Therapeutic Crisis Intervention

The term “Therapeutic Crisis Intervention” is widely known and associated with the crisis management protocol developed by Cornell University. Yet, for the purposes of this article, we are not referring to this protocol or program, but the actual term itself: therapeutic crisis intervention, and how it impacts crisis situations. Understanding how to have a therapeutic approach and mindset when going into an intervention will most often mean the difference between further escalation or actual de-escalation of the person and situation altogether.

Therapeutic Crisis Intervention – Empowerment

The term “crisis intervention” often refers to the act of intervening through both word and action during a type of emergency situation. It is often more specifically used to define the actions taken by a responder to assist an individual struggling with a mental health, substance abuse, or related type of circumstances. The “crisis intervention” is meant to help them deal with whatever may be causing the individual to feel as though they are powerless to control their emotions, behaviors, thoughts, etc.; leading them to act out in harmful behaviors.

The responder intervenes through either a series of encounters or a single engagement meant to directly assist the individual in dealing with, processing, or negotiating through their difficulty and/or illness, without causing harm to themselves or others during the process.

By adding the word “therapeutic” to the aforementioned term, the techniques and methods used by the responder takes on an even deeper and more defined meaning. Being that the word “therapy” is derived from the Latin word therapīa, meaning: “healing” or “curing,” this choice of language further encourages that the methods used are not harmful, dangerous, or traumatic.

It is our belief that critical to crisis intervention and de-escalation of persons in emergencies is the acknowledgment that confrontational, aggressive, or challenging interventions are not effective and often result in further escalation which leads to violence and trauma. Responders are encouraged to use such “therapeutic crisis intervention” approaches when trying to handle emergencies. All of the techniques endorsed by the Crisis Consultant Group, LLC are considered extremely therapeutic in nature. Our entire Crisis intervention training curriculum is based upon treating all persons involved with the utmost of dignity and respect, and working towards a healthy and successful resolution in all circumstances, no matter how difficult or challenging when first encountered.