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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Psychological First Aid by Johns Hopkins University

19,202 ratings

About the Course

Learn to provide psychological first aid to people in an emergency by employing the RAPID model: Reflective listening, Assessment of needs, Prioritization, Intervention, and Disposition. Utilizing the RAPID model (Reflective listening, Assessment of needs, Prioritization, Intervention, and Disposition), this specialized course provides perspectives on injuries and trauma that are beyond those physical in nature. The RAPID model is readily applicable to public health settings, the workplace, the military, faith-based organizations, mass disaster venues, and even the demands of more commonplace critical events, e.g., dealing with the psychological aftermath of accidents, robberies, suicide, homicide, or community violence. In addition, the RAPID model has been found effective in promoting personal and community resilience. Participants will increase their abilities to: - Discuss key concepts related to PFA - Listen reflectively - Differentiate benign, non-incapacitating psychological/ behavioral crisis reactions from more severe, potentially incapacitating, crisis reactions - Prioritize (triage) psychological/ behavioral crisis reactions - Mitigate acute distress and dysfunction, as appropriate - Recognize when to facilitate access to further mental health support - Practice self-care Developed in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Open Education Lab....

Top reviews


Dec 19, 2019

Great structure and interactive format. Clear expectations and excellent materials. Subject was explained in an effective manner that was easily understood and applied. Very useful for any profession!


Oct 12, 2020

this opened my mind towards intervention needs in a catastrophic event. something like this is required more than ever now. the content of the course was very good and thorough. very nicely explained.

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1 - 25 of 4,531 Reviews for Psychological First Aid

By Fernando H C

Apr 8, 2020

The instructor did warn that this was a rudimentary course, and as such, it was satisfying. I believe most of the important topics were explained, and in an appropriate manner. Some of the tools presented were new to me, and that was good. However, I think the course had flaws, especially topics that were not looked at, and that I believe are essential, even for a rudimentary course. These are:

How does PFA change when dealing with children? Children tend to be ignored in many studies and fields, and this course makes no difference for PFA with children, who will not understand the same things adults will, or respond in the same ways. The approach must be changed (usage of playful activities as a means of assessment, and psychoeducadtion of their parents or tutors, for example).

Along that same line, how does PFA change when dealing with other populations with different characteristics, and perhaps, higher vulnerabilities? Elderly populations, people with cognitive or physical disabilities, empoverished communities, people already dealing with loss and mourning, for example. This does include gender specifics by case: are there any differences when dealing with men or women, being a man or woman yourself? Or any other gender you or the other person identifies with.

There should be a huge emphasis on differences in the approach by culture - cultural sensibility. The course seems to be western-centric, and makes no emphasis on the differences of people in different cultures, when that is a factor that affects the whole lifestyle of the person, and should be on the radar of the person giving PFA. At least a note should be made to remind students that this is an important factor that should be looked into in every event.

Aspects in the shape of PFA. What about physical contact? How should you gesture to show empathy? Tone of voice, sitting position, eye contact, note taking, possibility of doing PFA in pairs or group settings, etc.? In this regard, I will assume that the fact he was acting had an effect on George´s performance, but his responses with Gina seemed mechanical and cold.

Connecting the person to other people. Should you, and how should you talk to the person´s social support network (in the case that that is a possibility), as well as other people that might help them.

I also think a basic course on PFA should delve somewhat deeper in the intervention and follow up parts. It seemed too rush. I would prefer a course that was slightly longer to be able to do that.

Again, it was satisfactory. It was a good rudimentary course, however incomplete.

By Gretchen T

Dec 20, 2019

Great structure and interactive format. Clear expectations and excellent materials. Subject was explained in an effective manner that was easily understood and applied. Very useful for any profession!

By Barbara V R

May 12, 2019

I would recommend this course, very pleasantly presented by Dr. G. Everly, to professionals of different background. It is important to raise awareness of compassionate social support for people in need, which this course certainly does. RAPID model is proved to be efficient and easy to implement. I personally value the Self-care section, as I often find myself overwhelmed with other people's negative experiences and I tend to over empathize with them. Another useful tip, especially for therapists and/or psychologists as myself, is not to diagnose or provide therapeutic intervention. It is good to keep that in mind during PFA, because it can do more damage than good. Regarding Self-care section, it would have been useful to get more information about available resources for the helpers (e.g. supervision, on the spot intervention, support groups etc).

By Gabriela A d A

Apr 3, 2017

Dear Mr. Everly,

The course is very well organized and objective. Maybe it could be offered in more languages – at least with subtitles – so more people would benefit from it.

Although I had not had any previous experience with PFA, I am pretty sure that I had been trying to find this field of knowledge for a long time… I am a psychologist (with a Psychosociological orientation) from Brazil and I have been working with human rights and community development in different settings and projects for the last 15 years also in other countries for short periods.

During the first simulation video, I was really touched, especially because I realized that I had found something that made complete sense to me as a psychologist, especially when our mentor stressed “it’s not therapy”. I am not a clinical psychologist and I did not come across these techniques and studies while I was at the university, and when I pictured myself working with refugees or the people at my city – I realized that we can apply PFA not only to people at catastrophes, but also to people living in very violent areas in some parts of Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.

