Crisis interventions are needed when someone experiences tremendous difficulty responding calmly and rationally to an unexpected event. Events that precipitate a crisis intervention include everything from marriage problems, suffering the loss of a loved one or living through a natural disaster.
In regards to addiction and mental illness, crisis interventions are often employed when an individual has expressed thoughts of suicide, is in imminent danger of losing his or her life to an addiction or is suspected of having some kind of psychotic break with reality and demands immediate treatment. Because the individual is not capable of resolving the crisis independently, a team of crisis intervention specialists convenes to provide necessary counseling and medical treatment if necessary.
Traditional counseling differs from crisis intervention counseling in that crisis counseling focuses on strategies that can be learned and used in the short term rather than the long term. Once an individual is seized in the grip of a trauma and cannot access the coping skills necessary to avoid harming themselves or others, a professional crisis counselor steps in to help the person regain a sense of calm, control and order in their life.
Depending on the intensity level of an individual’s reaction to an internal or external crisis, counselors may request the individual be hospitalized overnight or up to a few days to ensure the person is returned to the degree of functioning they were experiencing prior to the crisis.
Crisis Intervention Criteria
Crisis counseling generally integrates several principles that make it an effective and useful strategy when confronting individuals who are irrational, terrified and sometimes uncommunicative due to mental illness, substance abuse, or psychological trauma. Crisis counseling is always brief and simple, usually lasting no more than 60 minutes (with patients attending counseling sessions following the de-escalation of the original crisis event) and must contain suggestions that are pragmatic and applicable to the situation.
Serenity Now‘s crisis intervention specialists are experienced in managing a wide variety of situations and are capable of creating innovative techniques that can quickly assist the person in crisis.
When a Crisis Intervention is Needed
Everybody experiences strong feelings of disappointment, anger, hopelessness and guilt throughout their lives but sometimes these feelings are too intense and disorganized to be processed rationally by some people. Addicts are especially prone to suffering psychological crises because of their addiction to substances that severely disrupt the normal functioning of the brain and body.
Family situations such as unplanned pregnancies or the desertion by a spouse; financial issues that result in homelessness and legal consequences and sudden, existential moments of despair, loss and tremendous guilt that often comes from hitting “rock bottom” are a few events that demand a crisis intervention in the addict’s life.
Suicidal ideation and threats of suicide are the primary reasons for a Serenity Now, CMHC crisis intervention team to take action. By offering empathetic support, a place to stabilize and implement psychotherapeutic techniques that involve active listening and stress reduction strategies, our crisis specialists are capable of defusing a potentially dangerous situation and help the troubled individual receive the unconditional reassurance and health resources they need.
After the Crisis Intervention
Following a crisis intervention, clients will be instructed to attend counseling sessions at least once a week. Psychoeducational materials are given to patients during these sessions to help them develop adequate coping skills so that a crisis intervention may not be needed in the future.
In addition to learning how to deal with unexpected crises, patients are also taught how to select and use a variety of effective solutions to difficulties that commonly appear in the life of a recovering addict.
Serenity Now, CMHC providers also initiate cognitive behavioral psychology techniques to teach patients how an emotionally overwhelming reaction to an event is often based on erroneous thinking patterns. CBT also helps them learn about what they can do to change the way subjective thoughts control negative perspectives.
Counselors guide crisis patients through the act of processing, understanding and assimilating the traumatic event so that the patient gains insight into all aspects of what exactly occurred. By remaining by the patient’s side after the intervention, crisis counselors methodically develop and enhance the patient’s sense of self-reliance and self-efficacy. These two characteristics are vital to helping the patient deal independently with any other crises that may happen as well as facilitating the ability to solve problems without the need to abuse drugs or alcohol.