Crisis Intervention

There are several goals in crisis counseling:

  1. To help the person cope effectively with the crisis situation to his usual level of functioning.
  2. To decrease anxiety, apprehension and other insecurities that may persist after the crisis has passed.
  3. To teach crisis-solving techniques so the person is better prepared to anticipate and deal with future crises.
  4. To consider biblical teachings about crises so the person learns from the crisis and grows as a result.

The counselor can make a difference during a crisis in several ways:

  1. Make contact: People in a crisis don’t always seek a counselor, so more often we must go to them to show support, warmth, understanding and genuine interest. The person make drift into daydreaming, and eye contact can bring them back to reality. Touching can give reassurance, but one must be cautioned that a hug or hand holding can be interpreted with sexual overtones. Remember to ask about your own motivation for touching. Is it something that can give comfort to your counselee in their crisis?
  2. Reduce anxiety: The counselor’s calm, relaxed manner can help reduce anxiety in the client, especially when the calmness is accompanied by reassurance. Remind the client that there ARE ways to deal with this situation. State your approval of something done effectively. Encourage taking deep breaths, relaxing of muscles, using comforting verses from the Bible as well.
  3. Focus on issues: There are at times a mass of confusing facts and one can be overwhelmed. Which are the real problems and the ones on which need to be worked on first. Focus on the present and not on the possibilities of the future.
  4. Evaluate available resources:
    1. The counselor’s willing to help.
    2. The spiritual resources we have in Christ.
    3. The client’s personal resources: Intellect, skills, past experiences, motivation.
    4. Interpersonal resources: Friends, family.
    5. Tangible help: Medical, legal, psychological, financial and community.
  5. Plan intervention: Deciding on a course of action is very helpful, “What do we do now?” How realistic is the plan? What should be done first? Our goal is not to put more pressure on the client to make these decisions, but also we don’t want them to become dependent on someone else to solve the problem.
  6. Encourage action: It is possible to decide on the plan and be afraid to move out in faith to get it all going. Taking action involves some risk. There is the possibility of failure or later regret. There are some crises that will never be resolved even with action taken: death, terminal illness, failure to get the promotion. They will need help to face the situation honestly and adjust to the reality of it.
  7. Instill hope: This can bring relief from the suffering. It is based on the belief that things will be better in the future. The Christian counselor does this through:
    1. Sharing of Scriptural truth, stimulating faith in God.
    2. Help them to examine their self-defeating logic, like “Ill never get better” and “Nothing can get worse.” These should be gently challenged.
    3. You can get the counselee moving and doing something, even if it is minimal activity can bring hope in the steps toward the goal.
  8. Environmental intervention: Encouraging others to pray, give money or supplies, give practical help or otherwise assist. The client might feel embarrassed by the attention, or threatened by the implication that they need help. They might even become angry with the counselor.
  9. Follow-up: Crisis counseling in short-lived. The time moves on, and we wonder if anything has been learned? Will the next crisis be handled effectively? Is the person getting along satisfactorily?
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