Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crisis Intervention

Just to keep things interesting, I'm going to start mixing in some posts based on a study guide I created for my clinical practice course final exam.  See, kiddies, it pays to hang on to old study materials!  Today, we'll start with some overview information on crisis intervention.

  • What is a crisis?
    • Event is perceived as a threat, danger or loss
    • Coping strategies are overwhelmed and insufficient
    • Person is in a state of disequilibrium
    • There is a window of opportunity to intervene
    • Opportunity for growth
  • What are the types of crises?
    • Situational – specific incidents (dumped by boyfriend, fail a test, busted for possession)
    • Developmental – developmental tasks produce a crisis. If prior developmental tasks have not been completed successfully, future tasks can produce crises
    • Environmental – different from situational crises because they affect groups of people (human disasters, political disasters, economic, natural disasters)
    • Existential – escalating inner conflicts related to issues of purpose in life, responsibility, independence, freedom and commitment (teen angst, midlife crisis, spiritual crisis)
    • Compound or Transcrisis – crisis reaction due to multiple partially unresolved prior crises
  • Dilation-Constriction Continuum Model
    • The dilation-constriction continuum assesses a person's affect, behavior & cognitions related to the crisis.
    • It can be used to assess where the person is on the continuum of dilation & constriction & try to bring the person back to center if they’re at extremes

Worker response: focus on specific feelings, work w/ cognitive material
Holding in feelings
Worker response: facilitate emotional expression
Excessive behavior, acting out
Worker response: reality oriented & problem solving
Paralyzed, immobile, withdrawn
Worker response: stimulate movement, help ct do for themselves
Disorganized, chaotic, confused
Worker response: clarification, specifics, problem identification
Preoccupied w/ solutions, ruminative, obsessive
Worker response: id alternatives & workable solutions

        Edited to add:  Upon listening to the social work podcast on crisis intervention, I realized that this post is essentially a summary of that podcast.  You can listen to that podcast here: Since Jonathan, the host of the social work podcast, is so kind as to include on his blog a properly formatted APA reference, here that is as well. Singer, J. B. (Host). (2007, January 29). Crisis intervention and suicide assessment: Part 1 - history and assessment [Episode 3]. Social Work Podcast. Podcast retrieved October 1, 2011, from

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