OBU’s MFT Program Partners with BGCO for Critical Incident Training

May 9, 2017

Through a partnership between Oklahoma Baptist University’s marriage and family therapy program, and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, OBU recently hosted group crisis intervention training to equip attendees for volunteering in critical incident Stress debriefings. Tom Beddow, BGCO chaplain, led the training using the proven and effective International Critical Incident Stress Foundation material. The training took place April 7-8.

Designed to present the core elements of a comprehensive, systematic and multi-component crisis intervention curriculum, the group crisis intervention material prepares participants in understanding a wide range of crisis intervention services. Fundamentals of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) are outlined within the material and participants walk away with the knowledge and tools to provide several group crisis interventions, specifically demobilizations, defusings and the CISD

The partnership was forged when Beddow, BGCO Chaplain and OBU Marriage and Family Therapy alum, approached Dr. Canaan Crane, associate professor of psychology and director of the marriage and family therapy graduate program, about the possibility of connecting OBU with the Critical Incident response activities offered by the BGCO for disaster relief, oilfield accidents and other critical incidents, such as natural disasters or other incidents. Beddow and Crane discussed the need for more team members to respond to these critical incidents around the state and how OBU’s MFT program might help in connecting and training more mental health professionals to respond.

Crane loved the idea and sees a great need for MFT’s to be trained to aid in this kind of response.

“We are called by Christ to be salt and light and this is an excellent expression of Christians using their professional skills and training to bring God’s light and healing to a hurting world,” Crane said. “Marriage and Family Therapists regularly seek ways to serve their community and use their skills in positive ways. While most, if not all, of the service we provide in critical incident response is volunteer, we know that making a positive impact is a very important part of being a professional and are thusly willing to serve.”

Fifteen participants attended the training and received the two-day Group Intervention training. Participants ranged from OBU’s marriage and family therapy graduate therapists, MFT faculty, recent OBU MFT alumni, and participants from both the Chickasaw Nation and Baptist Homes for Children. The hope is to continue offering training on a regular basis to a group of mental health professionals. Likewise, there is potential for future training for students, faculty and community members who would qualify for the chaplaincy designation with the BGCO.

The material is designed for anyone in the fields of business and industry crisis intervention, disaster response, education, emergency services, employee assistance, healthcare, homeland security, mental health, military, spiritual are and traumatic stress.

Crane has personally used this training in several aspects of his life.

“I have used this training to respond to Critical Incidents at OBU, in the local schools and at other organizations,” he said. “Any time there is or has been a critical incident, these participants will have the skills to go in with a team of responders to debrief anyone who has experienced the critical incident. This can range from victims to first responders, such as fire, police, EMS and rescue personnel.”

The Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program at OBU trains students to provide therapeutic services from a relational and systemic perspective in counseling agencies, schools, hospitals, churches, on the mission field and in private practice. OBU’s MFT graduate program prepares students to apply their professional skills from a Christian perspective to bring healing to families, couples and individuals.