Crisis Intervention: A Social Interaction Approach (3)
Once we have determined the now potential of the crisis, we want to judge whether or not our intervention is necessary. We may think that the individual can handle the situation himself. But if our faith in his ability to deal with things lacks enthusiasm, we may decide that someone else in his total situation has the knowledge, skill, and capacity to deal adequately with it. In other situations, we may conclude that the crisis has already passed its most serious stage and that the situation and the people in it will be able to work things out satisfactorily without our help. In any of these cases, our judgment tells us the crisis will be satisfactorily resolved without our intervention. In short, we judge the self-resolution factor of the crisis to be high.
If, instead, we think that the situation will worsen or that the crisis will not be resolved unless someone does something, we would conclude that the self-resolution factor is low. It is in such situations that our intervention is required.
In the cases discussed thus far, the self-resolution factor has been fairly low. The people in crisis seem to be temporarily unable to cope with their feelings or life situations. From the information we have about these cases, there appeared to be no one in the individual’s situation who could deal adequately with the crisis or who was in a position to help the individual deal with it. They had contacted us during their crises because their confusion, depression, loneliness, or anger interfered with their ability to handle their present situation. Sometimes, though, we will learn through discussions with individuals in crisis that there are other people in their situations who can help them. For example, we may find that the individual has a good and continuing relationship with his minister. We may want to encourage such a person to call the minister for help with this particular crisis. In other situations, we may find that a child has brought a serious problem to us but has not discussed it with his parents. We may learn that he has a good relationship with his mother and father and that they are interested in him and usually have no difficulty in communicating with him. We are just the first person who happened along. We might suggest to the child that he talk about it with his parents or that we give them a call and ask them to help him with his problem. In this kind of situation, the child is frequently quite willing to discuss the problem with his parents and has real confidence in his parents’ ability to handle the situation. At other times, an individual may contact us about a situation with which the family doctor is familiar. It may be that he has been working with his doctor on the problem. If he has confidence in the doctor, we should assume that the doctor has the skills and knowledge necessary to help the individual through this crisis. In all of these situations, we learn that there is someone else already in the situation with sufficient knowledge and skills to deal with the crisis. When this happens, we should calmly and politely refrain from becoming involved, encouraging the individual to rely on those people for help.
At other times, we may conclude that the individual really can deal adequately with the crisis himself. His doubts in his own ability to handle the problem may be considerably exaggerated. This situation frequently occurs with small children. They come to us quite upset and convinced that no one likes them, that other children do not want to play with them, and that they are really unacceptable people. To sympathize with them, to become alarmed about their situation, to act as if their crisis were legitimate is to reinforce the negative feelings and poor self-images. As we look at their crisis, we may conclude that they will be served in the long run if we do not become involved but ‘force” them to handle the situation themselves. Our judgment is that they can handle this problem if we do not interfere or support their feelings that they cannot handle it. We have concluded that the self-resolution factor in the child’s crisis is high and that he can handle it himself. In situations like this, both we and the child will be better off if we stay out of it. Most crisis situations that come to our attention will probably have relatively low self-resolution factors and may well require our intervention. But we must be alert to recognize the occasional situation in which the self-resolution factor is actually fairly high. Either the individual can handle it himself or there is someone else already in the situation who can deal with things quite nicely.