Crisis Intervention generally occurs within 48 hours of the traumatic event. It is often done with a group of survivors, and is usually a one-time intervention. Participants are given the latest information concerning the event they experienced, and are educated as to some of the emotional and physical reactions they may have as a result of the event. They are also made aware of resources and contact points which will provide further support.
The group is also provided with emotional/mental health support. This support is dependent on who is participating in the group. For victims, an intervention known as Psychological First Aid is provided. This encourages the participants to talk about the future and how they will cope with and recover from the event. In contrast, if the participants are front line responders (police, fire, emergency personnel), they are encouraged to participate in Debriefing through which they mentally revisit the event for the purpose of learning what might work better in the next event. First responders are also encouraged to talk about their different perspectives of the event, and are guided to find healthy ways to process those thoughts.
Many response organizations provide Crisis Intervention immediately following a disaster or traumatic event. The facilitator of this intervention is usually trained to evaluate the participants, and make mental health referrals for those who may need more specific mental health support.
(Duane has provided Crisis Intervention for the Red Cross, National Organization of Victim Assistance, Capital Area Crisis Response Team, several national Employee Assistance Programs, and many corporations following crisis or traumatic events. He continues to provide Crisis Intervention for The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Team HOPE, Project Jason, Military OneSource, Sobel and Raciti EAP, and Ceridian EAP. )
There are a variety of therapeutic interventions available to assist an individual to process the thoughts, feelings and physical responses after a traumatic event. A few of these include TIR (Traumatic Incident Reduction), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Bilateral Processing Interventions, Gradual Exposure Therapy, and SIT (Stress Inoculation Therapies). A therapist who works with trauma may have training /certification and specialize in one or two of these modalities, or have training in several. No one of these approaches works for everyone, and some clients benefit from a combination of modalities.
An essential part of trauma therapy is that the client trusts the therapist. One way to develop this trust is for the therapist to be available to answer all of the client’s questions about the modality they utilize before the session begins. Even better, that the therapist is willing to answer all of the client’s questions before an appointment is made.
Trauma Therapy is focused on assisting the client to take back control of their thoughts, feelings and physical reactions, as well as reducing the intensity of the images and memories of the traumatic event. Trauma affects the body, mind and spirit, and a sound therapeutic approach should address all of these areas.
(Duane has been trained in and utilizes a variety of trauma interventions including TIR, SIT, Gradual Exposure Therapy and a variety of Bilateral Processing Intervention techniques.)