Self debriefing - Sarz Sanctuary and Foundation
Mind Body Connection
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Self debriefing

At times when you have not been able to access debriefing with your professional colleagues, you might like to facilitate a self-debrief.  This enables you to get the thoughts out of your mind, free up your working memory and to process the situation with a new lens.

Process for self-debriefing

The self-debriefing process is a structured writing activity and requires a notebook that you can physically write in.  Click start to follow the 3 step process for self-debriefing.

Step 1

Take a moment to feel your feet on the floor and notice your breath. Then notice the feelings and sensations in your body as you think about this situation, event or interaction.

Write down what you are feeling in your body, without judgement, just write.

Step 2

Now take a moment to really listen to what you are saying to yourself, what are your thoughts.

Write down your thoughts, without judgement or interpretation, just write all that you can until you can not write any more.

Step 3

Now take a moment to close your eyes, focus on feeling your feet on the floor and noticing your breath for 1 – 3 minutes.

Ask yourself now, ‘if I were hearing this from someone I love or my best friend, what might I say using the debriefing framework presented earlier to support this person to grow from this situation?”


When you have completed the self-debrief, take a moment to feel your feet on the floor, notice your breath and the sensations in your body.

Congratulate yourself for completing the debrief and place your notebook in a safe and secure place.

Writing has been reported to help people cope with the emotional aspects of stress. One study found writing reduced the stigma related stress, another improved exam results.

Applying self-debriefing

Self-debriefing – Consider a situation, event or interaction.  Apply the 3-step self-debriefing process to this situation, event or interaction.

Capture on page 4, activity 5 in your workbook. 

Writing about stressful experiences provides opportunity to think about the experience and express emotions without judgement or inhibition, freeing up the mind and working memory.