Life is not always easy. It has a way of pulling the rug out from under our feet and leaving us feeling traumatized, lost and sometimes very isolated. Though trauma cannot always be avoided, it can be mitigated. That's the idea behind crisis intervention.
There are many different forms of trauma. Maybe someone is battling an alcohol addiction. Perhaps a man, woman or child is being physically abused. Or another has just experienced the sudden, violent loss of a loved one. Each of these crises can have physical, mental and emotional repercussions that could last long after the traumatic event has passed.
"When we experience trauma, especially an overwhelming one, then it's new territory for us, and it's common to ask ourselves if we're reacting normally," says Will Marling, executive director of the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA). "Crisis intervention can walk people through the process of coming to terms with a new normal."
A person's initial reactions to trauma are normally shock and denial, followed by a "cataclysm of emotion," Marling says, meaning that at one moment a person can both struggle with the loss of a loved one, for example, and simultaneously feel angry at that person for leaving, and guilty for surviving them. Guilt is one of the most common emotions that accompanies trauma.
Though the following crisis intervention strategies cannot cover the full-scope of how to respond to victims, read on to learn about a number of ways to help.