Disequilibrium and COVID-19: Effectively Applying Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention is widely understood as a response to life-threatening emergencies and therefore often limited in its application to natural disasters, severe physical violence, suicidal ideation, and similarly dangerous incidents. While crisis intervention is appropriate for these scenarios, historical definitions of crisis suggest the term and related interventions have much broader application. The ramifications of the novel coronavirus and related cultural fallout increase vulnerability and impair coping capacity in such a way that individuals are significantly more likely to enter crisis states, demanding a prompt reconsideration of the breadth of this practice technique. Successful application of crisis intervention reduces the long-term psychological implications for individuals encountering sudden loss, unexpected traumas, and other hazards that overwhelm traditional coping strategies, outcomes all made more likely by this pandemic. Crisis intervention is a structured, time-limited, problem-oriented treatment modality that is well suited to a remote practice environment because it is directive in its approach and requires few contacts at a time when client access is potentially limited. This paper examines the course of crisis with or without intervention, assessment and intervention tactics, social work values when applying crisis intervention, and the implications of the use of this modality as it relates to COVID-19.
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