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An ancient Chinese proverb offers an intriguing definition of the first of two major topics in this course, crisis: “A crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind.” In fact, if you look closely at your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, you will notice a pair of Chinese characters adorning the cover. One means danger and the other opportunity. For many people, this may constitute an unusual way to conceptualize the idea of crisis, as it is often associated exclusively with painful, distressing, or disastrous events—the danger element. Yet, as the saying suggests, crisis also represents a turning point, and thus, an opportunity. It does not come in the form that most people would choose, but it is there nonetheless, waiting to be seized.

But how does this happen? How does an individual stuck in a crisis find the resolve to move on in his or her life? This is where the second major topic in this course, intervention, comes in. The process of crisis intervention can play a significant role in facilitating the recovery of those in crisis. This week, you develop an understanding of the wide array of experiences that comprise crisis from a definitional standpoint. You explore the scope of crisis and crisis work, including the role of multicultural awareness within the field, as well as examine skills required for effective crisis intervention.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

· Analyze the features and scope of crises

· Apply crisis intervention skills and the principles of culturally effective helping

· Understand and apply concepts and techniques related to crisis and intervention


Learning Resources

Required Readings

James, R. K. & Gilliland, B.E. (2017). Crisis intervention strategies (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

· Chapter 1, “Approaching Crisis Intervention”

· Chapter 2, “Culturally Effective Helping”

· Chapter 3, “The Intervention and Assessment Models”

· Chapter 4, “The Tools of the Trade”

Elliott, D. E., Bjelajac, P., Fallot, R. D., Markoff, L. S., & Reed, B. G. (2005). Trauma-informed or trauma-denied: Principles and implementation of trauma-informed services for women. Journal of Community Psychology, 33(4), 461–477.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. This article proposes 10 principles for trauma-informed care of women recovering from crises related to interpersonal violence. The characteristics and context of interpersonal trauma, as well as specific strategies for service delivery are discussed.

Optional Resource

Leighninger, L. (2006). Hurricane relief in 2005: Parallels with the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 17(2), 87–91.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.


Discussion 1: The Features and Scope of Crises

You likely have some preconceived notions about what a crisis entails. Perhaps the word crisis immediately evokes the idea of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or a tsunami, which results in the catastrophic loss of human life and property throughout a geographic region. Or, maybe you think first of the personal circumstances of individuals and families: domestic violence, substance abuse, or sexual assault. Bereavement, terrorist attacks, hostage situations, grave illness, school shootings, and serious accidents—these all are events, among many others, that are frequently associated with crisis. Whatever your initial conception of crisis involves—whether it is global or local in scale, whether it is concerned with large communities or individuals, whether it is the result of extraordinary events or daily problems in living—it is likely accurate (although not necessarily comprehensive), as the term crisis encompasses a vast spectrum of situations and experiences, each with its own unique circumstances and features. Nevertheless, as disparate as many crisis situations may seem, they all share qualities that categorize them as a crisis. In this Discussion, you consider different ways of conceptualizing and classifying crises, as well as examine both the unique and shared features of crises within these classifications.

To prepare for this Discussion:

· Review Chapter 1 in your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, paying particular attention to the definitions and characteristics of crisis, as well as to applied crisis theory and its associated crisis domains.

· Review the article, “Trauma-Informed or Trauma-Denied: Principles and Implementation of Trauma-Informed Services for Women.” Think about which domain the crises described in this article would be classified in and why.

· Reflect on specific crisis situations with which you are familiar. Select three situations, each one representative of a different crisis domain, as described on pages 17–19 in your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies: developmental, situational, existential, and/or ecosystemic.

· Consider the differences between the situations you selected. Then think about how and why each one occupies a different place within the various crisis domains.

· Consider what features these three situations have in common and why, despite their differences, they are all classified as crises. Note the characteristics they share.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 3

Post by Day 3 a brief description of each of the three crisis situations you selected, including how and why they are classified within the different domains of applied crisis theory. Then explain what features they all have in common and why they are all considered crises. Be specific. Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources. Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 5

Respond by Day 5 to at least one of your colleague’s postings in one or more of the following ways:

· Ask a probing question.

· Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.

· Offer and support an opinion.

· Validate an idea with your own experience.

· Make a suggestion.

· Expand on your colleague’s posting.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria


To access your rubric:

Week 1 Discussion 1 Rubric


Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5


To participate in this Discussion:

Week 1 Discussion 1







Discussion 2: Crisis Intervention Skills

The idea of helping an individual effectively cope with a crisis situation may seem daunting. Where do you begin? What should you say? What challenges might you encounter? How do you introduce order and safety into a chaotic and dangerous situation? Human services professionals must possess a number of key skills to effectively handle these many unknowns and assist clients in crisis. One of these key skills is listening. Human services professionals must be careful, compassionate listeners, able to earn the trust of their clients and accurately interpret both what these clients directly say and what they choose to omit. Human services professionals also must be skilled communicators, knowing what questions to ask, and when to ask them, as well as how to lend support and encouragement to a person in severe distress. Moreover, effective crisis intervention involves action–meaning human services professionals must be adept at facilitating decision making and developing a plan of action with their client(s). Throughout the entire process of crisis intervention, human services professionals must continuously assess the situation and tailor their skills to the specific characteristics of the client and his or her environment. One important factor to consider is culture–the beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors of a particular society. Every culture has unique customs, norms, and expectations. Human services professionals must work within the cultural context of the individuals with whom they are working, adjusting their crisis intervention strategy accordingly. Examining culturally biased assumptions and being careful to avoid them, as well as analyzing the potential for cultural factors to influence care, are paramount to what textbook author Richard K. James refers to as “culturally effective helping.” In this Discussion, you revisit the crisis situations you explored in Discussion 1. You consider how you might use the intervention skills introduced this week when assisting individuals coping with these crises. In addition, you reflect on the multicultural implications of these situations.

To prepare for this Discussion:

· Review Chapter 2 in your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, focusing on the importance of multicultural sensitivity in crisis intervention.

· Review the article, “Trauma-Informed or Trauma-Denied: Principles and Implementation of Trauma-Informed Services for Women,” focusing on the specific principles that should be employed during trauma-informed intervention.

· Review Chapter 3 and 4 in your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies. Think about some of the practical applications of each of the crisis intervention skills that are described. Bring to mind the three crisis situations you selected for Discussion 1. Then consider how you might approach the intervention for each situation:

· The specific skills you might use when aiding an individual experiencing each crisis, how you would use these skills, and why their use would be beneficial to the client

· The multicultural issues you might need to take into account when implementing and applying these skills

· How you might ensure that the intervention for each crisis is culturally appropriate and effective

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 4

Post by Day 4 a brief description of one specific intervention skill you might use to treat an individual involved in each of the three crisis situations you identified in Discussion 1. Then explain how you would use the skill in each situation, and why it would benefit the client. For at least one of the three situations, describe a multicultural issue you might consider in order to ensure culturally effective helping and explain how you would address the issue so as to be culturally appropriate and effective. Be specific and use examples.


Week 2: Crisis Intervention Models

Have you ever found comfort during trying times by talking about your problems with friends or family members who have had similar experiences? Or used deep breathing or meditation to cope with a stressful situation? Have you ever elected to discuss a difficult situation on the phone or online because it was easier than communicating face-to-face? Or reviewed the details of a surprising or unusual event with someone to help make sense of it? It might surprise you to learn that these common scenarios are, in fact, the basis for several models of crisis intervention. This week, you further explore models of crisis intervention and reflect on their strengths and limitations. Additionally, you apply crisis intervention skills and strategies to the assessment of a client’s needs within a crisis situation.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

· Analyze strengths and limitations of crisis intervention models

· Apply crisis intervention models and appropriate skills and strategies to assess and address client needs

· Understand and apply concepts and techniques related to crisis intervention models, skills, and strategies


Learning Resources

Required Readings

James, R. K. & Gilliland, B.E. (2017). Crisis intervention strategies (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

· Review Chapter 3, “Intervention and Assessment Models”

· Review Chapter 4, “Tools of the Trade”

· Chapter 5, “Crisis Case Handling”

· Chapter 6, “Telephone and Online Crisis Case Counseling”

Castellano, C., & Plionis, E. (2006). Comparative analysis of three crisis intervention models applied to law enforcement first responders during 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 6(4), 326–336.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. In this article, the authors compare the psychological first aid (PFA), critical incident stress management (CISM), and crisis counseling program (CCP) models as used in crisis interventions following Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.

