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Crisis Intervention
Promoting Resilience & Resolution
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs

CE credits can be earned for this presentation at

~    Resilience and Transcendence
~    Crisis Resolution: The Change Process
~    Making Contact: The Power of Connecting
~    Making Meaning: Transforming a Crisis Narrative
~    Managing Emotional Arousal
~    Envisioning Possibilities: Creative Coping
~    Crisis Intervention with families
Resilience and Transcendence
~    Crisis is a point of threat and opportunity (-/+)
~    Six facets of crisis experience (BASICS)
~    Behavioral
~    Affective (Emotional)
~    Somatic
~    Interpersonal
~    Cognitive
~    Spiritual

Crime victim  | Death of a Loved One  | Natural Disaster | Secondary Trauma by Media in Children

Resilience and Transcendence
~    Validation of the experience is crucial (LUVE)
~    Listen
~    Understand
~    Validate
~    Explore client strengths

Crisis Resolution: The Change Process

~    Chaos Theory
~¬†¬† ¬†Chaotic systems are predictable for a while and then ‘appear' to become random.
~    Each point in a chaotic system is close to other points with significantly different future paths. An arbitrarily small change of the current path may lead to significantly different future behavior.
Crisis Resolution: The Change Process

~    Complexity Theory
~    Emphasizes interactions and the accompanying feedback loops that constantly change systems.
~    Systems are unpredictable, they are also constrained by order-generating rules (Reward principle)
~    Individual behaviors and choices are more important than executive plans in an organization.
~    Focus on self-organization instead of management control.
~    Use small changes and interventions
~    Encourage conflict and change
~    This may seem to push the person to an unstable situation, but the person actually can gain improvements from the healthy edge of chaos (Comfort zone)

The Change Process: 3 Principles
~    Large changes result from small changes

~     Change can begin suddenly and resolve rapidly (Microsoft Updates)

~    Change is a complete reordering.  Something new emerges and noting is ever the same
Solution vs. Resolution
~    Solutions are largely outside yourself
~    Stronger security
~    Behavior alterations (Preparation/prevention)
~    Resolutions are internal events
~    Alteration in mood
~    Shift in thinking
~    Change of heart

Crime victim  | Death of a Loved One  | Natural Disaster
Making Contact: The Power of Connecting

~    Reconnecting
~    Social supports are a powerful buffer
~    Connecting to others is a fundamental human need
~    Humans are hardwired to help each other
~    Humans develop empathy even before verbal skills

Making Contact: The Power of Connecting

~    Receiving support
~    Use reaching out questions
~    Provide encouragement
~    Acknowledge the crisis experience
~    Make positive observations
~    Be tentative rather than authoritative, owning your impressions
~    Highlight the survivor in crisis
~    Invite the person to talk (or not) about the experience

Making Meaning: Transforming a Crisis
~    Crisis can shatter people’s assumptions about the world
~    Basic Assumptins
~    The world is benevolent
~    The world is meaningful and predictable
~    The self is worthy / Life is fair
~    As humans, we need to create meaning

Making Meaning: Transforming a Crisis
~    Telling the Story
~    Survivors often have slightly different accounts of the crisis each time they tell it
~    Changing recollections are the result of trying to find meaning and resolve crisis
~    Help clients rectify discrepancies by pointing out positive change or evidence of strength
~    Listen for the hero in the tragedy


~    The narrative can be used to help people explore the bigger picture
~    The narrative can be continued into a positive resolution
~    The narrative can be explored in terms of focus and character development (what role did others play or could they play)
~    Ask making meaning questions
~    What have you discovered about yourself?
~    What sense do you make of this?
~    What do you see as the purpose for this?
~    What keeps you going through this difficult time?
Managing Emotional Arousal

~    People in crisis experience
~    Distressful emotions: Fear, anger, grief
~    Positive emotions: Resolve, courage, compassion, hope
~    Highlight the positive
~    Handling Distress
~    Catharsis is not necessary
~    Expression is…
~    Arousing Resolve
~    Performance quality is curvilinear proportion to emotional arousal
Taking Action

~    Envisioning Possibilities
~    Explore goals
~    Create goals that are positive
~¬†¬† ¬†Create a goal statement‚Ķ ‚ÄúWhen you achieve this‚Ķ‚ÄĚ
~    Use scaling…. Getting from 1 to 10 (1 is the crisis)
~    Creative Coping
~    Examine current behaviors in terms of creative coping
~    Educate about common behavioral changes in response to stress/crisis
~    Using Resources
~    Refer to the acute crisis in the past tense
~    Describe resolution and coping in the present
~    Special case: Flashbacks and nightmares
~    Have been/were vs. are…. You have been having flashbacks
~    Before you …what are you doing…
~    Transform crisis metaphors
~¬†¬† ¬†I feel trapped‚Ķ. ‚ÄúAnd when you begin to escape from the trap, what is the first thing you will be doing?‚ÄĚ
~¬†¬† ¬†I feel overwhelmed. ‚ÄúWhen you decide to start sharing some of this load with someone else, to whom will you turn, and what will you want them to do?‚ÄĚ
Tools cont…
~    Reframing
~    Situational context (global vs specific)
~    Temporal context (Stable/ongoing vs. changeable/time-limited)
~    Normalize negative cognitions
~    Enhancing emotions of resolve
~    Look for exceptions to the distress
~    Daily inventories
~    Narratives
~¬†¬† ¬†Ask presumptive questions of resolve‚Ķ‚ÄĚWhen things improve‚Ķ‚ÄĚ
~    Reflect emotions of resolve
Tools cont…
~    Moving On
~    As you begin to resolve this painful time in your life, how your life be different?
~    When you leave here, what is the first thing you see yourself doing?
~    What do you see as your next step?

Finding the Pony
~    Parents tried to teach their son that life wasn’t fair by making him shovel a room full of manure
~    Parent’s returned at the end of the day to pick up the child.
~    What happened???
Families and Couples in Crisis
~    When one member of the system is in crisis, it impacts the entire system
~    Families and couples may face developmental crises
~    Family members need to learn LUVE skills
~    Listen
~    Understand
~    Validate
~    Enhance resolve
~    Resilience and Transcendence
~    Crisis Resolution: The Change Process
~    Making Contact: The Power of Connecting
~    Making Meaning: Transforming a Crisis Narrative
~    Managing Emotional Arousal
~    Envisioning Possibilities
~    Creative Coping