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Crisis Intervention Strategies

One of the challenges faced by social workers is dealing with persons in diverse states of crisis. It is crucial to have a crisis management plan in order to help these individuals recover from the crisis (ACWS, 2009, p.1). The crisis intervention model has six steps that outline the precise procedure to be used in crisis management cases. For instance, in order to help a group of individuals who were in a bank when armed gangs entered and robbed it, it is vital to conduct an initial assessment of the incident. This is critical since it enables the helper to ascertain the emotional conditions of these persons, the severity of the crisis, the level of emotional mobility of each victim, coping mechanisms and other resources accessible to these individuals. When the helper makes the first contact with these individuals, it is vital that he immediately assess the severity of the crisis (bank robbery). The objective evaluation should be based on the assessment of cognitive state, behavioral condition and affective state of these individuals (ACWS, 2009, p.4).

For example, when one of the female victims of the bank robbery experience emotional outbursts or is ruthlessly withdrawn, it may be indicative that she is in an affective or disequilibrium state. One way to help her recover mobility and control is by helping her to articulate her emotions in a suitable and sensible way. It is also important to assess her behavioral state. Is she having breathing problems? Is she pacing? Is she quiet and calm? With respect to crisis intervention, the fastest way to help her regain mobility is to facilitate constructive actions that involve the participation of the victim. One way to do this is by asking the woman to breathe leisurely with you. The cognitive state of the woman is also ascertained by assessing the woman’s patterns of thoughts. Do her words make sense? Is she speaking coherently and logically? Thus, when these three areas are assessed, the helper will be able to determine the mental status of the victim and employ intervention strategies aptly (ACWS, 2009, p.5).

Listening skills is a key element used in all steps of crisis management. For example, it is vital to use open-ended questions when listening to the victim as they elicit crucial information concerning their thoughts, feelings and are especially valuable during the problem exploration stage. The initial concern for the helper should be the victim’s safety. This question is important because: the woman is able to see and listen to one of the robbers being interrogated by the police; she is asked questions within the vicinity of the crime scene, where the body of the murdered robber is still lying; or she has not been given another set of cloths to replace the torn ones. Any of these conditions can easily make her feel insecure in spite of the presence of the police officers (National Organization for Victim Assistance, 2010, p.6).

Thus when helping survivors of a bank robbery incident, it is vital to make them feel safe. It is also important that you sit down with the survivors before helping them regain control. Ask the victims to select a location they consider safe and move to that area. Also, keep reassuring them that they are now safe. Introduce yourself and state your role clearly. It is worth to note that bank robbery is a sensation crime that attracts a battery of journalists to the crime scene. If media representatives approach them, make it clear that they are under no obligation to respond to the questions unless they are willing to do so (National Organization for Victim Assistance, 2010, p.4).


ACWS. (2009). Crisis Intervention. Web.

National Organization for Victim Assistance. (2010). An Introduction to Crisis Intervention Protocols. Web.

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