Psychological First Aid—Listen, Protect, Connect

Psychological first aid (PFA) began as a tool to help first responders cope with victims experiencing trauma on the scene. There are several models of PFA, but Psychological First Aid—Listen, Protect, Connect (PFA—LPC) was developed in response to a series of school shootings in the 1990s. The five-step crisis response strategy was intended to guide teachers and staff members in helping traumatized students deal with the aftermath of senseless violence. PFA—LPC helps educational staff support students through the process of recovery, especially when students encounter traumatic reminders of being in danger or of experiencing loss or trauma.

The main goals of PFA—LPC are:

  • To stabilize the emotions and behaviors of students 
  • To return students to an improved mental and emotional state after a crisis or disaster ready to attend school and reengage in learning 
While targeted at trauma-exposed students, PFA—LPC is beneficial to anyone who has experienced trauma. The strategy focuses on what a person needs in the moment to get through a difficult time. 

PFA—LPC Overview

Psychological First Aid—Listen, Protect, Connect overview, presented by Marleen Wong.
  • Listen  Let your students know you are available to listen to their concerns and talk about the event. Listen attentively and pay attention to what students say.
  • Protect  Help students feel protected by continuing to listen to their concerns. Talk to them about what is being done in the school and community to keep them safe.
  • Connect  Reach out to your students regularly. Communciate with other people involved in your students' lives, such as parents, grandparents, or other teachers. Restore school clubs and activities.
  • Model — Be mindful of your verbal and non-verbal cues. Commit to your own self-care. Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation.
  • Teach — Help your students reach and achieve small goals and applaud these achievements. Remind students that time will help.

 How Do I Implement PFA—LPC?

To get started learning Psychological First Aid—Listen, Protect, Connect, refer to PFA for Students and Teachers: Listen, Protect, Connect—Model & Teach. See Essential Resources for more materials.