A Process View of Crisis and Crisis Intervention: Critique and Reformulation

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The traditional view of crisis and crisis intervention is critiqued from a constructivist and a systemic point of view. It is suggested that traditional crisis theory is based on an inappropriate model of human systems which results in a problematic risk management approach to crisis intervention. This stance creates an over emphasis on returning people to stability rather than facilitating change, on dangers rather than opportunities, and upon deficits rather than strengths. Such a stance may often escalate rather than resolve crises. A process view is offered as a more useful alternative. This view describes crises as escalating vicious cycles of attempted resolution of perceived threatening change. Crisis intervention thus involves introducing a small shift in the escalating solution patterns of the crisis and then amplifying that change toward a better resolution. This view is related to a catalyst model of crisis intervention and brief therapy.

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