Definition of a crisis
Crisis in health dimension can be defined as the climax of a disease when a critical change takes place indicating death or recovery.
Ways for evaluating the process of crisis formation
An event occurs
Perception of the event leads to a biased distress
Biased distress leads to malfunctioning
survival skills unable to improve functioning
Ways of increasing functioning
Change perception of the participating event and try to offer helping strategies
biased distress will be decreased
Functioning level will be increased
How a crisis can be both an opportunity and a danger
With the help of counseling and intervention, the individual will cope with the crisis combined with increased survival skills, emotional growth and resources which will help him to deal with future stressors (familydoctor.org, 2008).
Without help, the individual may go back to a low level of functioning by use the ego defense mechanisms or remain nonfunctional via suicide, homicide or psychosis
How someone becomes crisis prone (familydoctor.org, 2010)
Experiences a stressor perceived as threatening which leads to subjective distress and impairment in functioning. Coping methods fail.
State of disequilibrium ensues for 4-6 weeks
No intervention or help is sought
Individual uses ego strength to deny, repress, dissociate from the meaning of the precipitating event and subjective distress and functions at a lowered level.
Individual not prepared emotionally to deal with future stressors and this may easily lead into crisis states when faced with potential precipitating events.
Factors which can lead to a crisis
Material resources such as transportation, money, food, clothing and shelter
Personal resources such as personality traits, intelligence, education, ego strength and physical well-being
Social resources which include family, co-workers, friends, clubs and church
Types of crisis
Developmental – these are normal, expected, transitional phases as people move from one stage of life to another. People often are unable to cope with evolving needs of family members.
Situational- these are uncommon, extraordinary events. There is no way of forecasting or controlling them.
Curvilinear model of anxiety (family doctor.org, 2007)
A lot anxiety is overwhelming and paralyzing
Too little anxiety leaves very little motivation to change or accept interventions
Moderate anxiety is optimal in motivating people to change and allowing them to utilize personal resources
Sometimes an individual needs medication to reduce anxiety to the point where a person can respond to intervention
Other times anxiety is encouraged to increase motivation
Caplan’s seven characteristics of effective coping behavior
Actively looking for reality issues and finding for information
Expressing freely both negative and positive feeling and bearing frustration
Actively looking for assistance from others
Dividing problems into manageable parts and going through them one part at a time
Ready to cope with fatigue and pacing assisting efforts while keeping control in as many areas of functioning as possible
Understanding feelings where possible and being flexible and willing to adapt
Trusting in one self and others and having positive mind about the outcome
Multicultural perspectives in crisis intervention
To understand the person’s world view we need to address culturally biases assumptions
Culturally biased assumptions
Assumption that all people share a common measure of normal behavior
Assumption that crisis is primarily individual rather than part of a larger group such as friends, family, society etc
Assumption that the definition of problems can be limited by academic boundaries
Assumption that others will understand abstraction the same
The assumption that independence is valuable, and dependencies are undesirable. We should not depend on others or allow them to depend upon us
The assumption that people would prefer counseling rather than support of family, friends, peers etc
Assumption of good or bad is transferable
Assumption that human service worker, crisis workers know all their assumptions
Assumptions that the client’s history has nothing or limited relevance
Guidelines to assist the crisis intervener’s multicultural awareness
Attempt to understand your own cultural biases
Where possible, make an effort to learn the language of those into crisis you may need to intercede. Find a well trained translator where necessary
Ask for further clarification if you are not sure what the victim said