Crisis Management

People can react to crises and disasters in a variety of ways. Keep in mind, however, that mental health professionals do not label reactions as “symptoms,” or speak in terms of a “ diagnoses” or “pathology” when responding to survivors of a crisis. One interesting way to better understand the scope of survivor reactions is to think of them in the context of Bronfenbrenner’s Chronosystem Model, a lifespan perspective. Where crises are concerned, the lifespan begins when the crisis starts. Although, where interventions are concerned, the counselor leader must look into the person’s past for precursors that might impact current reactions. Precursors may influence a counselor’s and other responders’ susceptibility to vicarious trauma reactions as well.

Cognitive, psychological, and physical reactions are common after a crisis. These may include crisis re-experiencing, hyperarousal, and avoidance reactions, which may meet the requirements for symptoms described in the DSM-IV-TR for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There are times when crisis responders allow survivors’ reactions to become their own, and secondary vicarious trauma or compassion fatigue may result. Helping professionals may be at risk for this to occur because of the nature of helping professionals’ commitment and involvement with clients.

When crises or disasters happen back to back, such as the 2010 massive earthquake in Haiti which was preceded by several destructive hurricanes, reactions of survivors and professionals who attend to them can be magnified.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review Chapters 7, 12, and 16 in your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, paying particular attention to the possible consequences of trauma on counselors and other first responders.
  • Review the article, “The Effects of Vicarious Exposure to the Recent Massacre at Virginia Tech,” focusing on the results of the vicarious trauma study presented.
  • Review the article, “Psychological Problems Among Aid Workers Operating in Darfur,”and think about ways to help responders during and after crises.
  • Review the article, “Crisis Intervention with Survivors of Natural Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Andrew,” and focus on factors related to crisis intervention and how these may differ from individual therapy interventions.
  • Review the article, “Disaster Response: Reducing the Psychological Impact of Disaster on Children,” focusing on ways to help children suffering from PTSD.
  • Review the article, “Preventing Vicarious Trauma: What Counselors Should Know When Working with Trauma Survivors,” and think about preventions associated with vicarious trauma.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4 an analysis of implications of vicarious trauma, burnout, and compassion fatigue for counselors and first responders. Be specific and provide examples.

Articles

  • Article: Fallahi, C. R., & Lesik, S. A. (2009). The effects of vicarious exposure to the recent massacre at Virginia Tech. Psychological Trauma: Theory, and Research, Practice, and Policy, 1(3), 220-230.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Article: FEMA. (2007). Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended, and Related Authorities. Retrieved from http://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/stafford_act.pdf
  • Article: Marbley, A. F. (2007). In the wake of Hurricane Katrina: Delivering crisis mental health services to host communities. Multicultural Education, 15(2), 17-23.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Article: Musa, S. A., & Hamid, A. A. R. M. (2008). Psychological problems among aid workers operating in Darfur. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 36(3), 407-416.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Article: McAdams III, C., & Keener, H. (2008). Preparation, action, recovery: A conceptual framework for counselor preparation and response in client crises. Journal of Counseling and Development, 86(2), 388-398.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Article: Shelby, J. S., & Tredinnick, M. G. (1995). Crisis intervention with survivors of natural disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Andrew. Journal of Counseling and Development, 73(5), 491-496.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Article: Smith, D. C., & Sandhu, D. S (2004). Toward a positive perspective on violence preventions in schools: Building connections. Journal of Counseling and Development, 82(3), 287-293.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Article: Smith, S. M., Tremethick, M. J., & Cocklin, G. J. (2005). Disaster response: Reducing the psychological impact of disaster on children. Professional Safety, 50(1), 46-51.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Article: Trippany, R. L., White Kress, V. E., & Wilcoxon, S. A. (2004). Preventing vicarious trauma: What counselors should know when working with trauma survivors. Journal of Counseling and Development, 82 (1), 31-37.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.