A Biblical Approach to Crisis Intervention Essay
A Biblical Approach to Crisis Intervention
This world has its share of calamities, accidents, bombing incidents, and terrorist attacks. These are perhaps inevitable circumstances and expected to create the appropriate responses from people. However much they anticipate times when their world stops because of an accident, these times (otherwise known as crisis), people still find the incident/s extra difficult (Compton et al, 2006). The word “crisis” is defined in three slightly varied definitions to cover the complete and full implications of the word.
The first definition says, it is a “dangerous or worrying time; a state of affairs or time in which things have become difficult, very uncertain, or excruciating” (Encarta, 2006). In this kind of scenario, a definite action must be acted upon in order to prevent total disaster or breakdown of the already uncertain situation. The second meaning implies a “critical moment; a time when something very important for the future happens or is decided. ” The third and last definition is taken from the context of Medical field: A “turning point.
” It is a time in which the patient, in the course of a disease, is either begins to get well or better (Encarta, 2006). There is yet another word that is always associated to crisis; the word “trauma. ” For a purpose that is pertinent to the understanding of the subject at hand, it is also necessary to have this word defined. Trauma, according to Encarta’s definition, is “emotional shock. ” It is “an extremely distressing experience that causes severe emotional shock and may have long-lasting psychological effects” (Encarta, 2006). The secular point of view where crisis is concerned is approached in several dimensions or approaches.
Many practitioners have differing opinions where their individual paradigms are the matter of interest. Same is happening among the evangelical circles; theologians and those in the pastoral care do not agree entirely how they assess crisis situations, and apply theological or biblical methods. Statement of the problem and hypothesis This study aims to outline, describe and explain the author’s personal biblical crisis intervention plan and how it is similar, contrasted and/or distinguished from other perspectives. It assumes the superiority of the biblical position over and against current paradigmatic posture.
Context of the problem The average American citizen faces myriad problems. The individualistic lifestyle is a guarded “asset” but it has its own challenges ranging from risk of physical attack, mental illness, and other possible threats. There are personal hazards being on one’s own, and there are also the other calamities that have become frequent in the American terrain, bringing with them diverse disasters and their complications (Falloon, 2003). Crisis and the interventions America employs are specific views that are considered in this paper.
Review of Related Literature Critical to a deeper appreciation of the study is the utilization of studies and/or literature, scientific and/or theological, pertinent to the issue on crisis and various interventions. This paper informs the reader on recent studies indicating strides or developments made by the scientific community on the matter. However, it rests on the assumption that the biblical understanding and solution have stood the test of time and hence, the best alternative in crisis situations. ~Cohort studies on the efficacy of crisis interventions
The importance of a timely intervention during traumatic or crisis provoking situations have been the subject under study in order to determine whether these were effective. In a related study by Boscarino and others, after a major incident as the World Trade Center disaster where more than a thousand respondents reflect on the immediate work-site employer-sponsored interventions and their “beneficial” impact on a wide-range of outcomes that included diminished tendency to depend on alcohol, PTSD symptoms, major depression and, binge eating disorders among others, in contrast to individuals who did not receive such help.
Nevertheless, whether the approaches used were plainly secular in nature was not the focal point of the study (Boscarino et al, 2005). In a similar study, there is a need for further evaluation on the merits on what they refer to as “psychological first aid” in the aftermath of a major catastrophic incident. But there were more positive results for multiple-session trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for the clients suffering from acute stress disorder when given within a month of the trauma (Bisson et al, 2007).
Comparably, the study by Day and Dawson (2002) points out the reason that there were no firm conclusions that can be reached concerning the efficacy of crisis interventions and this is due to the inadequate number of tests available especially because of the variety of these interventions. In the study, the authors scrutinized and reviewed 98 papers (Day and Dawson, 2002). ~Identifying clients in crisis Despite breakthroughs in scientific researches and the success of many crisis interventions by established churches, there are “fly by night” operations which prey on funding of private and government groups on such types of operations.
There are those who minister lacking the necessary spiritual maturity and corresponding abilities in this kind of endeavor, hence the necessity of proper credentials to minimize abuses in the profession (Butman, p. 59). Crucial to the treatment or interventions of people in crisis is the identification of clients experiencing crisis in life. “Knowledge of the three core components of crisis intervention theory (a precipitating event, client perception of the event, and the client’s usual coping methods)” is essential in this kind of work (Walsh et al, 2005). Theoretical Framework
The passage in Matthew 11:28 reveals the scenario wherein the Lord Jesus Christ himself offers His “treatment” to people in crisis. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will cause you to rest-I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls” (Amplified). This statement is quite profound and yet also very clear in all its implications: that nothing and no one has made the claims as Jesus did, and proved his claims to be true. In addition, this passage and the whole doctrine of healing that the bible teaches have been the subject of modifications, dilution and amalgamation of other persuasions other than the evangelical faith.
The author sees the root of all human problems in a spiritual perspective. It is a viewpoint that understands that to minister with efficacy, it is vital that the practitioner or minister has a mature comprehension with regards the biblical worldview and aware as well, of the established worldviews in the marketplace especially in the psychological discipline (Anderson et al, 2000. p. 29). Moreover, to address the problems that a person facing dire circumstances is going through, the line between the “sacred” and the “secular” must be fully grasped.
The author stands on what Dietrich Bonhoeffer posited: “There are not two realities, but only one reality, and that is the reality of God, which has become manifest in Christ in the reality of the world” (in Anderson et al, 2000. p. 34). However, to avoid being accused as simplistic, this position is further elucidated by adopting the following model. This study borrows from the material presented by Neil Anderson and others in portraying a balanced biblical worldview which is conceptualized in the following schematic diagram.
It illustrates the hypothesis that striking a proper balance and avoiding extremes in any of the quadrants are intentions of the author. Christ as being in the center enables the church to “tolerate” the others that attempt to influence it. Venturing into any of the quadrants outside the circle means utilizing a non-biblical methodology; i. e. , the upper left quadrant is one tendency of the church in general towards assimilating techniques with heavy influence from Hindu and other New Age conceptualizations. Analysis of various treatment modalities in crisis-stimulating situations taken from different studies is attempted in this study.
Taking consideration of these variations, the study attempts to examine their effectiveness incorporating in the discussions a biblical or theological reflection and response to them. Most importantly, the researcher presents one’s own crisis intervention model based on the theological/biblical standpoint. Definition of terms Crisis in general, means “an acute emotional upset arising from situational, developmental, or social sources and resulting in a temporary inability to cope by means of one’s usual problem solving devices” (Hoff, 2001).
Crisis intervention refers to the “process of working through the crisis to its end point of crisis resolution…it is a short term helping process and focuses on the resolution of the immediate problem through the use of personal, social, and environmental resources” (Hoff, 2001 in CP 5112 Crisis Intervention). Discussion and Procedure Trauma inducing and crisis triggering situations have spiraled its occurrence and in its primacy in the US and in many other countries in recent years (file:///D:/Documents%20and%20Settings/alan/My%20Documents/CRISIS/index_DMHIntroduction%20CRISIS.
htm). Its broad spectrum ranges from the national disaster category such as that of Hurricane Katrina or the 911 terrorist strikes in New York, Spain and England, to private instances such as a loved one’s attempt at suicide, the murder of a spouse or child, the beginning of mental illness, and the worsening situation of domestic violence (Teller et al, 2006). The acute crisis episode is a consequence of people who experience life-threatening events and feel overwhelmed with difficulty resolving the inner conflicts or anxiety that threaten their lives.
They seek the help of counselors, paramedics and other health workers in crisis intervention centers to tide them over the acute episodes they are encountering. These are defining moments for people and must be adequately addressed else they lead lives with dysfunctional conduct patterns or disorders (Roberts et al, 2006). ~What is the biblical model for crisis intervention? Author, theologian, and Pastor Dr. Charles Swindoll offers three fundamental answers to individuals in the upshot of a series of terrible circumstances. This is illustrated in the life of Job as found in the Old Testament in Job 38 – 42.
Swindoll elaborates, that “Job claimed God’s loving sovereignty, counted on the promise of resurrection, and confessed his own lack of understanding. ” It is the right of God to rule over the lives of people and the acceptance of this sovereignty “laced” with His love is one key towards wholeness of being (p. 34). Secondly, it is the hope that there is a resurrection someday that fuels or energizes a person in trauma to redirect his focus from the present pain to the future hope that helps the individual endure all adversities.
With the resurrection, loved ones will soon again meet and that the pain, death and sorrows are after all temporary events (p. 35). And thirdly, the relief it brings that it is not necessary to understand or comprehend everything in life is one way of release from bearing the ”burden” one faces in the midst of the crisis (Swindoll, 1985, p. 36). An integration of biblical or scriptural guidelines and scientific basis is offered to envisage the “interrelationship” between the Minister and psychological knowledge (Rowan, 1997). It is best shown in the following diagram.