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Self-Care in Crisis Intervention

Much research has focused on victims of crisis, but little has been done on counselors in the field. This presentation discusses ways that professionals can practice "self-care" and why it's so important.

Cory McElroy

on 9 April 2015

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Transcript of Self-Care in Crisis Intervention

Problems faced by Crisis Intervention Professionals
Compassion Fatigue
Final Thought
Sansbury, Graves, and Scott's (2015) 4-step Process
We’ve talked a lot about the various negative effects that working with those in crisis can create, but it’s important to remember that there is a positive side to working in this field as well. It can provide a tremendous sense of accomplishment helping clients reach their goals or heal from a difficult situation, a sense of purpose in life, and potentially a strengthened spirituality. With the proper level of self-care and true willingness to help, crisis intervention can be an extremely rewarding and positive career
Bradley, N., Whisenhunt, J., Adamson, N., & Kress, V. E. (2013). Creative Approaches for Promoting Counselor Self-Care.
Journal Of Creativity In Mental Health, 8
(4), 456-469. doi:10.1080/15401383.2013.844656

Sansbury, B. S., Graves, K., & Scott, W. (2015). Managing traumatic stress responses among clinicians: Individual and organizational tools for self-care.
Trauma, 17
(2), 114-122. doi:10.1177/1460408614551978

Warren, J., Morgan, M. M., Morris, L. B., & Morris, T. M. (2010). Breathing Words Slowly: Creative Writing and Counselor Self-Care—The Writing Workout.
Journal Of Creativity In Mental Health, 5
(2), 109-124. doi:10.1080/15401383.2010.485074
The Writing Workout
According to researchers, journaling deepens self-reflection, introspection, and provides clarity regarding issues, concerns, conflicts, and confusions.
Self-Care in Crisis Intervention
Clinicians tend to neglect themselves and their needs which can lead to a variety of negative consequences that can impair their work with clients.
4 of the most common problems include:

Vicarious Traumatization
Compassion Fatigue
Vicarious Traumatization
The transformation within the trauma worker due to empathic engagement with the traumatic experiences of clients.
Occurs when managing trauma among clients results in altered memory systems and cognitive schemas associated with 5 areas.
Clinicians may show signs of increased vulnerability or awareness of how fragile life is, can become suspicious or distrusting of others, or may have unexplainable changes in affect.
Interviews with trauma clinicians confirm several life areas impacted by vicarious trauma.
Suffering acute emotional crisis due to culminating interactions with trauma survivors, whether in personal relationships or the therapeutic alliance.
Though highly similar to vicarious trauma, it differs in that it can occur with little to no
contact with clients (vicarious trauma results from direct interaction).
Consists of three domains:
Re-experiencing content from clients' stories.
Avoidance and numbing toward potential triggers.
An occupational syndrome in systems of care characterized by high demands and little support.
It is a gradual and progressive process that occurs when work-related stress results in emotional exhaustion, an inability to depersonalize client experiences, and a decreased sense of accomplishment.
Can occur after extreme cases of vicarious trauma or compassion fatigue.
Occurs when a counselor’s personal problems impair effective interactions with clients.
While all the other problems mentioned may be considered impairments (if they effect client interactions), the America Counseling Association only specifically addresses impairments in its Code of Ethics.
According to a study by the ACA, about 64% of counselors admitted to knowing a counselor they considered to be impaired in some significant way.
Broad term referring to any actions or experiences that enhance or maintain one’s well-being.
Many researchers have stated that counselors simply cannot be effective if they do not engage in a healthy level of self-care.

The concept is so important that all CACREP accredited counseling programs are required to integrate self-care education into the curriculum.

The ACA requires counselors to engage in self-care as part of its Code of Ethics.

Doesn't provide specific strategies!
Step 1: Know thyself
Step 2: Commit to address the stress
Step 3: Make a personal plan of action
Step 4: Act on the plan
The "Writing Workout" is a form of journaling set up in stages to help writers channel their creativity and focus their thoughts.
Simply writing about a traumatic experience for as little as 15 minutes a day, 3 to 4 days a week, can create measurable changes in immune response and mental health!
The "Writing Workout" Process

Warm-Up (3 min.)
Sprint (5 min.)
Sit-Ups (5 min.)
Yoga (10 min.)
Relaxation (at least 10 min.)
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