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Conducting a Group Crisis Intervention

Updated on August 12, 2015

Conducting a Group Crisis Intervention

Crisis Intervention

What can you do when someone you care about is participating in a harmful habit or dangerous addiction, and your attempts at reasoning have failed? There is one technique often proven to be effective when all other methods have failed. It's a group crisis intervention. Why is it so effective? There is power in numbers.

Usually, personal pleas, and appeals are ignored. Even when several people confront a person simultaneously, each plea can be easily dismissed. The individual you are appealing to typically assumes you are just "butting in" on things that are none of your business. However, by coming together in a united front you become empowered. This concept was used as far back as biblical times:

"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established" (Matthew 18:15-16).

Conducting Group Crisis Interventions

To rescue someone from engaging in harmful habits such as drug addiction, or inappropriate behavior, there are things you can do. Here is how you can help:

Educate yourself about the persons specific addiction or problem, and explore appropriate crisis interventions programs, perhaps even visiting counseling centers and treatment facilities.

Call a treatment center, and inquire about Christian counselors trained in crisis intervention procedures.

Meet with them to plan a proper approach. Things to be considered should include: counseling options, appropriate treatment programs with admission plans, procedures, insurance coverage, and the impact counseling will have on the individual and entire family. "Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end" (Proverbs 19:20).

Enlist the aid of family members, friends, coworkers, employers, or anyone else who may have been directly affected by the person's problematic behavior.

Confidentially, without the individual present, schedule a first meeting with these key people, and if possible, include a qualified leader. This enables each key person to rehearse what they will say about how the behavior of the individual concerned has impacted them.

Hold a second meeting, this time with the person involved present. One at a time, each key person will express care and genuine concern.

Six P's of Appeal

In making respective group crisis intervention statements, remember these six keys:

1. The personal. Affirm rather than attack by stating how awfully concerned you are.

2. The past. Give recent examples of specific, negative behavior you have witnessed. Remember, to be brief, keeping your examples to three or four sentences.

3. The pain. Emphasize the painful impact you personally have experienced by their behavior by using "I" statements. Construct your sentences beginning with "I felt," or "I feel."

4. The plea.Make a personal plea for them to receive counseling.

5. The plan. Be prepared to employ an immediate plan if counseling is accepted. Their bags should already be packed, just in case.

6. The price. Outline specific consequences if treatment is refused, such as denying them permission to come home, or be with family.

Dialogue Don'ts

You can effectively influence a person's desire to change, not by what you say, but how you say it.

During a group, crisis intervention:

  • Don't attempt confrontation by name-calling, preaching, or being judgmental.

  • Don't argue when facts are disputed.

  • Don't defend the offender.

  • Don't accept promises with no commitment for immediate action.

  • Don't overreact, keep your emotions under control, even if you are attacked verbally.

  • Don't shield or run interference for the offender.

  • Don't give ultimatum's unless prepared to follow through on them.

In the end they will either take the advice and immediately seek treatment or face the consequences.


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