Crisis Counseling: A Brief Understanding


When thinking about crisis the first thing you need to keep in mind is that until someone’s needs are met it is hard for them to concentrate on something else. As you can see with Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs an individual starts to worry about their basic needs such as food, water, and shelter before worrying about their self esteem or other mental health issues they may be struggling with.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: http://www.broadreachtraining.com/images/misc/maslow1.jpg

As a result of individuals focusing on their individual needs crisis counseling does not focus immediately on how that person came to develop their mental health issues due to previous trauma or other biopsychosocial assessments. The FIRST and FOREMOST effort is establishing support for the individual or community by providing the needs of empathy, food, water, shelter, and other resources the individual may need. This is considered psychological first aid.

Crisis is taking someone out of their daily equilibrium and causing their coping strategies to be ineffective. Generally, human beings are resilient. By providing physical care and basic needs individuals are able to start returning to a state of equilibrium on their own. However, each person is unique and their experiences, biology, etc. may cause them to not be able to handle a crisis on their own. This is where crisis intervention or where more psychological care through mental health professionals starts to take place.

The key concepts of Crisis Counseling are:

  1. Safety
  2. Stability
  3. Connection

The American Counseling Association has a 1 on 1 crisis counseling fact sheet that you can look at following this link:

http://www.counseling.org/docs/trauma-disaster/fact-sheet-10—-1on1-crisis-counseling.pdf?sfvrsn=2

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