Study Crisis Counselling - develop your abilities to help clients in times of crisis

Crises happens to everyone, and intervention can take many forms, from family helping and support strategies to professional counselling strategies aimed at helping the individual cope with crisis in ways that reduce the negative psychological, physiological and behavioural effects of trauma on that person and his or her environment.

  • Develop your ability to effectively counsel and assist clients in times of crisis.
  • This course provides those already in the counselling or helping industries with knowledge and skills to give specialised counselling, and will contribute to comprehensive counselling training for those wishing to work in this field.

Distance Education Counselling Course

  • Help people deal with crisis situations

  • Understand how chronic exposure to stress or trauma can lead to mental illness.

  • Expand your counselling skills

Counsellors need skills and knowledge to help clients cope with their current stressors and trauma. Crisis counselling is not intended to provide psychotherapy or similar, but offers a short-term intervention to helps clients receive assistance, resources, stabilisation and support.

This is a specialised area of counselling which focuses on providing immediate help for individuals who have suffered from a psychological trauma, often as a consequence of a physical trauma, but inevitably in relation to some form of stressor. Here we shall consider what crisis counselling involves in terms of dealing with the onset of a crisis and helping someone to cope with it, as well as possible long-term implications and therapy.

Course Structure and Contents

This course comprises of the following nine lessons:

  1. Understanding methods of crisis intervention
    What constitutes a crisis and methods of crisis intervention?

  2. Ethical, professional and legal issues
    Current ethical, professional and legal implications of crisis intervention.

  3. Dangers of crises and effective intervention
    Dangers posed by crisis to the individual, the counsellor, and those around them. Determining effective modes of intervention.

  4. Developmental Crises
    Recognising and comprehending crises from a developmental perspective.

  5. Post-traumatic stress disorder
    Symptoms, treatment options and possible outcomes of post-traumatic stress disorder.

  6. Violence and sexual assault
    Effects of violence and sexual assault on the individual, and possible modes of intervention.

  7. Crisis and drug addiction
    Determining the relationship between crises and drug dependence.

  8. Family crises
    Major issues raises in family crises and appropriate methods of intervention.

  9. Crises and cultural issues
    Cultural influences on crisis situations.

Duration: 100 hours.


What You May Do

Some of the activities that you will undertake as part of this course are:

  • Role play a critical incident debriefing session.

  • Familiarise yourself with a Counselling Association Code of Conduct.

  • Interview a counsellor from a community mental health service in your area.

  • View films, read or listen to stories (where possible) about personal or family crises.

  • Discuss post-traumatic stress disorder with community mental health workers.

  • Explore physical, emotional, cognitive and social responses to sexual assault or violence.

  • Examine the relationship between trauma and drugs.

  • Interview or observe people from other cultures to identify cultural and sub-cultural responses to crises.

  • Explore how sub-cultural groups may require different counselling approaches.

  • Consider various methods of crisis intervention.


Crisis Interventions

A crisis intervention procedure is aimed at offering immediate help to the victim of a crisis so that they can get back to a normal level of functioning as soon as possible. It encourages the person to draw on their inner resources and use social support mechanisms to restore a sense of normality. Any crisis intervention programme should be treated as a guideline and not as a rigid procedure to be conducted to the letter. Some flexibility should be adopted to meet the needs of the individual and in accordance with the severity and type of crisis situation.

Generally, crisis intervention programmes are broken into stages or steps. A typical programme is something like as follows:

1) Risk Assessment - the counsellor should assess the immediate risk to the client, and intervene to reduce the level of crisis. Once risk has been assessed then they may build rapport with the client to establish trust.   

2) Take Control - typically, the victim is not in control of the situation or their thoughts and emotions. The counsellor therefore must assume control to begin with. This may only be necessary for several minutes. 

3) Assessment of Problems - problems which led to the crisis need to be identified. The client may be given control to discuss events which led to the crisis. When they do this, the counsellor may gain some insight into their coping style. 

4) Create New Coping Strategies - here the counsellor may use various techniques to enable the client to find new, more adaptive coping strategies. This might include things like using active listening, challenging maladaptive beliefs, and looking for examples of previously successful coping mechanisms. Whichever methods are used, the emphasis should be on problem management rather than the typical resolution of problems associated with longer term counselling. This stage is likely to be the most difficult. 

5) Treatment Plan - creating a treatment plan is very useful because it provides some meaning to the client in a situation which they have been struggling to make sense of. It often involves referral of the client to another professional. Often, if a referral is not made, or an appropriate one is not made, then what began as a good intervention procedure may later fail.

6) Follow-up - it is important to put in place a follow-up so that the success of any intervention can be evaluated later on. It may be that the victim is experiencing new problems associated with the crisis which need to be addressed or they need to develop some new coping strategies. Once again, an otherwise sound intervention may fail if there is no follow-up when needed.


Develop your Counselling Skills and Knowledge

Would you like to help people to copy with crises and difficulties in their lives?

Study Crisis Counselling by Distance Learning. You can start at any time to suit you and work through the course when convenient for you.


Do you have any questions?

Our Crisis Counselling tutors are more than happy to help with more information about the course - use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE, or

Phone us on (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752 or (UK) 01384 442752, or

Email us at: [email protected].


More from ACS

Coping better with Negative Emotions

Learn effective ways to manage stress.

Family & Relationships Counselling

The Family and Relationships Counselling ebook is an informative and helpful read for anyone who wants to improve their relationships or even help other people improve or nurture their own relationships.