Understanding Crisis Intervention


Crisis intervention is a type of psychotherapy practiced mainly in acute, dangerous situations such as drug overdose, suicide attempts, and episodes of major depression. Often this intervention is carried out over the phone or at special centers staffed by paraprofessionals. In a comprehensive sense, it means any activity that is used to modify behavior, emotional state, or feelings. Many effective strategies discuss different types of issues. Psychological interventions have many various applications and are most commonly used to treat mental disorders using psychotherapy. The final purpose of these intrusions is to alleviate the symptoms and target the root cause of these disorders. It is also essential to explain different types of crises and treatments. Thus, only a whole investigation of the problem and highlighting the causes and techniques of intervention will improve people’s mental health.

Different Types of Crisis and Reactions to the Crisis

In practice, crises are the result of the accumulation of negative factors. Such circumstances can be a difficult period of life, during which attitudes toward oneself and the world, the way of understanding the acquired experience, and the direction of life change dramatically (Eronen & Bringmann, 2021). The crisis is described as a long deep internal conflict, which arises due to dissatisfaction with the results of life, and the lack of its meaning.

However, there are different types of crises that can be characterized by type and severity. Sometimes the trauma can be quite evident and obvious, but it happens that a person experiences a crisis but can still overcome it on his own. A disaster occurs when a person’s general mechanisms for coping with stressful situations are unable to resolve the problem. The most crucial factor provoking the crisis is the mismatch between the complexity and importance of the problem and the resources available to address it. The cause of the crisis can be not only negative situations but also glad, positive events, such as the birth of a child. Although, the cause of the crisis is difficult to find. A person has a feeling of inner change and today he can no longer live as he did yesterday (Eronen & Bringmann, 2021). Rather often the event that provokes the crisis can be completely insignificant; it works on the type of last drops.

Thus, there are such basic types of emergencies as developmental crises and situational and existential crises. Developmental crises appear as part of the process of growth and development through different periods of life. Sometimes a disaster is an expected part of the life cycle. Situational pressures are sudden and unexpected, such as accidents and natural disasters (Eronen & Bringmann, 2021). Also, existential changes are internal conflicts related to such things as the purpose of life, direction, and spirituality. The crisis of middle age is one example of a crisis that is often rooted in existential anxiety.

In any case, changes in the human psyche lead to certain consequences. The mildest consequences of a crisis are a change in the sleep cycle, a sudden change in mood, a change in weight, and a loss of interest in the environment. At the same time, the trauma may increase and produce pain, apathy, and possible suicide attempts (Eronen & Bringmann, 2021). Therefore, it is extremely necessary to detect changes in a person’s psychological state immediately to prevent serious consequences.

The impact of psychological shock and post-traumatic stress disorder varies depending on individual differences and the socio-cultural context and policies and resources specific to each person and community. Socio-ecological frameworks are used to differentiate the effects of traumatic stressors based on an individual’s physical characteristics, including skin color, racial origin, gender, and sexual orientation (Das, 2019). While personal and social factors can be a positive resource that contributes to security and well-being, they can also be grounds for abuse. When people in poverty or face stigma and discrimination, disability, homelessness, and political repression, they have a profound effect on mental health and stress (Das, 2019). Also, the application of violence, torture, and genocide through the cultural characteristics of a nation leaves an imprint on the memory of all members of society and leads to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder and related mental disorders and psychosocial problems.

Crisis Intervention Models and Crisis Intervention Techniques

Roberts’ model of seven-stage crisis intervention enables the description of the standard type of overcoming the crisis. Roberts identifies seven critical steps that clients typically perform in stabilizing, resolving, and overcoming a crisis. The first is to plan and ensure an adequate biopsychosocial assessment of deterioration of health and imminent danger. It is also essential to establish psychological contact and immediately begin working with the patient. The next step is serious definition problems, including the causes of the crisis (Birkhead & Vermeulen, 2018). However, it is extremely difficult for the victim to explore his emotions, so it is also necessary to encourage the desire to understand his sentiments and sensations.

If the previous stages were successful, then the doctor can create alternatives and strategies to overcome the psychological trauma. The next element is to restore functioning by implementing an action plan and periodically reviewing the patient’s morale (Birkhead & Vermeulen, 2018). There are also many approaches to integrating crisis intervention, and each member of the medical team can perform the specific steps. First-aid physicians can classify and assess the situation and, if necessary, provide primary psychological aid to victims of trauma to prevent any long-term mental health problems. Techniques used by crisis intervention experts are also crucial. It is vital to remember that the victim needs the most suitable treatment. Also, in moments of crisis, people respond most competent to simple procedures. Well-known things provide the largest chances for a positive effect of treatment. However, consultors need to practice a technique in which psychological first aid should not be too long, in most cases from minutes to one hour. The mention of obnoxious moments will produce the victim to feel fear and stress again.

Therefore, it is significant to apply creativity; doctors need to develop conversations and training according to the specific patient. It is also essential to report the expected result. This will encourage the patient to get out of the crisis. Such simple techniques can serve to establish contact and work effectively on the problem (Kornhaber, et al., 2016). Hence, it should be remembered that all health experts are also crucial in crises, as they are in regular contact with patients. They may notice a deterioration in mental health and respond immediately or naturally morally support sufferers. Crisis intervention is a technique that should be available to all health professionals and requires productive communication to effectively apply health care.


Thus, in psychological science, the crisis is defined as one of the states of the inner world of personality. When difficulties appear, and a human does not understand the purpose of life because everything he believed was lost, a person needed to support from a new way of thinking. Therefore, in such moments it is extremely crucial to observe a patient. Otherwise, mild stress can develop into a chronic psychological illness, which will be much harder to overcome in the future.


Birkhead, S., & Vermeulen, K. (2018). Sustainability of psychological first aid training for the disaster response workforce. Am J Public Health, 108 (5), 381-382.

Das, B. (2019). Mental health trauma treatment within the current Mediterranean refugee crisis. Int J Adv Counselling, 41, 481–491.

Eronen, M., & Bringmann L. (2021). The theory crisis in psychology: How to move forward. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 16 (4), 779-788.

Kornhaber, R., Walsh, K., Duff, J., & Walker, K. (2016). Enhancing adult therapeutic interpersonal relationships in the acute health care setting: an integrative review. Journal of multidisciplinary healthcare, 9, 537–546.

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PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Understanding Crisis Intervention." January 6, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/understanding-crisis-intervention/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Understanding Crisis Intervention." January 6, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/understanding-crisis-intervention/.


PsychologyWriting. "Understanding Crisis Intervention." January 6, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/understanding-crisis-intervention/.