How To Use Crisis Intervention Strategies

Emotional problems

Losing a loved one (or loved ones for that matter) over drugs, accidents, suicide, terrorism, abuse or over a crime can be devastating. Some events may be so traumatic that if people don't have any adequate support system, these events may trigger mental disorders. There are a lot more psychiatric problems than even people who have them are aware of, not just schizophrenia. Crisis intervention may not be a common term, but it is one way to help these people cope and prevent them from going over the edge, hurting themselves as well as their loved ones.

The definition for crisis intervention according to a medical dictionary is "a short-term intense therapy that emphasizes identification of the event that triggered the emotional trauma. Its focus is on neutralizing the trauma and mobilizing coping skills".

The following are basic principles, which hold true in most of the cases:

  • Assessment. It's a medical term for obtaining information about the problem and about the person himself/herself. Practitioners may get information regarding the person's personality, how well he reacts to a situation, his strengths and weakness, etc. This is very basic but very important, as this serves as the basis of crisis care to be given later on.
  • Express. One may recall how relieved one felt after talking it out with someone. In crisis intervention, the patient is encouraged to express himself freely, without judgment or bias.
  • Explore help. A drug addict may erratically go in and out of a facility, center, etc. for rehab, but there is no use denying that family and peer support are crucial to the well-being of the patient. The patient will be asked to identify the people he leans on for help or for support.
  • How to cope. There are no right or wrong coping mechanisms. The trick is what to appropriately use for a given situation. The patient's strategies will be explored. Useful and appropriate coping methods will be encouraged and used.
  • Solve problems. The patient will be encouraged to identify what solutions he chooses for the problems that he will be facing, as well as the most appropriate ones. Its cause and effect results will also be discussed. As the reader may note, a crisis intervention may be viewed like counseling, yet counseling may take a longer time than the former. The therapist may plan to conduct family intervention if the need arises. If the patient is suffering but recovering from psychiatric problems, he will be taught signs that the disorder will be occurring soon and when the crisis intervention is required yet again. Drug intervention is not usually applied during crisis intervention, but sedatives may be used during the most acute phase to allow rest.
  • How to prevent relapse. Talk to a friend or call the crisis hotline, if support systems are absent or beyond reach. Intervention strategies are numerous but should be individualized for use.

Most people cope well in most crisis situations but may need help in dealing with new situations. In fact, crisis intervention does not only help patients having problems with drug abuse or losing someone over accidents, but may also apply those with problems in emotion and temper control, or problems in relating to other people (as with autism, mental retardation, anti-social disorder, etc).


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