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Provide counselling in crisis situations

Unit Descriptor This unit applies to telephone counsellors in those calls where they are required to apply crisis management skills. It includes frameworks for crisis containment, risk management, appropriate consultation and referral.

A crisis is any situation where internal distress over impactful events, painful transitions or problems in living has escalated to the point where it is disabling a person's ability to cope and function. The person in crisis may be at risk of self-injury or suicide and may sometimes pose a threat to others.

The focus of crisis intervention is constructive management of the immediate situation. Its primary goals are to promote safety, reduce distress and restore functioning rather than deal with underlying issues or explore long-term strategies for addressing them.
Crisis intervention always involves vigilance about potential threats to life and safety and development of a

1 . Identify when to apply crisis intervention
  1. The need for a crisis assessment and response is alerted by evidence in the client of one or more of the following:

    1. Disabling levels of distress

    2. Difficulty performing daily tasks

    3. Difficulty fulfilling usual roles and responsibilities

    4. Possible threats to life or safety

    5. Checklists to determine client response are applied as appropriate

2 . Apply crisis intervention strategies
  1. Establish rapport and an active working relationship

  2. Affirm help-seeking and instil realistic hope for managing the current crisis

  3. Focus on how past or current problems are affecting present feelings, thoughts and behaviours

  4. Balance the exploration and containment of powerful feelings and disabling thoughts

  5. Balance adoption of a collaborative and directive helping stance according to the client's current capacity for decision-making and coping

  6. Provide structure and strategies for dealing with the immediate crisis through enabling thoughts and behaviours

  7. Identify and decide on short-term coping steps.

  8. Provide options for links to further help, actively facilitating these where necessary

3 . Apply risk assessment strategies and implement risk management
  1. Vigilance about potential threats to life or safety is demonstrated in managing every crisis situation

  2. Direct inquiry about thoughts of self-harm or harming others is practised when there are slightest grounds for concern

  3. Direct enquiry about possible exposure to harm from others is practised when there are slightest grounds for concern

  4. Risk assessment and risk management strategies are employed whenever needed

  5. Emergency interventions are actively facilitated where assessed to be necessary to protect life or safety

Key CompetencyExamples of ApplicationPerformance
How can information be collected, analysed and organised?
How are ideas and information communicated within this competency?
How are activities planned and organised?
How are problem solving skills applied?
How are mathematical ideas and techniques used?
How is use of technology applied?
How is team work used within this competency?

Range Statement

General context of work:

Working independently must include:

Internal referral systems may include:

Evidence Guide

Critical aspects of assessment must include:

Concurrent assessment and relationship with other units:

Essential knowledge required includes:

Essential skills required include:

Resource Implications for training and assessment:

Methods of assessment:

Context for assessment: