Crisis Intervention Counselor
The crisis intervention counselor’s function is supporting those who are in a state of acute mental health crisis often brought on by a recent trauma or long term case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. By helping the client to navigate through the intense feelings being experienced providing an anchor in reality, education on trauma/PTSD, support and coping mechanisms, the counselor helps the client to pass through the current crisis stage. The crisis intervention counselor can take several forms such as: a suicide hotline counselor, a counselor working at the VA with veteran’s experiencing PTSD or a counselor working with recent victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse.
The crisis intervention counselor will be expected to perform a variety of different tasks depending on their specific position, such as:
- Working on an emergency hotline
- Face to face counseling sessions with clients
- Maintaining detailed case notes on each client
- Form strategic alliances with relevant community and non-profit agencies
- Build rapport and working partnerships with relevant local, state and Federal government agencies.
- Promoting community education projects to help increase awareness of PTSD
How Crisis Intervention is a Service Human Beings
The crisis intervention counselor provides a tremendous service to their fellow human beings by helping some of the most vulnerable members of society survive one of the most difficult challenges life can present. By helping people cope with the incredible intensity one faces with acute mental health crisis, the crisis intervention counselor saves people’s lives often literally. This is a huge boon to families, individuals and society by helping clients work through the most difficult emotional situations imaginable so they can stabilize and begin their long term healing process.
Impact on Society
The Public Policy Consultant can impact their community in a variety of ways such as:
- Helps to increase public awareness of PTSD and Acute Mental Health Crises
- Helps to reduce suicide and other forms of violence
- Helps our veterans to recover from trauma that occurred in war zones
- Reduces public health costs by intervening before physical harm occurs
Impact on the Individual
The crisis intervention counselor performs a critical function for those who are suffering from an acute mental health crisis by providing stability and coping mechanisms during the darkest hour of their clients lives. Through education, direct counseling, unconditional acceptance, active listening and offering of coping mechanisms, the crisis intervention counselor gives the client the tools they need to survive their crisis and begin their long term healing process. While not focused on long term therapy, the crisis intervention counselor provides and invaluable service to the individual at their moment of greatest suffering and acts as a compassionate healer when individuals feel they have nowhere else to turn.
Impact on the Family
Few things are more devastating to families than the loss of a loved one through suicide or watching their family member suffer through an acute mental health crisis. By counseling their loved one and providing them and the family (in some cases) with education and coping mechanisms, the crisis intervention counselor provides the individual and family the skills and knowledge to successfully navigate one of life’s greatest hardships.
Education to Join the Work Force
There are many routes one can take to become a crisis intervention counselor. One can earn their bachelor’s degree in such disciplines as: Social Work, Psychology, Counseling, Human Services, Divinity, Sociology or other closely related degrees. While not required in many states, there are a number of organizations that provide certifications for individuals who wish to have additional professional credentials.
Range of Salaries for the Job
The average salary for a crisis intervention counselor is $49,950.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019. National average for Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors. Salaries based on national data not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2021.
What’s Next to Pursue this Career?
You will need to attain a Bachelor’s degree in: Social Work, Psychology, Counseling, Human Services, Divinity, Sociology or other closely related degrees. In addition, it is wise to take classes to attain fluency in at least one additional language based on the region you will be working in as there are often incentives or requirements to be bi-lingual. You can find a list of schools in your area offering these degrees here.