Psychological Assistance In Emotional Crisis

Although it is momentary and passing in nature,
The emotional crisis usually leaves consequences in its wakeafter which it is necessary to implement an action plan that can combat the discomfort caused by the traumatic event.

Therefore, it is important to know the
The main elements of a psychological assistance program to be able to deal with emotional crises. Specifically, it becomes a priority to identify the characteristics and objectives that effective assistance must have, the different assistance models as well as the levels of crisis intervention.

Characteristics and objectives of psychological intervention

It is necessary to know that any action that is focused on
the treatment of an emotional crisis It must meet three fundamental conditions: be carried out “in situ”, be immediate and create trust in the patient:

On-site intervention

The emotional crisis must be treated where it has occurred.
Only in very special cases will internment be justifiedbut it should always be carried out in a hospital close to the relatives of the affected person.


Every crisis must be addressed at the moment it occurs. During the emotional crisis the affected person
expresses a great need for help and is more likely to receive all the attention to achieve change. Any crisis that is allowed to mature makes the intervention process difficult, hindering the search for a positive solution. It is necessary to mention that a problem cannot be addressed three months later than when it occurred.

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Create trust

The patient must be clear from the beginning that the objective of the intervention is none other than
Improve your quality of life.

The objectives in acting in the face of emotional crisis

If the crisis treatment intervention meets the above criteria, the chances of success greatly increase. It is time to point out the objectives that are pursued when implementing the action plan; the most significant are these:

    Assistance models for crisis intervention

    The human being is a bio-psycho-social entity, so his needs are inclined towards some of these areas and, therefore, the crisis that arises may have its epicenter.
    around the biological, psychological or social dimension. Therefore, it will always be necessary to define which area of ​​the patient needs attention.

    For example: in a suicide attempt due to pharmacological poisoning, first of all it will be necessary to know the biological or somatic repercussion of the event presented (whether or not gastric lavage is needed, etc.), then an analysis will be carried out on the elements and/or psychological schemes of the individual (emotions, motivations, etc.) and finally the work or family influence that this suicidal behavior may have will be taken into account.

    Thus, the emotional crisis
    can be treated from different perspectives or modelswhich can be summarized in a triple approach: intervention aimed at the conflict, at the person as a whole or at the system.

    1. Conflict-oriented model

    It suggests that the help provided must be immediate and fundamentally directed at the conflict itself; through this approach
    references to unconscious elements will be avoidedtaking into account only the “here and now” in addition to the possible solutions to the “current problem” that has caused the crisis: drug intoxication in a suicide attempt, abandonment of home, romantic breakup, etc.

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    2. Person-oriented model

    In the intervention, priority will be given to the most cognitive aspects of the affected person: motivations, emotional repercussion of the event, links with the event, etc. In that crisis that predominates in the biological dimension, the psychological and social impact that every somatic disease entails will not be left aside.

    3. System-oriented model (family or couple)

    The family (or the couple) is then considered as a unit of health and illness at the same time and, therefore, it is a fundamental element for the treatment of the affected person.

    Levels of psychological intervention

    Regardless of the intervention model that is being used with the patient (whether focused on the conflict, the entire individual or the system) and the area (biological, psychological or social) in which it is acting, it is possible to distinguish three levels. different help for emotional crisis:

    First level of help

    It is practically the first moment of the intervention; corresponds to the “impact phase” of the crisis. Depending on the content and cause of the problem, the psychological, social or biological aspect will be priority.

    This level
    It is also called “psychological first aid” or “emergency help.”; It is characterized by being a brief intervention (from a few minutes to a few hours); The main objective is containment and also to provide support, reduce mortality (prevent suicide) and link the person in crisis with the possible external help resources available.

    The first level intervention can be carried out anywhere (patient’s home, health center, shelter, street, hospital, etc.) and by any help agent (parents, teachers, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. .).

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    This first level of help
    can be carried out from pharmacology (through anxiolytics or antipsychotics) or through active listening, without ignoring the possibility of the patient spending one night or a 24-hour hospitalization.

    Second level of help

    This stage begins when the emergency aid ends (first level of aid). This intervention is not limited only to restoring the balance lost due to the
    impact of the traumatic event; At this level, priority is given to taking advantage of the vulnerability of the emotional structures of the subject, especially those that accompany the crisis, to help establish an emotional balance while creating other more functional psychological structures.

    The duration of this intervention is several weeks (10-12 weeks approx.) and is carried out by specialists.

    Third level of help

    In general, the two previous levels of help are sufficient to ensure that the individual, putting into action his or her own resources (psychological, social, etc.), can achieve psychological improvement. However, sometimes,
    long-term treatment may be necessary (psychotherapy in conjunction with pharmacological treatment) to reinforce the achievements achieved and prevent possible relapses.