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  • Robert Intveld, LCSW CEAP

Early Release! Applying the Multi-Systemic Resiliency Approach to Mass Shooting Incidents


Check out our article in the next Journal of Employee Assistance, first quarter 2020! Here is a brief overview.

The frequency of mass shootings is increasing. Each incident does not just impact one EAP client, as many other critical incidents or disruptive events do, but come with such potency to employees and organizations that the ripple affects are more widespread; often moving beyond local communities, to reactions felt across the country. EAP’s are being recognized as a critical employer/employee resource and partner to successfully navigate the crisis, restore safety and return to normal operations. The work demanded of EAPs challenge their own resilience where internal operations succeed through grit and perseverance all while maintaining a quality of excellence over their entire book of business. What is within our control when providing EAP CIR, is prevention and preparedness. Making sure all our moving parts are in sync with up to date training in CIR consistent with the EAP mission.

The Multi-Systemic Resiliency Approach (MSRA), by design, is an approach that understands the importance of synchronicity among systems (some of which may be impaired by the incident). MSRA's flexibility, paired with an agile responder, will meet the demand of any type of critical incident, impacting any type of workforce or culture. However, when responding in the aftermath of active shooter incidents, and in the spirit of responsible advanced level of preparedness, additional considerations should reviewed. Specifically,

  1. The management consultation assessment and recommendation process is expanded over a longer recovery timeline;

  2. Navigating local emergency response plans and the role EAPs partake in staffing and organizing Safe Zones;

  3. Utilizing various safe interventions including, three different group processes used at different junctures to address a more significantly impacted population, and

  4. A return to work process mindful of the delicate balance between employee well-being and a workplaces desire to return to routine.

The clinical elements related to Traumatic Loss are also more prevalent. Deaths that are untimely, sudden, and/or violent are the most common source of trauma (Norris, 2002). The question becomes how to we address this within the crisis intervention format of our EAP response. What is the role of EAP in addressing issues related to traumatic loss over the long term of recovery and its impact on the workplace?

EAP response to mass shootings are no longer unusual requests. Their occurrence challenges our EAP operations, professional fortitude, not to mention our own core, personal beliefs. This article begins to address the added challenges and nuance to these types’ critical incidents. It also serves as the lead-in to a more formal training being offered on 1/24/20, EAP CIR: Responding to Mass Shooting Incidents. For more information on this training go to www.eap-rda.com.


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