5 Things To Remember In A Crisis

A crisis may be described as an event that creates a major disruption in the routine operations of  life.  A crisis may be of such a nature that it reaches only into the life of one individual, a family, a community, a city, a state, a country,  or an entire nation.  In order for an event to be considered a crisis, it must cause instability, present eminent danger or be the peak moment when two opposing forces collide on an unescapable destructive path.   A crisis moment creates without solicitation open doors for change either for better or worse.  I am listing 5 things that appear to be universally helpful in assisting individuals who are directly or indirectly impacted.

1.  Allow individuals time to grieve about the crisis event

2.  Empower individuals that it is alright to acknowledge the crisis happened 

3.  Affirm the feelings of those in a crisis, rather than discouraging them from “feeling”

4.  If possible do not allow a person in crisis to go through it all by themselves in isolation

5.  Remember that different types of crisis requires different amounts of time to process:

  a.  Death by natural cause……………………..requires about 2 years

  b.  Accidental death……………………………..requires about 3 years

  c.  Suicide………………………………………….requires about 4 years

  d.  Homicide………………………………………requires about 5 years

  e.  The death of a child…………………………never closes to full recovery

During the first 24 to 36 of a crisis or the impact stage, the following dynamics occurs within almost every person directly in the line of contact with the unfolding crisis event.

1.  The crisis event hits without any warning

2.  The crisis event stuns to the very core of one’s being

3.  The initial impact lasts anywhere from 24 to 36 hours

4.  Logic is typically replaced with a numbing which helps the individual deal with the pain of the crisis

5.  The ability to do a lot of rational thinking will be minimized

6.  The crisis event will cause one’s mental focus to wander into and back to the here and now

7.  The crisis may cause individuals to go into denial and actually go searching for that which was lost due to the crisis event.

During the withdrawal stage of a crisis which lasts 3 to 5 days,  individuals might appear somewhat confused in their thinking and decision making.

1.  Emotions may run extremely high during this stage

2.  The individual may not appear to know where to go or what to do

3.  The individual may detach and just want to be left alone

4.  The individual may seek assistance from others about what to do next

Later be it weeks, months, years, the individual in crisis will begin a slow return into what is considered an adjustment to a new “norm” in life.  The following traits will reappear during this stage.

1.  Positive thoughts although the negative thoughts relating to the crisis are still present

2.  A more focused ability to do healthy problem solving

3.  Beginning to search for new opportunities to provide meaning to life that was lost due to the crisis

4.  Embraces a much more focused exploration of the events of the crisis

5.  A look back at the crisis from a more spiritual than painful vantage point

When a person is in the midst of a crisis, do not present yourself as a person who has every answer about each component of what is happening.  The individual in crisis needs simply to know that someone is near that cares and are willing to support them emotionally, spiritually and with a heart of loving empathy for as long as it takes to process their crisis.


One Response

  1. Thanks Dr. McClure, there was a fire in my development on 12/15/12, in which four families were impacted. I will post this on our website, this is good information.

    Sister Leslie McCrae

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