All of us at one time or other have had or will have opportunity to help someone whose life has been shattered by a sudden tragedy. We may be called to help a neighbor whose spouse has died suddenly; or to help a family member who was the victim of a crime; or to assist a total stranger who has been in a terrible accident. In all of these situations, the first ones who arrive at the scene are not social workers, counselors or members of the clergy but everyday people who happen to be there when the tragic event occurs.
For over 25 years our organization Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) has trained citizen volunteers to provide comfort and support to those who have been emotionally traumatized. As you can imagine, we have learned a lot along the way about what survivors of tragedy find helpful and not helpful. We share what we have learned on this website.
Although every situation and every survivor of tragedy is different, there are Emotional First Aid (EFA) skills which we have found work in all situations, regardless of the nature of the tragedy and the backgrounds of the individuals involved.
We are not presenting "counseling" skills here nor are we minimizing the importance of professional help for survivors of tragedy. As the name implies, Emotional First Aid skills are designed to be used shortly after tragedy occurs and for a limited period of time. They are not meant as a substitute for ongoing professional counseling or for other types of grief support services.
In short, all of us at one time or another will find ourselves called upon to assume a helping role when someone we know experiences a tragedy. Good intentions are not enough. Our good intentions must be accompanied by the Emotional First Aid skills discussed in this site.
We dedicate this website to those who chose to get involved when tragedy strikes. Our hope is that this website will give these “modern day good samaritans” the skills and confidence to put their compassion into action.