Crisis Intervention Model Essay Research Paper Running

Crisis Intervention Model Essay, Research Paper


The Crisis Intervention Model


Camden County College


The crisis intervention model is applicable whenever the functioning of an individual or family has been unexpectedly and dramatically affected in some personal loss or tragedy. It is to be used during a four to six week period following the event that precipitated the crisis. In this research paper I will attempt to describe the crisis intervention model and more importantly explain how it is applied in the field of social work.

Crisis intervention has been used to assist survivors or assault, families in turmoil, disaster victims, hospital emergency room patients, telephone hot line callers, mental health emergency clients, individuals contemplating suicide, and couples experiencing difficulties. To understand the crisis intervention model the word crisis should first be defined. The word crisis can be defined as a temporary state of disequilibrium during which a person has the potential for heightened maturity and growth or for deterioration and greater vulnerability to future stress.

Normal crisis situations are episodic throughout life. Crises are precipitated by specific, meaningful, threatening, identifiable incidents that can be external or internal, as well as single or cumulative. These incidents can be called hazardous events. A state of active crisis exists if customary coping responses are unsuccessful, causing anxiety and uncertainty.

Crises can be classified as developmental, situational, social, or compound. Developmental crises happen to everyone as people experience transitions or life-cycle changes such as adolescence or old age. Situational crises are caused by non-developmental, unexpected, traumas and are often specific to the individual or family. Social crises concern larger societal or cultural events or responses, such as discrimination or persecution, and their effect on a particular individual or family. Compound crises occur when a current trauma reactivates responses to previous losses that had receded from consciousness. (Parad, 1965)

How a person resolves a crisis state is influenced by the hazardous external circumstances as well as by the person s internal interpretation of events, emotional response, previous experience, personality characteristics, social supports, and the cumulative influences of other recent hazardous events.

In the social work practice, crisis intervention is a mechanism for delivering the immediate help that a person or family in crisis needs to re-establish equilibrium. The crisis intervention model is a time limited, present-oriented service that focuses on addressing the presenting problem. The basic goals of crisis intervention are psychological resolution of the individual s crisis, practical resolution of aspects of the problem, and restoration to the levels of functioning that existed before the crisis period.

The crisis intervention approach seems best suited to individuals who have experienced a clearly hazardous event, have a high level of anxiety pain, and show evidence of a recent acute breakdown in problem-solving abilities. During attempts at crisis resolution, people are particularly amenable to help because they have exhausted their customary adaptive coping strategies and are desperate for relief.

In the social work practice crisis intervention can involve any or all of the following activities: offering immediate response; giving support; providing focused problem solving; aiding in the enhancement of self-image; setting limited and specific goals; identifying and getting access to resources; and initiating new modes of thinking, feeling, and coping.

The treatment should concentrate on empowerment and effectiveness. The crisis intervention process includes a review of progress, preparation for termination, follow-up, and mutual evaluation. The social worker can exercise direct influence when necessary, but as the person becomes more empowered and competent, the social worker relinquishes control and activity.


Aguilera, D.C. (1998). Crisis intervention: Theory and methodology. St. Louis: Mosby.

Greenstone, J.L., & Leviton, S.C. (1993). Elements of crisis intervention. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

Hoff, L.A. (1984). People in crisis: Understanding and helping. Menlo Park: CA: Addison-Wesley Publishing.

Horejsi, C., & Horejsi, G., & Sheafor, B. (2000). Techniques and guidelines for Social Work Practice (5th ed.). 102-103.

Parad, Howard, & Parad, L., (1990). Crisis Intervention Book 2

Poindexter, C., Health & Social Work, May 97, Vol. 22 Issue 2, P.125, 8P.


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