“What is a crisis?”
The word crisis, originating from the Greek word ‘krisis’, dating back to the fifteenth century, signifies the word we understand to mean ‘decision’. A critical decision about something has to be made, one way or the other. (1)
“Is crisis counseling always a matter of urgency?”
Yes. In any kind of counseling, a counselor can be confronted with a crisis situation, at one time or another. Appropriate crisis counseling, urgency with regard to the decision making process and immediate action on the part of the person being counseled, are all key factors in crisis resolution. Of course, not every crisis is the same and does not require the same kind of resolution.
“Who is involved in the resolution of a crisis?”
In crisis counseling, there is a professional counselor, someone who is qualified to help the counselee, the person who is going through a crisis of some kind. It usually pertains to a relatively significant event in that person’s life. A radical decision is required, in order to resolve the crisis effectively. Appropriate action is based upon the decision that is made.
“Can a crisis involve more than one person?”
Yes, a crisis may involve more than one person. It could involve a couple, family, group or community of people.
On a larger scale, it might involve a country. An international crisis might involve any number of different countries. It could be an even larger crisis scenario that affects the entire world, in some way. That would be a global crisis.
“Who makes the decision in a crisis situation?”
Many people think that a crisis counselor always makes the decision, for a person who is in a crisis situation. In reality, crisis resolution requires decision making by the counselee, as the person being counseled.
A decision is made with the guidance and assistance of a counselor. When the decision is made, it becomes a turning point for the counselee.
Note again that it is generally not the counselor who makes the decision for the counselee in crisis counseling. The counselor can offer directives of many different kinds. He or she may be able to suggest possible options, for the counselee to consider. The counselor may offer alternative choices as well.
Ultimately, it is up to the counselee to make the decision, after considering all of his or her options. The counselee is free to act upon the decision that he or she has made. Making and acting upon decisions, also involves living with the possible consequences, or repercussions of actions that are taken.
“What would be an example of a crisis situation?”
A crisis counselor can help a person to resolve a crisis, in many different areas of his or her life. Consider the following:
A young teen might find that he is in a crisis situation, if he is on drugs, or decides to run away from home. He may need to find an addiction counselor or a teen counselor, who is able to help with the resolution of his crisis.
A high school girl could be in a crisis situation, if she suddenly finds out that she is pregnant and alone. She has the option of approaching a high school counselor, with respect to the crisis. The high school counselor may then refer her to a doctor to confirm the pregnancy.
A mother with small children could be in a crisis, if her husband dies very suddenly. She would seek a bereavement counselor to help resolve this crisis.
A married couple might have a crisis situation, when an elderly parent suddenly needs to be confined to a nursing home. They could seek crisis counseling from a physician, in order to make the decision about immediate placement for the parent.
A family might have a crisis when there are financial problems and seek to resolve them with the help of a debt counselor, or a credit card counselor.
“When is a person considered to be in a crisis situation?”
Normally, most people can handle difficult situations in their lives.
When a person cannot resolve a situation of some kind, it can turn into a crisis situation very quickly. If assistance or intervention, by someone else is needed, or the situation becomes life threatening in some way, it would be considered to be a crisis situation.
For example, the dismissal from one’s job may present a crisis to that person. So could the loss of a passport when traveling. A potential suicide is always considered to be a crisis situation. A robbery in a person’s home, presents a crisis situation. Illness or an injury in a family, can be a potential crisis.
A natural disaster, like a hurricane, an earthquake or a flood, would be considered to be a crisis scenario, but on a larger scale. War, poverty or famine can place an entire country in crisis. A potential global economic meltdown is a crisis situation.
“When should a person seek crisis counseling?”
At the point where a person recognizes that he or she needs help immediately, it is always a good idea to seek crisis counseling, rather than allowing things to get out of hand. It is never wrong to ask a professional counselor for help. Most crisis counselors will be able to assist you in some way, or be able to direct to someone else who has the necessary skills needed in order to assist you through your crisis. Depending upon the seriousness of the situation, crisis resolution may or may not be possible, but it is always worth trying.
There is always a light at the end of a tunnel, but remember that crisis counseling is always a matter of urgency, so don’t wait. Seek professional guidance from a crisis counselor, as soon as you know that it is necessary.
(1) Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Springfield, Mass., 1983