What is Crisis Intervention, and How Can I Become More Effective At It?
We’ve all faced a crisis at some point in our lives. Depending on how it turned out, we either remember the people who came alongside and helped us OR the people who caused us more harm than good. But, even if we don’t know their names, we remember how they made us feel, and how they took care of us (or didn’t).
When someone is facing a crisis, one of the best things you can do for them is crisis intervention. It’s a tool that can save lives, but not understanding it or how to properly use it can cause further damage if you’re not careful.
So, what is crisis intervention, and how can you become more effective at it? Here’s how the I.F.O.C. defines crisis intervention and the resource we recommend so you’re better equipped to help someone through the next crisis.
What is Crisis Intervention?
Crisis intervention is a short-term management technique designed to reduce potentially permanent damage to an individual experiencing a crisis. A crisis is any kind of overwhelming event — such as divorce, violence, the passing of a loved one, or the discovery of a severe illness. In these situations, how you respond to the individual is crucial, and the kind of help they receive can either help or harm them further.
Essentially, crisis intervention is the way you help someone process what they’re going through so that they don’t develop deeper mental or emotional difficulties down the line. Rather than spiral further into despair, you’re helping them deal with the experience and get their hearts back to wholeness.
Some basic examples of crisis intervening are:
- Assisting an individual
- Providing support for peers
- Mitigating stress to help reduce PTSD.
There are a few other tips on responding to a crisis and how you can help, but the primary key is being aware of your response. When it comes to crisis intervention, it’s all about finding ways to best support the individual while they process, and doing what you can to reduce their stress.
How Can I Become More Effective?
Without a good understanding of how to quickly intervene in a biblical, helpful manner, you could create more damage physically, spiritually, and emotionally for the person you are trying to help. However, knowing some of the first steps to take during a crisis can provide comfort and healing quickly rather than cause more harm.
One of the best ways to become more effective in helping someone through a crisis is by taking a crisis intervention course. Here at the I.F.O.C., we strongly believe in educating yourself when it comes to these delicate situations. While we don’t directly teach about crisis intervention, the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) does.
The ICISF provides foundational crisis intervention training that’s backed by science and pairs well with chaplaincy. Their core classes cover various situations, such as assisting an individual or a group, and are a great way to get educated on how to navigate a crisis with someone.
If you’re interested in becoming a chaplain, we believe that adding the ICISF certification is the most effective way to help people in crisis. Chaplaincy is the foundation, and crisis intervention is the framework.
Getting the Right Tools
When helping someone process through a crisis, it’s essential to have the right tools for the situation. If you’re not well equipped or don’t know how to respond best, there’s a chance that you might cause more harm than good for the individual, despite your good intentions.
Crisis intervention is the way you help someone process what they’re going through so that they don’t develop deeper mental or emotional problems down the line. Rather than spiral further into despair, you’re helping them deal with the experience and get their hearts back to wholeness.
Getting the proper training for crisis intervention is crucial, especially as a chaplain and one of the best ways to do that is through the ICISF. Crisis intervention and chaplaincy often go hand-in-hand, so getting the right tools ahead of time will go a long way.
If you consider yourself good in a crisis and have the desire to help others through them, consider chaplaincy.