Crisis Intervention Strategies
When you hear the term “crisis intervention strategies,” many ideas and perspectives may come to mind. The focal point for us here at Crisis Consultant Group, LLC when we hear that term is a famous quote by a great warrior and military leader, Sun Tzu. He stated that, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”. How incredible a concept back in his time, and how true still today. Is it possible to subdue a person in crisis, through verbal and physical means, without actions that would be considered “fighting?” We believe it is.
We believe this so strongly, in fact, that we have built our entire Crisis Intervention Training curriculum over the last ten years around de-escalating challenging and/or aggressive persons without “fighting.” There are plenty of companies around teaching you how to “fight” or otherwise violently conquer someone challenging you, whereas we are one of only a small number of companies that prepare responders (mental health workers, corporate employees, teachers, law enforcement, human services personnel, etc) how to calm, contain, and effectively find peaceful resolution to a situation that initially seems similar to persons preparing for war. Effective resolution to a crisis takes effective crisis intervention strategies. We teach a wide number of different techniques and skills that both seasoned and new-to-the-field responders can utilize. We will explain one such technique below:
Crisis Intervention Strategies – The SOLVE Solution
One of our concepts we teach is built off of the word SOLVE. An simple word and acronym serving as a 5 step process for persons to remember, which will assist them in gaining a quick “footing” during a rapidly escalating crisis situation.
· S = Situation: the first step in a verbal intervention is to identify the Situation and/or the overall issue, which is creating the disparity between the individual and themselves, someone else, or their environment. Without first having an understanding of what it is you are up against, or what specifically you are dealing with, it is likely to be more difficult to begin resolving the issue. Use the active listening skills to gain an initial grasp of the individual’s feelings and/or thoughts regarding the situation and what they are challenged by.
· O = Options: as a means to finding immediate solutions, many times offering simple yet effective options to the individual may prevent the situation from continuing towards further aggression. These options should encompass all activities that would aid the individual in dealing with the Situation and their emotions at that time. Possibly participating in physical exercise or something similar may aid them in keeping their energy level from growing into an aggressive outburst. Writing, reading, taking a break, drawing, etc. are all examples of some options to use.
· L = Listen Further and Discuss Consequences: If the individual is unable or unwilling to utilize any of the Options you have offered, and continues to escalate their behavior, you will then want to gently explain the Consequences that may result from their behavior.
**It is very important to not make the “If you do this, then I will do that” threats. Most persons will hear such statements as a challenge, or instigation. Instead, offer them the natural consequences of their behavior, i.e. Making them aware of the consequences in the long term, not the short term only (failed sobriety, disappointment in themselves or from others, etc.). Discussing what will immediately happen is often only the “punishment”, or “discipline” rather than an actual consequence from the behavior. Listing the long term harmful effects that will come as a result of the behavior may serve to allow the individual to see the “bigger picture.” These negative effects are often able to be recognized as future challenges, or obstacles that they would be creating by choosing to express the immediate harmful or negative behavior in that moment.
· V = Variations / Compromise: Make every attempt to encourage the individual to come up with a viable option, on which you can both agree. Allow them to voice their opinions (respectfully) and then ask for the opportunity to voice yours. If they are willing to listen, then there is at least the possibility of making a Compromise.
· E = Execution: Once the Compromise has been achieved then it is time to take action and implement it. If applicable, you may wish to make a verbal or written contract to enhance the solidity of the agreement. Continued encouragement should be provided to the individual to keep up the positive behavior. Congratulate them on overcoming the obstacle and working through the process of de-escalation in a crisis.