The crisis intervention process
proceeds on multiple levels. For those
with little understanding of crisis and crisis intervention, the process
appears to be relatively easy and sounds a lot like common sense. It has been said, though, that common sense
represents the accumulated wisdom of the ages, and skillful intervention is not
nearly so easy and casual as it might appear.
When someone asks my kids what their daddy does, they usually reply that
he just talks to people. Their daddy
has more fancy names for it: counseling, psychotherapy, play therapy, and even
crisis intervention. Nonetheless, the
kids are right. In crisis intervention,
most of what we do is just talking to people.
At least, that is what it looks like to an observer. As we shall see, though, our talking to
people is but one level of what is really going on in the process. We are helping the individual develop and
maintain crisis focus. We are coming to
an understanding of the precipitating event while developing judgment about the
now potential and the self-resolution factor.
We are developing a crisis definition and formulating intervention
hypotheses. Throughout the process, we
are evaluating our intervention and are being alert to potential cumulative
effects and other unseen effects. We are
actively involved with the individual in the process. Activities at this level tend to have a
thinking/doing quality. At another
level, we are carefully and caringly listening to the individuals
communication to us. We hear him, we are
trying to understand, and we want him to know we care. The understanding that comes through
listening is, however, not passive. We
are actively involved with the individual, affecting and being affected by him,
and intentionally and intently working toward his being able to deal with his
difficulties. As we talk about crisis
communication, then, we will see that our talk is really not just talk. It is a special kind of communication that
requires sensitivity, self-awareness, compassion, and concern for the
individual and honest empathy with his crisis involvement.