such a situation and helps to get a grip (self-reliance) on the meaning of life.


Make sure beforehand that you have time and space. A group debriefing is not one agenda item of a members’ meeting or board meeting. This does not create the right atmosphere or the attention it deserves. A group debriefing is the only item on the agenda and has an official and an unofficial element.

After the official debriefing, go and take some drinks together so that the coaches can mingle with the really important
people. A group debriefing is facilitated by the mental coach. The story is preferably told by the buddy, supplemented by others. It is good to have several (2 minimum) coaches on site during a group debriefing so that they can address several people.

Tips for the coach before the start:

  • When you start, stand up, that automatically requests permission to speak
  • Keep it as short as possible, do not hide / accentuate nervousness by too long a speech, the buddy is already on hot coals to tell his story
  • When you’re done with your story, stand up, walk around, find a drink. In this way you also give the rest permission to do the same.

1.The Introduction Phase

In which the mental coach outlines the course of a debriefing; plus a short introduction to the MCT. Another important goal of the briefing is getting everyone looking in the same direction. “Tonight, we are all going home with the same information, a story that everyone is happy with. Then you can close this issue, you don’t have to return to it. This is an important part of the coping process”.

2. The Fact Phase

To answer the question: What exactly happened? If the buddy is capable of it, preferably let this person speak. As a coach you guide the process and intervene if people try to condemn, or look for a guilty party. Avoid it becoming an ition.

3. The Thought Phase

In which participants are asked about their first reaction regarding the most radical aspect of the event;

4. The Emotion Phase

In which the participants can vent their emotional reactions
to the event.

5. The Symptoms Phase

In which the mental coaches identify with the participants the physical and psychological stress symptoms since the event.

The following information can help to provide a framework: traumas can arise because we are confronted with a situation that harms 1 of the 3 basic illusions that people have:
a. invulnerability: it’s your neighbor who gets a heart attack and never you, you can safely cross the street, …
b. predictability: you predicted last night that you would wake up tonight; it would surprise you if it started to snow, …
c. meaningfulness: everyone needs things to make sense in their life, …

6. The Education Phase

In which the participants receive information about useful solution strategies (for example, talking about the accident), and about possible post-traumatic stress reactions, which the debriefers reduce to normal, manageable proportions.

7. The Closing Phase

In which the last questions are answered and in which the debriefers provide information about further aftercare options in the event of persistent stress complaints.

  • For example: do you have any further questions? Are there still any issues that are still live?
  • If no more questions arise: Questions are likely to arise later. That is normal. If notice that something is occupying more than usual, then talk to someone about it. You can also contact.
  • Watch out for unexpected reactions from yourself or your colleagues: behavioral changes: if you are normally calm, but are now restless, …; if you do not feel like eating, or eat too much, have poor sleep or excessive sleep, … These can all be reactions you will encounter, then talk to someone about it.
  • Here you will also find a brochure with more information and our contact details

  • We are going to look for a cause, but it is not always clear. That is it human, that is what we have a need for. But we have to accept that we will not always find the answers.
  • Usually we do not know the exact cause of death, even for doctors it is often difficult to find out the principle reason for a death. The police only do an autopsy if there is a presumption of a suspicious death.
  • You can positively reformulate certain actions to ensure that the buddy can park his guilt feelings in a positive way.
  • Pay attention to who is quiet in the room, behaves strangely, people who seek eye contact with you, but do not come to you spontaneously, …. When you notice this try to contact this person by yourself.
  • We are there to facilitate that process: so intervene where necessary (reinforce positive feelings, block guilt feelings), frame things where necessary and then let the process proceed spontaneously as much as possible and say as little as possible. The mental coach is the conductor!