Before the course, I was not satisfied with my resources to work in some settings: “Am I going to provide psychological therapy? No, it is not what I do”. But the PFA, yes, that I can picture myself doing it and have been doing something similar all my life. So, all I can say is Thank you, I will dive in.

Best regards,


By Parham G

Feb 10, 2017

A very helpful course and full of practical information for persons interfered with disaster relief and crisis intervention as this course has a well- planned syllabus and really informative vignettes

By Keerat G

Apr 16, 2020

A wonderful course with clear explanations and case scenarios to help reinforce learning. I was truly engaged throughout the course and felt like I learned a lot more than I anticipated when going in.

By Edgardo M D

May 23, 2020

I am very happy and satisfied with the course program. In fact, I am excited to apply what I have learned and also looking forward to enroll in another course. Thank you for this learning opportunity!

By Katie A M

Jul 19, 2018

The instructor was easy to follow, and very understanding! I have learned a lot with this course! Thank you for offering it, and I hope to see more courses on Psychology from John Hopkins University!

By Ishan T

Oct 13, 2020

this opened my mind towards intervention needs in a catastrophic event. something like this is required more than ever now. the content of the course was very good and thorough. very nicely explained.

By suresh t

Jul 19, 2017

Very well prepared materials and videos.

simulation was really helpful and not too lengthy or detailed

Instructor was very knowledgeable and seems to know to say the right amount of information

By Sarah T

May 10, 2020

This course contained some interesting material. However the main video case study I thought was pointless because it involved interviews with people well after an event, who had clearly had plenty of time to process their experiences (and seemed to have done a great job at doing so). How is this hindsight approach relevant to providing immediate first aid? I also found the dramatised videos featuring George really cringy. He started 'engaging' with the client before offering a chair, a drink and something to eat! Sometimes I felt what he said was actually presumptuous, eg telling her that there were other ways to keep the memories, instead of asking her for her own ideas on how to do this. It also appalled me that he accepted that she would revisit the house but didn't ask her if she had a family member or friend to go with her. It might not even have been safe to go back, but he didn't seem to think of that! So maybe this course partly didn't work for me because I am British and we have cultural differences in how we handle crises and emotions. We offer hospitality and time first and don't interrogate people. But I also felt on a fundamental level it didn't emphasise basic agency and choice nearly enough.

And finally, to the lecturer, I would say that there's no need to repeatedly say that you've been doing something for 40 years.


By Scott R

Feb 11, 2020

Unfortunately, I think this class missed the mark. Though the explanation of the RAPID model was adequate, I don't think the assessments were consistent with the material (mentioning a topic in a slide is not discussing it). When taking the assessment, if I get a wrong answer, explain why it's wrong in the review. Let the assessment continue to be a learning tool - otherwise it's trial and error. I thought the videos were incredibly outdated and showed little practical application. The vignettes were probably the most helpful, however I don't feel adequately prepared for deployment. That is, what does actual deployment look like? It was stated in one of the last sessions that we should expect 8-15 victims/day - what does that truly look like? One person in a gym with one client doesn't give me the "feel." I would have liked to see a typical setup for PFA responders, show the chaos vs. organization, the panic vs. calm, the typical vs. atypical. Lastly, what does it look like when a PFA responder encounters a case s/he cannot/should not handle? Are there psychologists available? What does that transition look like - how is that handled?

By Rashida B

Apr 29, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed this class. I will continue to familiarize myself with the RAPID model. We're living in times in which this type of training seems increasingly necessary. It's also an incredible way to give back to mine and neighboring communities where survivors may feel a level of discomfort with "strangers" during such an vulnerable time in their lives.

By Roberto L S A

Oct 9, 2017

I very much enjoyed taking this course. The information, simulations and assessments all worked perfectly and now I feel better prepared for any sort of adversity and eager to help those in need.

By Natalia L

Apr 5, 2020

The course is made in a very easy to learn and practical way. The RAPID model is easy to remember and can be very helpful in demanding events, such as the actual global situation and its consequences.

By Laura R D

Oct 8, 2017

It was really really interesting and very well explained. The ideas were clear, and the examples and simulations were very useful. The length of the videos was adequate. The course really helps to understand and learn the basics of Phychological First Aid, as well as the motivation and importance of such a job. Moreover, although it is focused (with the examples) in first aid after big disasters, it is totally useful for minor or personal situations, and how to be able to talk to others and help them with the best words, attitudes and behaviours from our side. It also helps to understand a little bit more human reactions (even ours, that's why there's a Self-Care module too!), and how to deal with them.

I really enjoyed the course and I totally recommended it. Thank you Dr. Everly!

By Mike R G

Apr 27, 2019

Great course for a future police officer like myself. A lot of training information to learn about people suffering from trauma as well as providing the best care as a first responder is critical . I highly appreciate this class and hope to see more advanced level psychology courses be available on this platform . Also, this is a great resume booster as well as can be mentioned on a cover letter to make you stand out from future applicants .

