Model Of Care
(Crisis Intervention vs. Treatment)
Crisis intervention targets the response, not the event. Thus, crisis and disaster mental health interventions must be predicated upon assessment of need. A critical incident is a sudden, disturbing or unusually challenging event that generates a strong emotional and cognitive reaction (crisis) and has the potential to create significant human distress. It can be a state of intensified arousal accompanied by strong cognitive, physical, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual reactions as a result of the exposure to the critical incident. It can result in a psychological crisis; an acute response to a trauma, disaster, or other critical incident wherein psychological homeostasis (balance) is disrupted, one’s usual coping mechanisms have failed, and there is evidence of significant distress, impairment, and inability to function.
Crisis Intervention is a short-term, acute intervention designed to mitigate the stress reactions associated with a specific incident. It is not psychotherapy, but emotional first aid. Crisis Intervention vs. Psychotherapy Chart
The purpose of Crisis Intervention is to mitigate adverse reactions, facilitate coping and planning, assist in identifying and accessing available supports, normalize reactions to the crisis, and assess capacities and need for further support or referral to the next level of care. The goals of Crisis Intervention are: (1) to stabilize, (2) reduce symptoms, and (3) return to adaptive functioning or to facilitate access to continued care. When these three goals are reached, you’re done!
Crisis Intervention is not a substitute for psychotherapy. Rather, intervention strategies and tactics are elements within the Crisis Response system designed to precede and complement psychotherapy as part of the full continuum of care.