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Crisis intervention is emergency first aid for mental health (Ehly, 1986). In this paper, I intend to show you a brief overview of what crisis intervention is, describe what school psychologists do and summarize the steps they may use to identify, assess, and intervene with an individual experiencing crisis.
What is crisis intervention?
Crisis intervention involves three components: 1) the crisis, the perception of an unmanageable situation; 2) the individual or group in crisis; and 3) the helper, or mental health worker who provides aid. Crisis intervention requires that the person experiencing crisis receive timely and skillful support to help cope with his/her situation before future physical or emotional deterioration occurs.
A crisis may occur when an individual is unable to deal effectively with stressful changes in the environment. A stressful event alone does not constitute a crisis; rather, crisis is determined by the individual's view of the event and response to it. If the individual sees the event as significant and threatening, has exhausted all his/her usual coping strategies without effect, and is unaware or unable to pursue other alternatives, then the precipitating event may push the individual toward psychological disequilibrium, a state of crisis (Smead, 1988).
Psychological disequilibrium may be characterized by feelings of anxiety, helplessness, fear, inadequacy, confusion, agitation, and disorganization (Smead, 1988). At this point, the individual experiencing this disequilibrium may be most receptive to outside assistance, thus providing an opportunity for behavioral change and a return to balance. To summarize, a crisis results from a person's negative perception of a situation.
Psychologists, counselors, social workers, mental health personnel, and therapists are trained to provide services to individuals in crisis. These workers can assist an individual or group in crisis by providing direct intervention, by identifying alternative coping skills, or by consulting with others. A helper's primary goals in a crisis are to identify, assess, and intervene; to return the individual to his/her prior level of functioning as quickly as possible; and to lessen any negative impact on future mental health. Sometimes during this process, new skills and coping mechanisms are acquired, resulting in change (Sandoval, 1988).
What is school psychology?
School Psychology is a general practice and health service provider specialty of professional psychology that is deals with the practice of psychology with children, youth, families; learners of all ages; and the schooling process. The basic education and training of school psychologists prepares them to provide a large range of diagnosis, assessment, intervention, prevention, health promotion, and program development and evaluation services with a special focus on the developmental processes of children and youth within...