Choose at least one of the following articles to read for both the Discussion and Assignment:

Cohen, M. B., & Graybeal, C. T. (2007). Using solution-oriented techniques in mutual aid groups. Social Work With Groups, 30(4), 41–5 8.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. In this article, the mutual aid approach is introduced as a model of crisis intervention. Solution-focused techniques within a mutual aid setting are explained.

Miller, J. (2003). Critical incident debriefing and social work: Expanding the frame. Journal of Social Service Research, 30(2), 7–25.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. This article discusses the nature and purpose of debriefing after traumatic events, and compares specific models of debriefing. The role of debriefing within the context of social work is emphasized.

Ullman, S. E., & Townsend, S. M. (2008). What is an empowerment approach to working with sexual assault survivors? Journal of Community Psychology, 36(3), 299–312.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. In this article, the results of a study investigating the use of the empowerment approach at rape crisis centers are discussed. Specific empowerment techniques and implications of the study on crisis counseling are presented.

Chan, C. L. W., Chan, T. H. Y., & Ng, S. M. (2006). The strength-focused and meaning-oriented approach to resilience and transformation (SMART): A body-mind-spirit approach to trauma management. Social Work in Health Care, 43(2/3), 9–36.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. This article proposes the strength-focused and meaning-oriented approach to resilience and transformation (SMART) as a viable model of crisis intervention. The characteristics of SMART, its relationship to Eastern spiritual teachings, and its application to the crisis situation surrounding the 2003 SARS epidemic in Hong Kong are discussed.





Discussion: Crisis Intervention Models

As you learned in Week 1, crisis is a broad term that applies to a collection of disruptive, traumatic, and/or life-altering events. Moreover, a crisis may affect individuals, families, or, even in some cases, entire populations of a given region or country. Just as there is extreme variability in the nature and scope of crises, so too is there an assortment of crisis intervention models designed to help human services professionals effectively respond to specific situations. A model is like a map that plots concrete steps for otherwise abstract processes. Intervention models thus provide human services professionals with a practical sequence of activities and techniques that they can implement quickly when faced with a crisis. Models allow human services professionals to organize, prioritize, and structure what they need to do in order to provide the best care for their clients.

There are many different models for crisis intervention, with each variation emphasizing different techniques and procedures, depending on the nature of the crisis. Some models, such as the six-step model described in Chapter 3 and 4 of your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, are relatively general and can be applied to many different crisis situations. Other models, however, are aimed at specific situations, such as natural disasters or rape, and/or employ a particular psychological approach or have a particular philosophical foundation. Different models may overlap with one another in certain aspects–most lay out a process for assessing client needs, for example—but may contrast significantly in other aspects, such as the recommended sequence of actions or the techniques prescribed to carry them out.

Crisis intervention models originate from a variety of sources. The six-step model, for example, was created by the author of your course text, Richard K. James, and his colleague, Burl E. Gilliland, both of whom are professors and practitioners in the area of counseling psychology. Scholars and experts in the field of crisis counseling and social work often develop intervention models as part of independent research projects within their particular specialties. In addition, models are also created at the organizational and agency level. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for instance, established the crisis counseling program (CCP) model for use in its disaster relief efforts, while the critical incident stress management (CISM) model can be traced to the efforts of both emergency services agencies and the U.S. military in the 1960s and 1970s. Additionally, local crisis centers or hotlines may employ their own model (or a modification of an existing model) to best address their clients’ needs.

To prepare for this Discussion:

· Review Chapter 6 in your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, paying particular attention to the strategies involved in effective telephone crisis counseling.

· Review the video program, “Crisis Line,” noticing how the human services professional applies the telephone crisis counseling model when speaking with her client. (Note: Please keep in mind that the strategies described on pp. 121–134 of the course text comprise what will be referred to here as the telephone crisis counseling model.)

