Crisis Intervention Theory

The crisis intervention theory was developed by Linder Mann and Gerald Caplan, this theory however was developed by a team of sociologist, social workers, doctors and counselors, the incident that led to the development of this theory was the coconut clove fire where 493 people perished in a night club in the US.

The behavior and thought of people in crises change, they are usually confused, agitated in that they are easily angered, they feel helpless, they feel helpless and headaches. However the two scholars identified two types of crisis situations

Developmental crisis- in this type of crises the situation is predictable example old age crisis.

Situational crisis- this type of crisis is unpredictable and unexpected example natural disasters, fatal illnesses and rape.

Techniques of crisis intervention according to this theory

– Assessing the events that triggered the crisis.

– Assessing the coping strength of the client under normal circumstances.

– The human service worker should focus on the target area and give hope to a client.

Crisis Intervention Theory

– The worker should have a plan of action with well planed specific tasks.

– The worker should always keep the client in touch with reality and avoid asking question that may hinder the thinking of the client.

– The worker should concentrate on obtaining the missing information and concentrate on the present situation and not much on the past.

How this helps solve the client’s problem

– This intervention strategy helps to give hope and encouragement to the client to coupe with the crisis.

– It also helps to build the confidence of the person in crisis.

– By concentrating on a specific task the client changes the way of thinking, feelings and actions.

– The model emphasizes that the termination of the services should be done until the client overcomes the crisis.

Contribution to crisis intervention

Crisis Intervention Theory

This theory has contributed to crisis intervention strategies in that it emphasis that when dealing with a client it does not necessarily mean that the mechanisms that worked in the past can be used in the present situation.

The theory also states that it is not easy to point out people with crises because people interpret crisis differently but the theory states that people make comments such as they cannot cope, they feel helpless and that they are failures, however this theory has contributed to crisis intervention in that it emphasis putting the needs of the clients first.


Albert R. Roberts (2005) Crisis Intervention Handbook: assessment, treatment and research, Oxford University Press, Oxford.