Preparing Emergency First Responders Using a "Wheel of Resources"

  • C. Jesse Carlock Wright State University, OH


The Wheel of Resources and other tools developed by Virginia Satir are useful in a wide variety of crisis-related contexts, including the attack on the United States on 9/11, the more recent Hurricane Sandy or the tragedies of recent school shootings. Here the author describes applications of Satir’s tool, The “Wheel of Resources” or “Mandala of Resources” (Satir, 1982) as the centerpiece for a brief psycho-educational intervention. It was aimed at preparing technical workers assigned to help with reconstruction efforts in New Orleans following the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Current thinking in the area of crisis debriefings emphasizes accessing client resiliency and teaching coping skills. The Satir Model is especially useful since it is a healthoriented approach, focusing on accessing resources rather than focusing on symptoms. Also, the actual methods  used to teach the theory involve participants at multiple levels (sensory, affective, behavioral, cognitive) so that they fully engage participants and create dynamic learning experiences. Finally, since the various tools are free of professional jargon, they are easily accessible to individuals at all educational levels.

(Revised from "Wheel of Resources: Assistance for Hurricane Katrina Workers" in Satir Journal: Transformational Systemic Therapy, Vol. I, 2006, pp. 81-94, by permission of author)