Crisis counseling is an aspect of crisis resolution in which emphasis is placed on the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral consequences within a particular crisis. Psychotherapy is a tool that uses a helping process in order to change a person’s feelings as well as patterns of thought and behaviors. This can take place over short, brief periods or long term if determined is necessary. Both utilize concepts in order to help those in need; however, each takes a different approach as seen above (Hoff, 2009). According to Segun, psychotherapy can only be carried out by a trained professional and allows patients to gain control over their feelings, especially when viewing their mental state (Segun, 2013, p. 122). Crisis counseling strategies can range from establishing a helpful friendship, ensuring the safety of an individual, giving support, and ensuring that an assessment is successfully completed. Once an assessment is completed it is the responsibility of the professional to assist with actions plans and continually follow up with their patient. Unlike psychotherapy, crisis counseling takes more of an in depth, well-rounded approach to helping an individual cope with a crisis and finding what works the best with them. A professional does not give up until an approach is reached with that individual (Hoff, 2009; Rosen, 2010; Segun, 2013).
An example of this was reviewed during a case study of a police department’s crisis response team. A female called 911 screaming that her mother had just shot herself in her living room. When the police arrived, there was no answer at the door. Dispatch contacts the home and the female admits she cannot leave her room due to fear. The crisis team is brought in to assist the female. Once arriving on the scene, the crisis response team spends an hour counseling the young female. They assist the female with ensuring her safety, guiding her on the process of what the police are doing, and helping create a plan to help her get through this crisis. The female decides, with the help of the crisis team, that she will stay with some friends. The crisis team assists with getting her suitcase, clothing, and any other things that are outside of the room. Once the female is on her way to her friend’s house, the crisis team ensures they set follow-up dates with the female to ensure she gets the help she needs. The research viewed that under the circumstances that the female encountered, crisis counseling strategies needed to be implemented instead of psychotherapy due to this not being just a mental adjustment for the female. The female watched her own mother take her life in her home which devastated her entire life and daily routine. This particular female needed a support team, psychological help, and an everyday plan to move forward with her life (Young, 2008).
When considering the range of “dangers” that a full-blown crisis could impact a person, it is important to seek out the similarities and differences between both crisis intervention and psychotherapy to determine the level of assistance a victim needs. When looking at the above example, it was important for a crisis team to understand what would work for the female. While both psychotherapy and crisis counseling work to help people throughout their traumas, there are more differences between the two than similarities. It is important to see that psychotherapy is utilized by certified professionals only; however, crisis counseling can be utilized by regular people or by certified professionals. With the correct training and information, a random person can become involved in the calling of being a crisis counselor (Hoff, 2009; Young, 2008). The study from the police department found that there has been more research on crisis counseling than psychotherapy among trauma victims; however, due to the thorough steps that are included within crisis counseling, it provides more benefits to those in need after experiencing said crises. Even though crisis counseling is not always provided by certified professionals, the study from the police department found that crisis victims look for a connection with someone who can provide them with comfort, peace, and the support to get through their particular problems. This study showed that crisis counseling can come from volunteers who work to understand victims. Victims seek out those who are there to show support as well as even those that have been through similar experiences (Young, 2008).
When viewing victims that do not believe in the same values as the person providing the support, it is important to take more of a crisis counseling approach than using psychotherapy. Even with someone who believes that Christ called them to become a crisis counselor, it does not automatically mean they cannot work to treat those who do not believe in Christ. Any person can be helped as long as they will place trust and confidence in the people working to assist them. By utilizing the plan of action that crisis counseling provides, it gives a basis or groundwork that anyone who is willing to help a victim can provide, regardless of the beliefs of the victim or the counselor (Hoff, 2009; Rosen, 2010).
The major factors contributing to the victim-rescuer persecution triangle revolves around the victim, the rescuer, and the persecutor. Each of these positions faces key concepts that are important to note. The victim threatens to work towards self-determination and self-mastery as one of their basic needs. Even when the victim is sending a message they want to be rescued, the more people that push to help the victim, actually may have the victim turning against everyone and show resentment. The rescuer is only present when there is a known victim and obstructs the growth and empowerment of the client. There are implications that are important to note. It is prevalent to focus on empathy rather than sympathy. Self-awareness is important to note, ensure power and control tactics are not promoted, and be able to provide the right amount of emphasis needed to the person (Hoff, 2008).
This triangle has a great impact on the counseling world by demonstrating a particular scenario of what could happen between the three roles. When one person allows pressures to be placed on another it forces the relationship to be defined in a particular way and this is classified as a “meta-complementary” relationship. It is important for counselors to not have full control over the situation, nor give the client full control either. If this occurs, the triangle becomes a factor that is hard to disrupt because it becomes the norm. The counselor must work towards the steps of learning and knowing how to help a client without giving in to what they think is best because any person who is experiencing a trauma at a particular time cannot decipher what they truly need or even what will work. There are certain strategies that can be used to avoid enmeshment while in the triangle with the main force being for the counselor to not give the victim too much power or vice versa (Hoff, 2009).
Hoff, L.A., Hallisey, B.J., & Hoff, M. (2009).People in crisis: Clinical and diversity perspectives (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. Rosen, C. S., Greene, C. J., Young, H. E., & Norris, F. H. (2010). Tailoring Disaster Mental Health Services to Diverse Needs: An Analysis of 36 Crisis Counseling Projects. Health & Social Work, 35(3), 211-220. Segun, O. (2013). THE INTERFACE OF LITERATURE AND PSYCHOTHERAPY. IFE Psychologia, 21(3-S), 121-127. Young, A. T., Fuller, J., & Riley, B. (2008). On-scene Mental Health Counseling Provided Through Police Departments. Journal Of Mental Health Counseling, 30(4), 345-361.