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Crisis Intervention Models

Crisis Intervention Models

Eric Lindemann and Gerald Caplan developed the ABC Model of crisis intervention in the 1940s. The ABC model of crisis intervention is made up of three important features. It includes; introduction of the basic attending skills (A), the second step involves the identification of the prevailing problems and the underlying therapeutic interaction (B). The third aspect of ABC Model involves the method through which the patient tries to cope with the prevailing problem (C).  In regards to the basic attending skills, the doctors must always introduce himself/herself to the patient in a friendly, calm and respectful manner. The counselor utilizes various icebreakers in a bid to break the prevailing tension (James, 2011).

As the counselor tries to identify the underlying problem affecting the patient, the doctor must always identify the available precipitating event. Here, the doctor could also explore meanings, perceptions, and cognitions. It is imperative for the doctor to identify the underlying emotional distress (subjective distress). The functioning impairments are also identified; this include; behavioral, occupational, social and academic. The prevailing assessment should compare with the patients normal functioning. It includes the identification of the underlying ethical concerns; such as homicide/suicide assessment, other underlying medical concerns. Identify prevailing cases of substance abuse/use issues. In regards to the third aspect of ABC Model, the doctor must identify the underlying coping attempts of the client. The clients are encouraged  creative strategies of coping.

 It is done through the development of appropriate working plan. The patients are also referred to a psychiatrist or medical doctors. The clients could also be referred to a lawyer. Some clients are referred to the prevailing community agencies or shelter depending on the degree of sickness. The counselor must have the required skills of asking the clients the appropriate questions. This model dictates that, the counselor must always utilize open-ended kind of questions. It gives the counselor the opportunity of learning most information regarding the precipitating event (Gregiore & Jungers, 2007).

The Six-Step Model of crisis intervention

This model offers significant structure from which one can utilize when faced by a crisis normally in a shelter setting. The model involves the assessment of the situation at hand. The assessment utilizes all the six steps involved in crisis intervention. The initial three steps of the model are normally passive where the counselor does much of listening as opposed to other actions. Once the counselor identifies that, more has to be done in a situation he/she is obliged to take an immediate action. The final three steps are action oriented. The listening involves observing, responding with empathy, attending, acceptance, caring, being non-judgmental, as well as, being genuine with the patients. The counselor must always strive to establish a perfect environment, which provides the patients with some psychological first aid. It is usually referred to as the establishment of safety for the client, reduction of stress-related symptoms, provision of physical recuperation, as well as, rest (James, 2011).

The first step includes defining the prevailing problem given the client’s point of view. Here, the counselor utilizes the main empathy listening skills and acceptance. The second important factor involves ensuring the safety of the client. The safety of the client must always be kept at the forefront. Safety is ensured through the assessment of the possible psychological and physical dangers to the patients. In this step, the assessment, as well as, ensuring the safety of the patients is a continual part of this process. The other important aspect of the model is the provision of support to the patients. It is imperative that one communicates to the patients making them understand that they will receive the necessary care. The support provided could be informational, instrumental or emotional. In the last three steps, the strategies include the examination of the alternatives. The prevailing alternatives are observed from three main perspectives. The initial support includes the support given to the patients to assess the prevailing situational support. The second form of support includes the help provided to the client through the identification of actions or coping mechanisms, environmental resources or behavior. All these resources are important in helping the patients’ present crisis. The final step involves helping the patient in the examination of their prevailing pattern of thinking. The counselor helps the patient in reframing their current situation. In regards to making plans, it is imperative that the patient feels free in the plans made, self-respect and independence. The planning is important in helping the patients get through the prevailing short-term situation in order to attain a sense of stability and equilibrium (Kanel, 2012).   

In both the ABC and Six-Step Models of crisis intervention, the counselors in both cases listen to the clients so that they can understand the real problem affecting them. In ABC model, the initial process include introduction of the basic attending skills. Here, the counselor gives the clients an ample time to express themselves in a bid to understand the underlying problem. In the case of the Six-Step Model, the first step includes defining the prevailing problem given the client’s point of view, where the counselor utilizes the main empathy listening skills and acceptance.  The aspect of ABC Model includes the method through which the patient tries to cope with the prevailing problem, while in regards to the Six-Step model; the last three steps includes the introduction of strategies that are important in the provision of alternatives in coping with the problems at hand. The initial support in six-step model includes the support given to the patients to assess the prevailing situational support (Gregiore & Jungers, 2007). 

In conclusion, both the ABC and Six-Step models of crisis intervention have so much in common since in these cases, the clients are placed at the forefront. In order to give the necessary coping skills to the patients, the doctors must always practice professionalism where the patients that they are not being forced in giving the required information.


Gregiore, J., & Jungers, C. (2007). The Counselor's Companion: What Every Beginning Counselor Needs to Know. New Jersey: New Jersey; NJ.

James, R. (2011). Crisis Intervention Strategies. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Kanel, K. (2012). A guide to crisis intervention. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

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