Essay Sample on Coping with Crisis: Navigating Emotional Disorder & Disruption

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1589 Words
Date:  2023-05-09


A crisis is a state of emotional disorder or an acute emotional reaction to a potent stimulus or trauma. When an individual has a disaster, the natural balance between emotions and thinking is disturbed, evidence of impairment and the usual coping mechanism fail (Cherry, 2020). The situations that trigger this crisis can run the gamut of natural disasters to the death of a loved one, development hurdles such as puberty and life experiences. According to the American Counseling Association, crisis counseling is an intervention that can help individuals deal with the crisis by offering support and assistance ("Online Counseling Program"). Crisis counselors work in various settings such as Schools, telephone crisis counseling centers, humanitarian aid organizations, and mental health clinics. It is worth noting that crisis intervention is not a long-term treatment but rather a short-term form of treatment to help the clients deal with the abrupt aftershock of a crisis by helping the individuals or the community regain a sense of safety and return to their average level of functioning. When confronted by an individual in an emergency, clinicians ought to address that person's anguish, impairment, and instability by operating in a rational and orderly manner (Roberts & Ottens). This paper aims to evaluate and assess my potential to perform crisis intervention counseling effectively.

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Crisis Worker Characteristics

Self-Awareness and Life Experiences

As a crisis intervention counselor, I can empathize with clients without becoming emotional or personally involved when subjects that have a personal meaning come up during my counseling sessions. Many times, the client can stimulate painful memories from my past, but since being aware of these triggers, I deal with the event and avoid relating to mine. It is an essential attribute that many ends up failing, especially if the crisis worker had such similar and painful encounters in the past.


Most at times, a counselor may serve a client who has committed crimes, participated in lifestyle, or possess believes that one does not approve of (DuBrin, 2013). I am naturally not judgmental, and I feel that if I come across such clients, then I will be willing to listen without casting judgment on that crisis. By being judgmental, it may make the client shut down and leave them helpless and more traumatized.

High Tolerance

During crisis counseling sessions, one is likely to come across chaotic, dramatic, and even dangerous clients (DuBrin, 2013). I have patience and a high tolerance for chaos and dramatic events to matter how hard it might seem. I inevitably encounter them regularly and continuously get placed in stressful situations, but I cannot allow the stress to build up. I might have a client that is hard to change or convince especially suicidal people or those with emotional outbursts. The best thing I do is to keep my calm and not to give up on calming them down because that part of my job and also it will determine the final result, which is to help the client regain his usual self.

Communication Skills

Possessing active listening and speaking skills is a very fundamental skill in crisis intervention counseling (DuBrin, 2013). In my case, I listen more and talk less when handling a client in crisis. I have understood overtime that these clients need someone who can allow them to rant and express their frustrations, and therefore I always make sure I am that person. It helps the client to have more confidence in me and thus makes the whole process of helping them to regain their normality simple. I can listen to what is not being said, whether through omission or expressed non-verbally. I also keep paraphrasing what the client says while reflecting feelings to him.

Practice Management Skills

It involves possessing several organizational skills such as prioritizing and timekeeping (DuBrin, 2013). As a counselor, I have several weaknesses in practice management skills, such as being disorganized, especially when I am having a bad day. In the process, this may, in a small way, affect how I conduct the counseling professionally. However, since I realized this, I have worked on timekeeping discipline .and I believe in the long run, I will keep time, keep proper records no matter the type of day I might be experiencing. It will improve my counseling effectiveness, which is measured by outcomes.

Dynamics of Counselor Burn-out, Vicarious Traumatization and Compassion Fatigue

Crisis counselors deal with many clients who have been battered by circumstances or events beyond their control, while other clients struggle with the moments of their actions that they never expected. It is worth noting that crisis counselors are human, and spending 90% of our career life might be very overwhelming, leading to burnout, vicarious traumatization, and compassion fatigue, and countertransference.


By nature, I am a caring and compassionate person, and sometimes I end up overdoing it in my line of duty. I tend to focus entirely on the client's wellbeing and the fact that the other crisis counselor and I spend long hours in this mode, it causes emotional fatigue or overload. If not controlled, it leads to poor crisis counseling outcomes. I go through this, especially when I do not take long breaks from work.

Nevertheless, to ensure my job effectiveness, I practice personal restoration. It includes spending time with my loved ones, proper sleep, spiritual practice, and even to some extent, therapy for me.

I ensure to consult and get peer support from my friends and even colleagues. It involves sometimes seeking consultation from experts. Additionally, I ensure I grow as a person every day. It is by making sure that my clients are cared for and also not leaving my needs unattended. Therefore, I ensure I create a balance between the client's needs and mine.


As much as we care a lot for our clients sometimes, if not careful, crisis counselors suffer countertransference, which occurs when a crisis worker transfers emotions to a person in the counseling session (Walker, 2004). A good example is when dealing with an individual who expresses personal preference and believes that differ from mine, such as ab racist. I being an anti-racist, would feel ill-equipped to handle the client and probably dislike the client. Despite that, I might feel the client's beliefs and actions area against my stand, and I take control of my feelings to ensure I do not get personal with the client. I also attempt to understand where these harmful beliefs stem from and discuss that history with the person in treatment by staying calm. Nevertheless, I have not experienced countertransference in terms of offering a lot of advice. Instead of listening and reflecting, pushing the client to take any action, they are not ready or issuing judgments related to their perspective or sharing too many stories about myself.

Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue happens when a crisis intervention counselor regularly hears and witnesses stressful and traumatizing and begins to lose their capability to feel empathy for their clients or the people they love (Walker, 2004). As a crisis intervention counselor, I sometimes get overwhelmed depending on the type of clients I deal with and end up feeling like nothing is left to give. I have dealt with clients that have had extreme cases of traumatic experiences. Nevertheless, this has not entirely led me to have compassion fatigue since I have learned to adopt positive coping strategies and practiced self-care. Additionally, I always ensure that I cultivate healthy friendships outside of work while engaging in outside hobbies. It has ever made me stay sane and break off from the thoughts of clients I have served in my capacity and thus resulting in better outcomes from my clients

Vicarious Traumatization

It is a permanent transformation of the inner experiences of a therapist, which occurs due to long Engagement to the client's traumatic experiences (Walker, 2004). In my line of duty as a crisis therapist, I have, at many times, suffered vicarious traumatization some of the effects that I have not managed to attend to date. I, at some point, have lasting feelings of grief, anxiety or sadness, difficulty in sleeping, and altered eating habits. To cut short these symptoms, which are sometimes overwhelming, I take time off work just for myself and mostly monitor myself to starve over these symptoms at early stages and also track my levels of burnout and compassion fatigue. Additionally, I ensure to stay objective and master the tendency to participate in unconscious countertransference by creating healthy boundaries while remaining mindful of the threat posed.


Practicing as a crisis intervention counselor can be very gratifying because, for many of us, our work is a calling and not just an occupation. Effective crisis intervention must follow ethical principles that ensure that the clients are not exposed to more harm while the crisis intervention worker should possess useful qualities. With the existence of vicarious traumatization, countertransference, burnout, and compassionate fatigue, it is apparent that no crisis intervention counselor can be competent under these conditions. The bottom line is to stay centered and on balance amid all multitude of crisis intervention counseling related challenges.


Cherry, K. (2020). How Crisis Counseling Help People Coping with Trauma. Retrieved from

DuBrin, A. J. (2013). Personal attributes and behaviors of effective crisis leaders. In Handbook of research of crisis leadership in organizations. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Roberts, A. R., & Ottens, A. J. (2005). The seven-stage crisis intervention model: road map to goal attainment, problem-solving, and crisis resolution. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 5(4), 329.

Walker, M. (2004). Supervising practitioners working with survivors of childhood abuse: Countertransference; secondary traumatization and terror. Psychodynamic Practice, 10(2), 173-193.

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Essay Sample on Coping with Crisis: Navigating Emotional Disorder & Disruption. (2023, May 09). Retrieved from

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