The physical and emotional reaction to an overwhelming event or a series of events can be described as a crisis. There are elements that describe and identify the situation when a crisis happens, and then ways to alleviate or eliminate such a situation entirely. This paper is a reactionary essay that aims to examine the book written by James L. Greenstone and Sharon C. Leviton, ‘Elements of Crisis Intervention.’
The authors begin the book by discussing what a crisis entails; this is when a person is unable to temporarily cope with life effectively because of unusual stress. The book goes on state that people_x0092_s behaviors are characteristically made up of certain beliefs systems and assumptions made over time. Based on this principle, there is need to evaluate a victim and get their perspective on a crisis. Further, the book is keen to expound on what entails an intervention. This development is crucial to readers as there lays a difference between counseling and intervention. The most notable difference being that counseling seeks to solve the underlying problem whereas intervention seeks to only manage the situation and prevent further damage. Consequently, crisis intervention can be defined as the management of a spiraling situation to prevent further damage and bring the victim back to a state whereby they can handle the pressure in life.
The book further fronts emotional first aid as the purpose or gist of crisis intervention. The term emotional first aid in this case is used to expound on the purpose of an intervener in their efforts to assist the victim. This development can be seen in the victim_x0092_s recovery of the situation by returning to pre-crisis functioning. Crisis intervention must embody a strategy and in this case, the book fronts the utilization of a crisis cube to define the course of crisis. The crisis cube illustrates a three-dimensional approach of crisis development. The crisis cube is quite useful as it shows how before a crisis occurs, the functioning at normal capacity can be affected by multiple, single or a series of factors. Further, it puts into account the time factor that is crucial in such cases for the longer a crisis is left without appropriate handling, the harder for a crisis intervention to be successful.
The authors also call for a look into the victims profile to determine whether they are a crisis-prone person. The book outlines the factors to look out for that defines a crisis-prone person and consequently, the measures or strategies to undertake given such a case. The intervener has the sole responsibility to isolate the events that precipitated the crisis and thereby skillfully use the most ideal method to manage the crisis and return the victim to pre-crisis functionality. For crisis intervention to be successful, the intervener must know the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms and signs of psychological reactions to crisis. This development is crucial as relative care should be taken to not worsen the situation and further the intricacies involved need a sharp and clear mind with a strategy at hand.
Effective crisis intervention is an orderly and logical process that a misstep can have disastrous results especially with the fragility of such situations. The book advocates for development of a strategy and implementing it immediately as time is of crucial importance. The intervener must take charge of the situation and be honest to the victim at what you intend to achieve yet being careful not to make the victim withdraw. The intervener should build a structure that is supportive and stable and be forthright with the victim and take care to not promise things that they cannot substantiate. A creative approach is the way to go for an intervener and use of physical force should only be used as a last resort. Further, a keen analysis should be undertaken of the victim with also an observance of non-verbal cues and body language. After critical analysis of information collected, a strategy should then be devised to deal with the situation. First and foremost, victims are blind to resources that they embody and an intervener should point out such resources. Secondly, the intervener should give hope to the victim and develop several options to undertake.
The book further looks at communicating effectively with those in crisis with the authors pointing out that every communication embodies three messages, namely; meaning, feeling and content. With this in mind, careful consideration should be applied in one_x0092_s communication to avoid potential distortion of the message. An assumption for an intervener is paramount to failure as one wrong move can negate the gains already made. Furthermore, victims of crisis are people who are most vulnerable and unstable and should be handled as such. For an intervener, the use of passive and active empathy is paramount when dealing with victims of crisis or risk victim_x0092_s lack of trust to their plight. Words used should also be friendly and careful not to trigger any negativity to the intervention.
The book also addresses special issues for the intervener. Key and crucial to the success of an intervention is the level of preparedness and awareness of a situation. Further, an intervener should identify the relationship between situational awareness and safety procedures. An intervener should also develop their sensing capabilities by learning to trust the inner or gut feeling. A crisis can occur with regards to all aspects of life and keen to note is that at one time or another, everyone goes through a crisis. The book further looks at grief in terms of crisis intervention. An intervener should be able to understand the elements that constitute grief and the effect on people. The intervener should be able to understand what a victim experiences through a grief process and thereby be better placed to assist the victim.
The authors further expound on the legal implications of crisis intervention and cite that it_x0092_s crucial for an intervener to learn the laws that regulate the trade. The treatment of victims should be done in a human nature and within the scope of one_x0092_s experience. Professional competency such as maintenance of confidentiality should be strictly adhered to. The book finally covers disaster management and calls for an intervener to be always prepared to respond to disaster as they lack a timeline and can occur at any time. The application of crisis intervention procedure should be followed to the letter and one should also be careful to take care of themselves (Greenstone and Sharon).
The Elements of Crisis Intervention is a book that I would recommend for everyone as its ideas and wealth of knowledge are revolutionary in the handling of crisis. It embodies concise development of ideas and provides true and valuable insight in to crisis intervention.
Greenstone, James L., and Sharon C. Leviton. Elements of crisis intervention: Crises & how to respond to them. Thomson Brooks/Cole Publishing Co, 1993. Print.