Crisis Intervention

Crisis is a situation or period in an individual’s life that produces an overwhelming emotional response. This event occurs when an individual is confronted by a certain life circumstance or stressor that he or she cannot effectively manage by using his or her usual coping skills. Crisis is an unexpected event that can create uncertainty to an individual and has been viewed as a threat to a person’s important goals.

Stages of Crisis
The first stage of crisis occurs when the person is confronted by a stressor. Exposure to this stressor would result to anxiety. The individual then tries to handle things by using his or her customary coping skills. Second stage of crisis occurs when the person realizes that his usual coping ability is ineffective in dealing with anxiety. As the person becomes aware of his unsuccessful effort in dealing with the perceived stressor, he moves on to the next stage of crisis where the individual tries to deal with the crisis using new methods of coping.  The fourth stage of crisis takes place when the person’s coping attempts of resolving the crisis fail. The individual then experiences disequilibrium and significant distress.

Types of crisis
  1. Maturational crisis – also called developmental crisis. These are predictable events in a person’s life which includes getting married, having a baby and leaving home for the first time.
  2. Situational crises – unexpected or sudden events that imperils ones integrity. Included in this type of crisis are: loss of a job, death of a loved one or relative and physical and emotional illness of a family member or an individual.
  3. Adventitious crisis – also called social crisis. Included in this category are: natural disasters like floods, earthquakes or hurricanes, war, terrorist attacks, riots and violent crimes such as rape and murder.

Crisis Intervention
Crisis intervention refers to the methods used to offer immediate, short-term help to individuals who experience an event that produces emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral distress or problems.
Guide for an effective crisis intervention:
  1. Assist the person to view the event or issue in a different perspective.
  2. Assist the individual to use the existing support systems. It is vital to help the person find new sources of support that can help in decreasing the feelings of being alone or overwhelmed.
  3. Assist the individual in learning new methods of coping that will help resolve the current crisis and give him or her new coping skills to be used in the future when dealing with another overwhelming situation.


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