We have all been in the situation where a friend calls us up in tears and asks for our help. Whether it be that they broke up with their boyfriend or their parents are getting divorced to they are being retrenched, its a situation we know well.
What do you do, what do you say? How do you help them deal with the crisis. We all want to say and the right thing and solve the problem but sometimes it not that easy.
The anatomy of a crisis:
Stage one is the Pre-crisis stage
- the person is living their life as per usual and is dealing with problems effectively.
Stage two is the crisis stage
- an event or a set of circumstances has arisen which presents its self as a crisis for the person and they are in a dark place in their life.
It is here that is important to have a brief awareness of the 6 phases of the crisis cycle. The reason for this is so that you can identify where your friend is in the cycle and effectively help them at the point at which they are at.
The Crisis Cycle:
1.) Denial - This can't be happening
2.) Bargaining - Maybe if I do this then....
3.) Anger - Its his fault!
4.) Depression - It is extremely important to differential here between SITUATIONAL depression and CLINICAL depression. As someone helping a friend through a crisis we CANNOT deal with clinical depression. There is a huge and notable difference!
5.) Acceptance - Its happened, I can't change it
6.) Resolution - Moving on with my life
Stage 3 is the Post-Crisis stage
- The crisis has been resolved and one of three things could result. The person has an increased coping ability, the same level of ability or a lowered level of ability.
Always remember that despite the situation the person in crisis has strengths and theses should be highlighted before leaving that persons side so that they see a glimmer of hope and and use those strengths to propose a plan of action. Also, always remember to let that person vent and get rid of their feelings.