The Relief of the Debrief

Debriefing can often offer some powerful moments of closure, reflection, growth, and personal assessment when engaged in after moments of high emotion, conflict, and/or stress.  It is a time for you to be intentional in some self-care moments, sharing any pertinent information with those who would be appropriate, and reflecting on how the situation was handled.

Whether you are mediating, facilitating, involved in a serious situation, encountered/engaged in stressful situation debriefing from what just happened can be a really important piece of bringing some closure to that particular time and/or event.  There might be several questions you could ask yourself as you contemplate the session/event for some closure:
1) Was there anything that came up for you in your mind that you couldn’t share at that time with the people there?  Did anything act as a trigger for you that made you have to check your own emotions about the situation?
2) What was your response during the session/event versus what is your response afterwards?  Did you handle the situation with reaction or response?
3) Are there any personal stories that came up in your mind in regards to the session/event where you could relate to the people involved that you should recall now in moments of debriefing? (for mediation would not be appropriate to share during mediation, but if it is heavy on your mind certainly appropriate to share in debriefing)

Personal Assessment/Reflection:
Now is a good time to recall the skills you used during the session/event.  Think and discuss the things you did well- those tools and resources that are like second nature to you.  Recall all the time you spent on training and how helpful that was to you for putting those things into practice.  Go over the moments that seemed the most difficult and when there might have been a breakthrough and potentially when the situation started to take a positive turn (if applicable).  If there was a moment when the situation became positive, define the moment and what happened.  Use this time for some collaborative and transparent reflection on how you helped in this situation and help in finding a resolution of a problem.

Growth, Space, and Openness:
There will always be room for each of us to grow and become better at the things we do.  Now is a good time and opportunity to reflect on if there is anything you would have done differently.  Is there something you could have done to help move the situation along to make a positive turn and just weren’t able to recall that specific resource?  Are there other tools and resources to your knowledge that might have helped the situation but perhaps you were not as familiar with those tools?  Now is a good time to reflect on those things that you would like to be better prepared with for next time.  This may call for some additional continuing education, reading some articles/books, and finding someone who is well versed in the area you don’t feel as comfortable in.  It is important that we are able to see and name our blind spots, which is a valuable piece of our own self-awareness and also the realization that none of us have everything perfectly achieved.  We are all people looking to grow in the areas that are necessary.  

Proponent for Change:
When reflecting on the situation/event/session is there anything that should have been done differently?  Is there any procedure that should be looked at one more time and perhaps given more attention to?  Is there something where everyone works in one way but that there is a different procedural expectation?  When you go over the way a situation was handled, is there anything that strikes you that should be told to those who oversee the process?  When we come across bumps in the road, and perhaps it occurs several times, we should not fear conflict or discord but embrace that it may be the very proponent that leads to a positive change for many others thereafter.  


Debriefing is a valuable resource and tool that I would encourage anyone to participate in following any situation that aroused emotion, included stress, period of time on problem solving, or even that just included a group of people having a discussion.  There is always a time period of processing following any conversation/situation and it is helpful when you get to process that in an intentional way, which is highly encouraged with another person/people.

One thought on “The Relief of the Debrief

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with the advantages of debriefing! The opening paragraph sums up the key benefits — powerful moments of closure, reflection, growth, and personal assessment. When we debrief with our fellow mediator, we eliminate blind spots and also learn our hidden strengths … What a gift! Let me offer that investing the time to debrief is as important as facilitating the actual mediation. Through Sensitive, Open and Direct (SOD) feedback with our fellow mediators, we strengthen our skills and develop trusting relationships with our fellow mediators.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s