Career Spotlight: Crisis Intervention Aide

Posted by Tricia Hussung on June 16, 2014  /   Posted in Human Services News

For many students who are passionate about helping others, human services is an ideal field of study. However, because it is an emerging field, you may be wondering just what jobs you’ll be qualified for after graduation. Most entry-level human services positions involve working as an aide for various health and community professionals. One great option for human services graduates is to work with a crisis intervention counselor as an aide. This career allows you to directly affect positive change in your clients’ lives while using the interdisciplinary skills you learned as part of your human services education. At Brescia University Online, we understand that you want a career that makes a difference. That’s why our human services program gets you on track for a variety of careers that help others in your community. Working as a crisis intervention aide is a great option.

What Is Crisis Intervention?

In the mental health world, the term crisis refers to how a person responds to a traumatic event or situation. Any kind of life event can trigger a crisis in a mental health patient. It is the job of crisis counselors to assist these individuals. They offer short-term, intermediate help and teach coping skills to patients who are struggling. The overall aim of crisis intervention is to reduce the intensity of the emotional, mental, physical and behavioral reactions a person has in response to a crisis. Another goal is to help individuals return to the functional state they were in before the crisis occurred. Through a variety of therapeutic strategies, patients are equipped with skills and behaviors that will allow them to cope with future difficulties. As a crisis intervention aide, your primary functions will be to assist the counselor in their care of patients and to help the patients themselves in developing problem solving strategies. The average salary for mental health aides in crisis settings is about $40,000 a year.

Crisis Intervention Illustration

Elements of Crisis Intervention

Stressed woman in a crisis intervention.

As a crisis intervention aide, is important for you to have a clear understanding of the various processes involved in counseling patients in crisis. In general, crisis intervention is intended to be brief, usually lasting no longer than a few weeks. First, it involves assessment, planning and treatment that focus on the client’s immediate situation and needs. While there are many approaches to crisis treatment, these elements are always present.

Assessment 

When a client first comes to a crisis intervention counselor or aide, their situation is assessed. This involves listening to the client, asking questions and deciding what they need to cope with their crisis. The counselor will define the problem and outline the best course of response to it. It is the job of a crisis intervention aide to help ensure that the client feels safe, both psychologically and physically.

Education

When a person is experiencing crisis, they need information about their situation and how they can effectively cope with it. In this stage of intervention, mental health workers help the client understand that their situation is temporary and their reactions are normal. The education aspect of crisis intervention helps the client see that things will soon be back to normal. More than just teaching the client, the education you provide them will help the client commit to being stronger and more independent in the future.

Support

Perhaps the most important aspect of crisis intervention is offering support to your clients and patients. You’ll need skills like active listening, unconditional acceptance and reassurance. The stabilization and resources you provide to clients help them reduce stress and improve their coping mechanisms. In the role of a crisis intervention aide, you’ll offer not only direct support to clients in crisis, but also support to the counselor on the case. This could mean filing paperwork, assisting in sessions or researching methods of responding to a particular situation. You will also help the client explore solutions, practice stress management techniques and encourage positive thinking.

Crisis Ahead Header

Characteristics of Crisis Intervention Aides

Because human services is a demanding field, it is important that professionals in this field are well-suited to the interpersonal work they will be doing. You probably already know that you have a passion for helping others, but here are some other qualities of successful crisis intervention professionals.

  • Nonjudgmental: Clients will notice if you are being judgmental and could shut down, declining help and undoing the progress you’ve made with them. A good crisis intervention aide is able to listen to a patient in crisis without judging their words or actions.
  • Self-Aware: Effective crisis intervention professionals can empathize with their clients without getting personally involved or emotional.
  • Nonreactive: It is important to keep a calm, collected demeanor, no matter how upset or angry your client may be.
  • Tolerant: You should have a high tolerance for chaos and high-stress situations because you will likely encounter them on a daily basis in your job as a crisis intervention aide.

Human Services at Brescia

Our human services curriculum helps you develop the skills you need to work with individuals, groups and communities. You’ll learn to work with people of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The associate degree focuses on crisis counseling and intervention, theory, case management, information systems and other relevant human services areas.

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