SPR: Skills for Psychological Recovery

By Jack Komer, 12/2021.

What is SPR?                                                                                     

SPR is intended to help survivors of disasters, terrorism, adversity, and displacement identify their most pressing current needs and concerns and teach and support them as they develop skills to address those needs. Each skill can be covered in one helping contact, and then reinforced in continuing contacts. Although each contact can stand alone, ideally the survivor will participate in multiple contacts and continue to learn and practice the skills with support from the SPR provider. The actions all include task assignments to practice the skills learned. 

Components of SPR (NCTSN, 2012, Pgs. 1-2)

  • Gathering Information and Prioritizing Assistance helps to identify the survivor’s 
    primary concern and suggests an action plan. 

  • Building Problem-Solving Skills teaches the survivor to break his or her problem into 
    manageable components, and to identify the steps to addressing the problem.

  • Promoting Positive Activities offers a structured, behavioral means to reduce 
    depression by increasing positive or meaningful activities. 

  • Managing Reactions assists in managing distress via a number of skills such as 
    breathing retraining, writing about one’s experiences, and identifying and planning for 
    triggers and reminders.

  • Promoting Helpful Thinking helps to identify the common maladaptive appraisals 
    made after a disaster/emergency, and to rehearse more adaptive, helpful appraisals. 

  • Rebuilding Healthy Social Connections teaches people to access and enhance social 
    and community supports in a practical way

Evidence in Support of SPR 

Pilot/Feasibility Trials (NCTSN, 2012):

  • Forbes, D., Fletcher, S., Wolfgang, B., Varker, T, Creamer, M., Brymer, M., Ruzek, J., Watson, P., & Bryant, 
       R.A. (2010). Practitioner perceptions of Skills for Psychological Recovery: A training program for health 
       practitioners in the aftermath of the Victorian bushfires. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 
       44
    , 1105-1111.

  • Hansel, T.C., Osofsky H., Steinberg, A., Brymer, M., Landis R., Riise, K. S., Gilkey, S., Osofsky, J., & Speier, 
       A. (2011). Louisiana Spirit Specialized Crisis Counseling: Counselor perceptions of training and services. 
       Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, Vol 3(3), 276-282.

Research Outcomes (NCTSN, 2012, Pg. 3):

  • "Training in SPR has been extremely well-received by counselors working in many crisis 
      counseling programs following hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquake, tsunami, floods, 
      mass shootings, and the Gulf oil spill. The Louisiana Spirit (Katrina/Rita/Gustav) 
      Specialized Crisis Counseling Services Program reported that the skills were highly 
      practical and improved their ability to serve their clients, and client survey results 
      indicate that the SPR interventions were helpful in reducing distress and improving 
      functioning."

SPR Program Site
 

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Fact Sheet on SPR
 

SPR Operations
Guide

References

Hansel, T.C., Osofsky H., Steinberg, A., Brymer, M., Landis R., Riise, K. S., Gilkey, S., Osofsky, J., & Speier, A. (2011).    Louisiana Spirit Specialized Crisis Counseling: Counselor perceptions of training and services. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, Vol 3(3), 276-282. 

NCTSN. (2012). SPR: Skills for Psychological Recovery [Fact sheet].                             https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/interventions/spr_fact_sheet.pdf                                                                   


Watson, P.J., Brymer, M. and Bonanno, G. (2011). Post-Disaster Psychological Intervention Since 9/11. American            Psychologist Special Issue: The 10th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks.