Critical incident intervention with missionaries: A comprehensive approach


When people are exposed to, or involved in, traumatic occurrences, they are at risk for PTSD to follow in the wake. This involves more than psychological discomfort; it involves a host of physiological, mental, emotional, and spiritual sequelae. The results of trauma can be so debilitating that a missionary might be unable to continue to minister. The effects can last a lifetime. Given the relatively high level of risk for missionaries to experience critical incidents and the possible aftereffects, it is important for churches and mission boards to have an adequate and comprehensive approach to member care in ministering to missionaries when they encounter critical incidents. A comprehensive plan would include critical incident stress debriefing as soon as possible after an incident, one-to-one counseling -- preferably with a therapist trained in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) -- for those individuals experiencing complex PTSD, debriefing for the debriefers, and a post-critical incident seminar at least 3 months after the incident.






Jeanne L. Jensma

Original Work Citation

Jensma, J. L. (1999, Summer). Critical incident intervention with missionaries: A comprehensive approach. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 27(2), 130-138



“Critical incident intervention with missionaries: A comprehensive approach,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 14, 2021,

Output Formats