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On the last track, we discussed two factors concerning identifying a crisis. These two factors are definitions of crisis, and key elements of crisis. We have also discussed the common denominators assessment technique.
On this track, we will discuss two important concepts regarding the first stage of interviewing during a crisis intervention. These two concepts are, beginning preparation, and important questions. We will also discuss two simple interviewing techniques.
#1 - Beginning Preparation
What is your self-awareness like at this stage? Whenever possible, I address my anxiety by taking five minutes before seeing a client in crisis to review questions I will want to ask the client, and to mentally rehearse my introduction. When the client arrives, I try to make clear at the outset of the first interview who I am, and the purpose of the interview. During the introduction, I try to avoid committing to a narrow response, and express that I am flexible and ready to adapt depending on the client’s needs and reactions.
Since a client in crisis is seeking immediate help and support, I find that the severe anxiety the client is experiencing will not be alleviated unless she or he is given a good reason to feel she or he is understood by, and understands, me in my role as crisis therapist. Would you agree? I realize these are basics. But sometimes I forget the basics under stress.
Technique for Social Work CEUs, Psychology CEUs, Psychologist CEUs, Counselor CEUs, Addiction Counselor CEUs, and MFT CEUs
Technique: Open Invitation to Talk
#2 - Reviewing Important Questions
Here is an example of how asking multiple questions was counterproductive in the case of Charlene, 23, who had been admitted to the hospital with a broken collarbone. She had been referred to me when it was discovered the injury had been caused in a fight with her husband.
Clearly, asking Charlene a series of questions drew her focus away from the important question of whether or not her husband had hit her before.
Here is an example of how I used the One-Question technique with Darla, 34, who had recently divorced her husband. I stated, “What caused the divorce?” Darla stated, “I didn’t like him at all. We got along okay. I don’t know if it was because I was so young and didn’t know the difference of what. I knew it wasn’t really what I thought love was. But, I just stayed with him…” Clearly, asking only one question of Darla not only resulted in a relatively clear answer to the question, but invited Darla to keep speaking about the specific issue of the feelings that caused her divorce.
Think of the current strategies you use with clients in the initial stage of crisis intervention interviewing. Might adding the One Question technique be helpful to you as a therapist?
On this track, we have discussed two important concepts regarding the first stage of interviewing during a crisis intervention. These two concepts are, beginning preparation, and important questions. We will also discuss two simple interviewing techniques.
On the next track, we will discuss three important factors of the middle phase of the crisis interview. These three factors are Strupp’s conditions, Jacobson’s guidelines, and the smooth focus phrases technique.
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