Social Work Programs

January 26, 2011

Crisis Intervention And Social Workers

crisis intervention  socialworkWhether it’s a national crisis like 911 or Hurricane Katrina or a local robbery, social workers are on the scene providing Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) to victims of tragedies. They have special crisis intervention training and provide the mental health intervention needed to improve long term psychological trauma. Because of their special training they are included with other first responders and their responsibility is awesome. During these unique moments in time many wish to come forth and help but only those who are certified in crisis intervention can do so. It is not until the immediate crisis has passed that volunteers can come forth to help.


Most social workers with this certification have taken a course called “The Mitchell Model”. You can contact the Red Cross or a local military base to ask when the course will be given in your area. The Mitchell Model teaches you to conduct “psychological first aid”. The ultimate aim is to provide psychological well being and enable a return to normal activities as quickly as possible. It is usually done by bringing a group of those affected together to discuss their experience. With peer support at or close to the scene they can talk about their feelings and hear what others have gone through and not have to hold those feeling inside. This is called defusing and debriefing. When appropriate, handouts are left for people to refer to about relieving stress and managing anxiety. During the group the leader identifies those who may need individual counseling and sees them as soon as possible in a more private setting.

Social Workers Provide Stress Management During a Crisis

Companies affected by crisis have hired these first responders to meet with their employees to get them back to work quickly. They are paid for this service. During 911 most Wall Street firms hired social workers to be on site when their employees returned to work. During Katrina the Electric Company had social workers provider crisis intervention services to those who were not used to having to assist EMTs in the locating and removal of the deceased. Plants where workers are involved with heavy machinery call social workers to help if there is a death at their facility. Most banks will ask for the services of a crisis social worker after a robbery. A crisis social worker never knows when they will be called or who will need their services. As we see in the news, we don’t know when there will be a shooting, environmental disaster or traumatic situation. Sadly, these are appearing very frequently both around the world and within the United States.

Providing crisis intervention is one of the most rewarding roles a social worker can play.
Helping people to cope with the shock of death, injury and other forms of trauma is a very important task that facilitates the healing process.

1 Comment »

  1. We had a social worker come in after someone was assaulted in the basement. It helped to know being shaken up for a while was normal. Must be rough to talk to people in crisis a lot.

    Comment by Lyle — February 6, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

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