Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview: A Trauma Informed Experience

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
December 21, 2016

This webinar was originally included in a 2-part series. Only Part-2 remains available.

Russell Strand
Consultant, SHIFT, LLC

When people experience trauma, they go through a process that many professionals – as well as the individuals themselves – do not understand. For example, most of us were trained to believe that when an individual experiences a traumatic event, the brain records the majority of the details investigators need, or want to know, about the event: Who, What, Where, Why, When and How?

Unfortunately, trying to collect information from a victim of a traumatic event in this way actually inhibits the accuracy of the details provided. This is because investigators typically question victims about peripheral information such as the suspect’s description, i.e., height, weight, hair color, clothing worn, the time frame of the event, etc. Some victims are capable of providing this type of information in a limited fashion. However, the majority of trauma victims are not only unable to accurately provide this type of information, but when pressed to do so, they may inadvertently provide inaccurate information and details which in turn creates suspicion as well as inconsistencies.

The Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) is designed to change this. The technique draws on the best practices of child forensic interviews, critical incident stress management, and neuroscience – combining them into a simple three-pronged approach that unlocks the trauma experience in a way that we can better understand.


Following this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Identify and apply the elements of FETI
  • Understand the difference between cognitive thinking and experiential memory
  • Distinguish between central and peripheral details
  • Discuss the use of the FETI funnel and reframing questions in a trauma informed manner
  • Consider helpful interview closing procedures


This project is supported by Grant No. 2013-TA-AX-K045 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.