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Onsite EAP Services- Core Efficiencies

Stress -An Overview
Stress an Overview- 2
Physiology of Stress
Relaxation Response
International Critical Incident Stress Foundation
Safe R Model
CISM Language
CISM Core Principles
CISM On Scene Support
CISM Demobilization
CISM Defusing
CISM CISD Introduction Phase
CISM CISD Fact Phase
CISM CISD Thought Phase
CISM CISD Reaction Phase
CISM CISD Impact Phase
CISM CISD Teaching Phase
CISM CISD Re-entry Phase
CISM CISD Post Action Report
PFA Intro
EAP Dual Relationships
Onsite services
Pre- incident Training
Corporate Debriefing
Individual Debriefing
Bereavement Noncomplex
Bereavement Complex
Follow up
Complex Incidents
EAP-Other Considerations
Taking Care of Yourself
Post Test





To be a successful onsite interventionist and improve your chances of mitigating the impact of your own exposure of this powerful material, a solid foundation should be established. From this foundation you will draw your material to inform, educate and understand, what at times, can be chaotic.  When we find ourselves in a position where we do not know what to do, we become very vulnerable to injury. The first core efficiency is the Human Stress Response.

Stress -An Overview

This section will focus on the dynamics of stress, its influence on our daily lives, the role when there is the perception of danger, and the potential consequences of stress and or stressful events. To effectively do clinical and provide Onsite Services, stress needs to be understood.

 "Without stress, there would be no life". -Hans Selye

The term "stress" was coined by Hans Selye. Hans Selye -- click your browser «Refresh» if image or background fails Hans was born in Vienna in 1907.  Early on, in his second year of medical school (1926), he began developing his now-famous theory of the influence of stress on people's ability to cope with and adapt to the pressures of injury and disease. He discovered that patients with a variety of ailments manifested many similar symptoms, which he ultimately attributed to their bodies' efforts to respond to the stresses of being ill. He called this collection of symptoms--this separate stress disease--stress syndrome, or the general adaptation syndrome (GAS).
     He spent a lifetime in continuing research on GAS and wrote some 30 books and more than 1,500 articles on stress and related problems, including Stress without Distress (1974) and The Stress of Life (1956). So impressive have his findings and theories been that some authorities refer to him as "the Einstein of medicine."
     A physician and endocrinologist with many honorary degrees for his pioneering contributions to science, Selye also served as a Professor and Director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery at the University of Montreal. More than anyone else, Selye has demonstrated the role of emotional responses in causing or combating much of the wear and tear experienced by human beings throughout their lives. He died in 1982 in Montreal, where he had spent 50 years studying the causes and consequences of stress.

General Adaptation Syndrome

Hans Selye noticed that patients in the early stages of infectious diseases exhibited similar symptoms, regardless of the type of disease they had. He later observed a set of three common responses that occurred whenever any organism was injected with a toxic substance: (1) the adrenal glands enlarged, (2) the lymph nodes and other white blood cell producing organs swelled at first then shrank, and (3) bleeding appeared in the stomach and intestines.
He called these three common responses the
General Adaptation Syndrome and proposed that certain changes take place within the body during stress that disrupt normal physiologic mechanisms and trigger an array of diseases. And no matter what type of organism he looked at, from rats and monkeys to humans, he noticed that physical and emotional stress induced a pattern that, if left untreated, always leads to infection, illness, disease, and eventually death. The figure below illustrates what Hans Selye observed.

Alarm Reaction Stage of Resistance Exhaustion

As shown in the diagram, there are three stages in Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome. Let's look at what happens during each stage that makes us more susceptible to disease.

Stage 1. Alarm Reaction: Any physical or mental trauma will trigger an immediate set of reactions that combat the stress. Because the immune system is initially depressed, normal levels of resistance are lowered, making us more susceptible to infection and disease. If the stress is not severe or long-lasting, we bounce back and recover rapidly.
Stage 2: Resistance: Eventually, sometimes rather quickly, we adapt to stress, and there's actually a tendency to become more resistant to illness and disease. Our immune system works overtime for us during this period, trying to keep up with the demands placed upon it. We become complacent about our situation and assume that we can resist the effects of stress indefinitely. Therein lies the danger. Believing that we are immune from the effects of stress, we typically fail to do anything about it.
Stage 3: Exhaustion: Because our body is not able to maintain homeostasis and the long-term resistance needed to combat stress, we invariably develop a sudden drop in our resistance level. No one experiences exactly the same resistance and tolerance to stress, but everyone's immunity at some point collapses following prolonged stress reactions. Life sustaining mechanisms slow down and sputter, organ systems begin to break down, and stress-fighting reserves finally succumb to what Selye called "diseases of adaptation."

The General Adaptation Syndrome is thought to be the main reason why stress is such an abundant source of health problems. By changing the way our body normally functions, stress disrupts the natural balance - the homeostasis - crucial for well-being. (www.healthnewsnetwork.com).

Sources of Stress

Selye defines stress as the non-specific response of the body to any demands made upon it.  Each demand made on the body is unique in that there is a definite response: when we are cold, we shiver; when we are hot we perspire; a great muscular effort increases the demands upon the heart and vascular system.  However, whatever the specific response, there is also activated a non-specific response which is independent of the cause. For example: The woman, who is told that her husband suddenly died, suffers a terrible mental shock. If, sometime later, he walks into the room alive and well, she experiences extreme joy. The specific results of the stress are opposite, but the non-specific effect on the body is the same.


"Men are disturbed not by things, but the views of which they take of them."- Epictetus


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