Behind the Fire

By Nelly Lavilluniere, Pierre Bialès

The clinical vignettes presented in this article examine the singularity of the very frequent encounters that firefighters have with death. These encounters are often looked upon “from the side”, seeing death without looking at it, thus enabling them to go on in their work. But these encounters can also give rise to psychical trauma and throw the uniformed subject off course. The sedimentation of shared experiences and the collective resources that the group fashions through its rituals, along with collective or individual debriefing sessions with psychologists or doctors who are trained in this kind of questioning, can contribute to the necessary taking into account of the inner stage to this kind of activity.


  • psychical trauma
  • firefighters
  • debriefing
  • group
  • collective
  • death
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