Background. In many countries frontline emergency workers of different specialties face the need to inform people of their relatives’ death and to support them during the acute period following the message. The need for psychological training in this area is evident. However, the research in this area is not only complicated in terms of logistics, but also hindered by a number of ethical difficulties.
The analysis presented in this paper has significant practical value and draws on the unique professional perspective of the EMERCOM emergency psychologists who provide psychological support to people experiencing loss in an acute period — relatives and loved ones of those who died in emergencies.
Objective. To give an outline of approaches to psychological support in cases of loss, of the factors influencing adaptation to a loss, and of the opportunities for early psychological interventions.
Design. The theoretical overview presents the analysis of foreign experience and main approaches to announcing the death of a relative. The following section describes and analyses the main approaches and practical experience of the EMERCOM psychologists. The conclusion outlines the possibilities of a systematic approach to providing emergency psychological aid in cases of loss.
Results. The study presents a list of characteristics of support providers, recipients and situations that need to be taken into account when choosing a strategy of work with people experiencing a recent loss.
Conclusion. The study allows to single out three main thematic blocks, the consideration of which is necessary when choosing a strategy for dealing with loss in an acute period. First, features of the situation; second, characteristics of the person experiencing loss; third, the characteristic of the support provider. The process of psychological support, as described in the paper, includes assessment and consideration of the objective characteristics of the situation, the recipient’s characteristics and response, and the characteristics of the specialist himself. The interpretation of relationship between these factors and their influence on the condition of the person who experiences a loss allows the psychologist to choose the most effective strategy for providing psychological support.
Sections: Clinical psychology;
Keywords: emergency psychological aid; grief; psychological service of the EMERCOM of Russia
Available Online 30.03.2021
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