· Review the article, “Comparative Analysis of Three Crisis Intervention Models Applied to Law Enforcement First Responders During 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.” Focus on the characteristics and applications of the PFA, CCP, and CISM models of crisis intervention.

· Select at least one of the four articles presented as options in the Learning Resources for this week. As you read, pay attention to the characteristics and applications of the model or approach discussed in the article.

· Consider the features and contexts for the use of each of the crisis intervention models you have encountered this week: telephone crisis counseling, PFA, CISM, CCP, mutual aid, critical incident debriefing, the empowerment approach, and/or SMART. Reflect on which models resonate most with you. Choose two of the models that have made a significant impression on you and on how you might conduct work in the area of crisis intervention.

· Reflect on the strengths of these two models. Then, consider the limitations of each of the models you selected.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 4

Post by Day 4 a brief description of the two crisis intervention models you selected. Explain why each one resonates with you, specifically in terms of how you might conduct work in the area of crisis intervention. Then explain two strengths and two limitations of each model. Be specific and use examples to illustrate your points.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.


Assignment: Case Study: Applying Crisis Intervention Models, Skills, and Strategies

One of the reasons models of crisis intervention are so valuable in the human services field is because they provide professionals with a cohesive body of skills and strategies to be applied during interventions. Crises are dynamic, unpredictable, and even volatile in nature. Situations, and individuals within these situations, constantly change, often in unforeseeable ways. Thus, human services professionals must have a wide array of skills and strategies at their disposal, and be prepared to shift gears and improvise as needed. They must be compassionate, sensitive, focused, and professional. They must be effective communicators, assertive advocates, and, most of all, creative problem solvers. As the intervention models reflect, many crises share patterns that can be anticipated and addressed. Yet every crisis is also unique, meaning human services professionals must be ready to tailor their care to the distinctive needs, both long-term and short-term, of their clients. This means that human services professionals arrive in the lives of their clients fully prepared to assess their needs and determine what skills and strategies are most likely to meet these needs. In this assignment, you begin to think like a human services professional by reading a case study and then considering how you might assess the clients’ needs as well as the models, skills, and strategies required to help the family in the case study.

To prepare for this assignment:

· Review Chapter 3 and 4 in your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, noting the skills involved in executing the six-step model of crisis intervention, as well as other basic skills and strategies used in crisis intervention.

· Review Chapter 5 in your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, focusing on the skills and strategies that are utilized in crisis case handling.

· Review the video programs, “Borderline” and “Crisis Line,” focusing on the specific skills and strategies that the human services professionals use to assist their clients.

· Review the article, “Comparative Analysis of Three Crisis Intervention Models Applied to Law Enforcement First Responders During 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina,” as well as the article(s) you selected to read for the Discussion from the four options provided. Focus on the skills that a human services professional would need in order to carry out the steps in each model, particularly the assessment of a client’s needs.

· Read the case study that follows. As you read, consider the needs of the Rodriguez family, as well as how you would address these needs using the models, skills, and strategies you have learned about this week.

Case Study: The Rodriguez Family You are a human services professional at an emergency shelter. A major flood has recently occurred in a nearby community, destroying many homes and businesses. Your new clients are the Rodriguez family: father, Michael; mother, Sarah; and twin 9-year-old daughters, Cynthia and Mary. The Rodriguez family has lost their home in the flood, and does not have flood insurance. In addition, the family’s livelihood has been compromised because the restaurant where Sarah worked was destroyed in the flood. Michael is a full-time student, so the family has lost its only source of income.

The assignment (2–3 pages):

· Identify and briefly describe the crisis/es facing the Rodriguez family.

· Describe the basic needs that first must be addressed for the family.

· Describe what the family’s ongoing needs will be. Explain which issues will need to be addressed in order to remove the Rodriguez family from their current crisis/es.

· Explain which model(s) of intervention you might use to address the family’s basic and ongoing needs, and why.

· Select at least three specific skills and/or strategies that would assist you in implementing the model(s) you selected. Then explain how you might execute these skills and/or strategies and why they might be effective in addressing the family’s basic and ongoing needs.

Support your Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list only for those resources not included in the Learning Resources for this course


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