Of all the posts I have posted, “Why you need a Debriefing. Yes You” is by far the most viewed post. Apparently this touched a need.
I’d like to revisit this topic with some ideas on how to proceed in being debriefed. As shepherds we must remember we are sheep first, shepherds second. We must be willing to be recipients of any care we offer to others. We need to be shepherded, mentored, coached, directed, debriefed…..
Great Programs in the US*
I am aware of some fantastic options globally, but I have not had direct contact with them. Here is what I know to be solid choices within the US. If you know of other programs, please do share.
I have been involved with the mti.org DAR program for over a decade. It is a top notch program for the entire family. It is a worthy investment.
TRAINinternational.org is another debriefing program, based in Joplin, MO (USA).
For those who are needing a bit more clinical care and time to process, alongsidecares.net offers a three week program that I have referred many, many people to over the years.
These types of programs are essential from time to time, say maybe once every 3-5 years. But what about the month-to-month elements of life that would be helpful to talk through?
Informal, Relational Debriefing
Without diminishing the need for a personal debriefing of the caliber the above programs provide, there are ways to avoid an accumulation as we go about life and work. It’s kind of like having the oil changed in your car – essential, regular maintenance but no need for the major overhaul every month. I have found that it is helpful to process the impact and lessons of nearly any ministry experience. This is a wise reflective practice. Further, it invites others into our life and our ministry.
Here is an idea: teach a couple of peers how to be debriefers for you. It would take a little intentional time and maybe even mentoring, but the rewards can be significant.
Here are three simple questions that someone with some maturity, awareness of what your life is about, and good listening skills could guide you through.
Question 1: What did you experience? This is simply sharing what you did, where you went, and who you engaged. Just sharing the facts is the point of this step.
Question 2: How did that impact you? This question takes you from your head to your heart. Now your emotions are engaged. A good listener with a mature faith and the awareness to not edit or fix you, is essential. This step can take some time to work through. Debriefing is not counseling. If something significant is bumped into, then a trained counselor, spiritual director, or another specific mentor could spend time with you in this area.
Question 3: What do you want to do about all this? This kind of moves you back to the “stable ground” of your head. Here some lessons or insights can be identified. For example, one insight could be “I went into those first meetings way too jet lagged and tired. Next trip I need a day or two to rest and get my wits about me before I jump into the work at hand.”
No Redux Here
Again, I want to emphasize that I am not trying to negate the need for professional, well guided debriefing. What I am encouraging is more regular, intentional processing of regular, routine life experiences. What experiences have you had along this line that you could share with others?
****Addendum to original post. Here are serval programs I have been either reminded of or brought to my attention:
Within the US
Interlude hosted by Barnabas International Staff https://www.barnabas.org/interlude.php
Emma’s Encounter in MT http://emmausencounter.org/debriefing/