By Erin W

Apr 11, 2020

I think it would be really helpful to show some examples of how a person might present who is more of a threat, more agitated, more volatile, more dangerous so people are better able to recognize when they aren't suited to do triage or need to escalate more immediately and seek out help. Perhaps this is more a topic for a next level course - but I think it's really important. A lot of well meaning people aren't necessarily the best at recognizing the signs, especially when subtle, that someone is decompensating and/or escalating, which can happen quickly. This would serve as a juxtaposition to the existing case, which is great. I also wish there was a follow-up breakdown video about the chosen triage for the "Ashes" folks, I think that would be the most helpful for those of us who already have some experience in this realm.

Admittedly, as someone with very limited free time I did the whole course in one day, instead of over weeks, so perhaps that would be what comes up in the forum. But I was hoping for a breakdown of that video specifically, which I think would have been excellent to watch. Perhaps that's a next-level item as well, but...

So I'm hoping you will make an advanced course or point to resources that can provide next level training. I've done some of the FEMA courses but would love more geared toward this in particular. Given my training, I may be more likely to be someone they escalate to, and offering a course for those who oversee people doing frontline PFA could be helpful.

By Marilyn K M

Jun 15, 2017

This course is versatile in application, I can see PFA being used in multiple fields outside of law enforcement, first responder, or even disaster aid groups. I would recommend it as a set of self skills for individuals to be able to use it to help themselves and their local community. The main point is that Psychological First Aid is not therapy and an individual is not attempting to diagnose a person, they're working to help be a touchstone during a point of crisis in life to help focus a person onto a path of recovery and provide information and resources as needed. Even for anyone that is looking to study more Psychological or Mental Health courses, this is a good addition to help add to that knowledge base. The course is nicely spaced out so as not to be overwhelming whether one is taking it by itself or along with other courses at the same time. The break down of examples through the video simulations allows for a better grasp of right and wrong applications for the use of the RAPID model. Plus it provides a progressive flow to digest each section over the course of 5 weeks for the RAPID model in application and practice.

By Tiernan R

Mar 27, 2020

Dr. Everly's course on Psychological First Aid has been concise, informative, and at necessary times, light hearted. The compassionate understanding that comes with the necessary skills associated to dealing with trauma in life are often challenging to pass along through word or text, but he was able to shed light upon the importance of fine tuning these skills - with the help of the R.A.P.I.D. model. This course actively taught me new skills and tools I was able to put to use each day, and has helped to direct me towards my own personal life goals. I am very grateful. I do hope to find more courses or lectures taught by Dr. Everly. Thank you very much.

By Maya F

Jun 18, 2019

I think this is a very useful topic about which everybody should be more conscious. Taking this course is an excellent way of training people and building the surge capacity that communities need. I truly enjoyed taking the course and from my point of view it's very achievable and not too long or too difficult. More people should become aware that they are able to take this course and learn this useful techniques, not only for natural disasters, but for everyday life.


Jun 3, 2020

Very insightful course on how PFA can impact on the degree of impairment of mental health in a disaster or crisis situation. On a personal level, I feel that the knowledge gained on PFA can also be translated to a form of self-awareness, self-assessment and intervention of your own mental state. Proff. George's clear and precise lectures had made the concepts easy to understand. I definitely have enjoyed the class. Thank you.

By Samantha M

May 9, 2019

Very much enjoyed this class and strongly believe it will help anyone who takes it to aid those not only in disaster situations, but in many areas of life

By Flyagina Y

Feb 9, 2020

Очень важно вспоминать вещи, кажущиеся очевидными, ведь именно о них забываем или не учитываем их чаще всего.

Отличная и качественная подача материала! Сам курс ведётся на английском языке, но не смотря на то, что мой язык - Русский, у меня не было никаких проблем с пониманием материала. Всё дублируется (есть как субтитры в видео, так и полный текст лекции под ним. То, что говорит преподаватель, автоматически отображается на тексте.) Есть возможность создавать и сохранять заметки.

Прекрасная возможность попрактиковать английский на слух.

Сам материал - интересный и Полезный. Есть примеры и видео-виньетки, их разбор и показ "как надо". Много внимания уделяется формированию Понимания процесса (Зачем, почему это важно и прочее). Уже успела применить некоторые эти знания в работе - это действительно работает! Практическую пользу от материала уже ощутила.

Понравились и тесты. Несмотря на свою относительную простоту, они могут заставить подумать и задуматься над ответом. Не всё так очевидно. И это очень хорошо.

Благодарю Организаторов из Университета Дж. Хопкинса и Курсеры за такой полезный и важный курс.

By Mary L

Feb 6, 2018

This course is easy to understand and follow. I enjoyed completing it and learning about the practice of Psychological First Aid and also what it is not, it is not therapy. I particularly appreciated the module on self-care as I think it's very important for those in the caring professions to think of themselves so they won't burn out. I liked the preparation questions to ask before deployment. These are very good questions to ask, I work in a developing country and a conflict zone, I arrived on a Sunday and the phone number of my contact was not working, I was also not given a proper security and safety briefing until several days after I arrived. I also liked the advice around 'simply being there... is planting a seed'. Often we feel that what we are accomplishing is not enough and we can feel stressed and disappointed in ourselves and in our roles.