Sudden Traumatic Loss Seminar

The Sudden Traumatic Loss Seminar (STLS) is offered by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program (SCLEAP). It is an offshoot of its highly successful Post Critical Incident Seminar (PCIS), which has been offered 70 times in 6 states since 2000. The PCIS is a three-day intervention based upon the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) model created in1983. It focuses on assisting law Enforcement to cope with distressing consequences of traumatic incidents and to build resilience for future ones through the use of trained peer support; large and small group work; psychoeducation about trauma, loss, and coping, and personal one-on-one consultation with licensed therapists familiar with law enforcement issues, posttraumatic stress, and the trauma recovery method of EMDR.

Spouses/Parents/Partners/Adult Children are invited to attend and receive similar services to enable them to understand the support the affected individuals and to mitigate adverse impacts on the relationship and the family. Clinical observation indicates that participation in a PCIS appears to create psychological and social movement for the participants, which challenges normal progression after critical incidents. It appears that the PCIS offers an experience embodying an unparalleled constellation of “curative factors” that renders it a uniquely helpful experience, unlike any other program or event in the world.

Through the years, there have been many PCIS participants who attended because of a sudden traumatic loss in their own life. While feedback indicates that this has been extremely useful for these individuals, we have long recognized that there are unique needs created by the loss of a loved one under sudden and traumatic circumstances that require assistance and information in addition to what is provided in a PCIS. Therefore, after years of planning the STLS has come into being. It expands upon the traditional PCIS, and focuses in a concerted way upon traumatic bereavement of law enforcement personnel.

What is a sudden traumatic loss and how does it relate to traumatic bereavement and the STLS?

A sudden traumatic loss is one that comes abruptly and shockingly, without warning or expectation (e.g., death from accident, disaster, suicide, homicide, terrorism, war, or an acute medical event or illness). Traumatic bereavement is when grief over that death is complicated by the traumatic stress brought about by its circumstances.

Traumatic bereavement is well known to adversely affect a survivor’s functioning, and typically creates challenges in all areas of that individual’s personal and professional lives. Despite the potential negative impacts of such a death, there is a great deal that can be done to support and assist survivors. Building upon the traditional components of a PCIS, the STLS has been specifically designed to pull together elements identified to enable a survivor to best cope with such a loss and reduce its impacts upon his/her professional work.

What should I expect?

At the STLS, you will be with other law enforcement personnel (sworn & non-sworn) currently dealing with the loss of a loved one through a sudden traumatic death, along with law enforcement peers who have confronted such a loss in the past.

STLS instructors, mental health professionals, and chaplains who have training and experience in helping survivors cope successfully with the volatile combination of loss and trauma that you deal with in your loved one’s sudden death. You will be among people who not only understand what you are going through, but know that people can and do go on to have healthy and productive lives notwithstanding the very real difficulties posed by traumatic bereavement. Their focus will be on facilitating your best possible coping with your loss.

Who should attend?

We invite those who have experienced a sudden traumatic loss prior to August 1, 2016 (a minimum of nine months prior to the STLS). Some participants will come with several sudden traumatic losses.

We invite those in the SCLEAP Member Agencies and the wider law enforcement community who have suffered a sudden traumatic loss. Examples; Death from accident, disaster, suicide, homicide, terrorism, war, or an acute medical event or illness.

What is the cost?

There is no charge for the seminar itself. Like the PCIS, we ask that sending agencies pay for housing for participants. Breakfast is included with the cost of the room. SCLEAP will provide lunch, supper and plentiful snacks each day on-site during the seminar.

Upcoming Sudden Traumatic Loss Seminars in South Carolina

May 8-11, 2017. Location TBA

November 6-9, 2017. Location TBA

For more information, contact:

Beverly Coates, 803-606-3120,

Eric Skidmore, 803-206-8961,

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