Critical Incident Stress Management – European conference

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by Marc Baumgartner

IFATCA SESAR Coordinator

On March 13-14, 2024, DFS welcomed participants to the European CISM conference at its Headquarters in Langen, near Frankfurt.

65 German peers participated in the conference during their yearly refresher training. Another 65 participants from all over the world joined the conference in Frankfurt, and some 45 participants were online.

The network brings together professionals from various backgrounds, from aviation to firefighters to military domain, etc. During the two-day workshop, many interesting presentations were delivered to the audience of this hybrid conference.

The heads of the CISM programs of the German and Swiss ANSP explained their respective CISM programs and the exchange that exists across borders in the ATM world.

Self-care was an important topic for the peer support systems, and a DFS peer and a representative of the Stiftung Mayday presented different self-care techniques.


Over lunch at the ICISF’s World Congress in 2015, the formation of the European Critical Incident Stress Management (E-CISM) Network was agreed. Subsequent meetings held in Madrid, Roskilde, and Rome strengthened the network, and it became incorporated as an association under Swiss law in June 2021.

The first E-CISM conference was held in Malmö, Sweden, in October 2019. In 2021, it was organized in Lucerne, in 2022 in Madrid, and in 2024 in Langen.

The E-CISM Network is a Swiss Association founded in Geneva on 23 June 2021 to enhance the psychological well-being of people working in organisations in Europe by delivering CISM training and promoting its practice. The E-CISM network will serve its members by providing the ICISF standard of crisis intervention in their own countries, given the various languages, histories, and cultures of their populations.

Interesting insight from the Nordic countries was provided in Hostage negotiations, CISM, peer support in NGOs, and peacekeeping missions. Insight was also provided into the lives of astronauts.

The excellent presentations were overtaken by the talk and exchange by Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot of the Hudson River landing. For many participants, the highlight of this conference was a very poignant and interesting presentation provided by the co-pilot of this miracle flight.

Jeff shared his sometimes surprising thoughts while he and Sully decided to land in the Hudson River, how they evacuated the plane, and what they had to overcome after the accident. He also shared how the CIRP (Critical Incident Response Program) team took care of him, Sully, and two out of three flight attendants from a psychological point of view. It was a very inspiring and enriching presentation, performed in a very professional way.

The conference saw one of the two founding fathers of the ICISF, Dr. Everly, provide an insightful presentation on the Power of Trust in peer-based systems as the final presentation.

All the presentations and the videos are available under the following link.