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DEVELOPING POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS


Once we are sure that the
individual has not neglected any important responsibilities or overlooked some
important undesirable consequences of the present situation, we will help him
think through possible ways of dealing with his present crisis.  With him, we have come to an understanding of
what happened and of what is happening. 
Now we will help him focus on what is likely to happen.  We are now beginning to make our planning
skills available to him.  As he gradually
begins to calm down, settle down, think things through, and plan ahead, we are
nearing the end of the crisis intervention process.  The now potential is substantially reduced
and the self-resolution factor is rapidly increasing.  Within the communication loop, we have
effectively combined crisis color with crisis content and moved toward the goal
of crisis reduction.


Ivan, age sixteen, has been telling
us about a fairly complicated crisis.  He
was initially very upset and felt as if everything was hopeless.  Using our understanding of communication
color, we are able to get him to calm down and explain what happened.  In the last few days, things had gone from
bad to worse.  He had a big fight with
his girl friend, accusing her of being too friendly with another boy at
school.  After thinking about it, he came
to the conclusion that she is a vivacious, friendly young girl and that he is
jealous of any attention she pays to other boys.  He sees that he had probably overreacted and
that the fight was mostly his fault.  The
problem is that she is not speaking to him now. 
In addition, he flunked his English exam.  He blew up when the teacher handed him back
his test paper, and she sent him down to the office.  The principal had really raked him over the
coals for his belligerent attitude toward the teacher and had called his
parents.  That started things at home,
and he got into a huge argument with his father.  The result was that his father grounded him
for a month, which means that he will not be able to go to his job after school
and will not get paid next Friday.  He
knows that his girl friend wants to go to the school dance next Saturday evening,
but since he is not going to get paid, he will not have enough money to take
her.  If all this were not enough, he
stormed out of the house after the argument with his father, jumped into his
car, tore out of the driveway, and ruined the transmission.  There’s no money to get that fixed, and he
can’t use the car, anyway, since he is grounded.  The final straw came today when his mother
learned from the mother of his best friend that Ivan had smoked some marijuana
at a party two or three weeks ago.  Now
she is down on him, threatening to take him to juvenile court.  It is all too much.  He feels like just taking off.


You say, “I think I might feel like
splitting too if I were you.  It seems
like everything is just going from bad to worse.  Do you think that will really help anything
to take off?”  “I doubt it.  They would just put the police on me, and
then I really would be in bad.  [You say:
There’s the problem at school, the hassle with your parents, the trouble with
your girl friend, and the transmission in your car.  Does that pretty well cover it?]  That’s pretty much it.  I don’t know what to do.  I’m going to have to get things straightened
out somehow.  [You ask: Which of those
four things needs straightening out the most?] 
I don’t see that there is much I can do about the thing with Mom and
Dad.  I’m grounded for a month, and
that’s that.  I don’t really think Mom
will take me to court, but she’s pretty mad. 
She’s kind of soft, and I think I can get back in with her okay.  I could always apologize to my English
teacher and see if that did any good.  I
doubt it, but it can’t hurt anything.  My
car?  It’s a lost cause.  I have probably lost my job, and there’s no
way to fix the car without money.  [You
ask: Is there any possibility that your mom and dad might let you keep your job
if you didn’t do anything else for a month?] 
I never thought about that.  They
might.  [You ask: Have you tried to talk
with your girl friend?]  A couple of days
ago but not since then.  [You ask: Will
you see her at school?]  I’ll see
her.  Maybe I can try to talk to her.”


As we see, intervention with Ivan
has moved past the initial communication color, and through the use of
understanding and skills from communication content, a picture of Ivan’s crisis
has been developed.  You are in the final
stage of crisis intervention with him. 
You and he are beginning to consider his options for doing something
about his situation.  The overwhelming
big problem has been broken down into several more manageable problems.  You are helping Ivan to think about possible
ways of dealing with the smaller problems. 
You are careful not to tell him what to do but rather are suggesting
possible ways of dealing with the problems. 
As we see, Ivan is a bright boy who is quite capable of understanding
and thinking about his problems.  You are
encouraging his capacity to focus on his problems, think things through, and
consider possible ways of dealing with them.




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