BOS is a group-based intervention that provides participants with the opportunity to receive and offer support in the context of the group as they process issues related to operational stress. Different from classroom-based learning, a key feature of BOS is the care that the facilitator gives to developing the group. Therapeutic change is enhanced when group members can get to know each other in a more in-depth and supportive fashion. We set rules of engagement for the group that allow it to be a safe place for them to process issues. The facilitator provides specific information relevant to operational stress and the group explores its relevance. The group dynamic is a powerful change mechanism in and of itself.
BOS also uniquely combines theoretical and experiential learning procedures to enhance understanding of how to mitigate the effects of operational stress. Within each module, participants learn then discuss and process the content of that module and its impact on participants.
Another important component of BOS is embedded peer support. A public safety employee who is in the latter stages of recovering from an operational stress injury will provide peer leadership within the context of the group. A vast research base has consistently highlighted over and over again the importance of peer support in terms of protection and recovery from the effects of operational stress.
Once the group is established, and the facilitator has determined the rules of engagement to support safe and effective functioning of the group, the next phase of work within BOS can begin.