You are sitting in your office all ready for a hard day of work with much to get done. The phone rings and one of your employees has been in an accident. All the plans for the day are put on hold. You rearrange all your appointments. You let the people at the office know that you are headed to the hospital. The hospital is out of town and three hours away. On the drive to the hospital you get a call and the news is not good. You head back to the office. The next day you go to the house to be with your employee’s spouse. What do I do? What do I say? How can I help?
Crisis comes to everyone. Crisis intervention to those can help others to regain a sense of control and begin the process of putting their life back together. Crisis intervention is about active listening and helping others cope in the next few hour or days in the aftermath of a life altering event.
Here are five practical was to help:
- Attend to survival needs: Are they safe? Is the family safe?
- Attend to comfort needs: Do they have food and shelter?
- Act as liaison between the victim and emergency personnel: Do they need help working with others? (They maybe numb or in shock.)
- Give referrals to victims and family: Who can help them with short and long term needs?
What else can you do? Listen!!! You don’t need to be a therapist to listen!! Just listen don’t try to analyze.
Some possible questions:
- Where were you when you heard about the accident?
- What do you feel like you need to do next?
- Who can you talk with about this?
- How is your family doing?
Don’t’ talk too much: “If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” Mark Twain
- Don’t Distract: Don’t doodle, shuffle paper, or look out the window. Don’t send messages to the speaker that you are distracted.
- Empathize: See the person’s point of view. Have an open mind, leave your preconceived notions at home.
- Be patient: Silence is ok don’t rush. Don’t interrupt the speaker.
- Listen to the person’s tone of voice: follow the emotion of their conversation.
- Listen for themes: what is the big picture?
- Non-Verbal communication: Listen with your eyes.
We all will face someone who just went through a crisis. Nothing we can do will prevent some things from happening. Accept this fact.
National Organization of Victim Assistance
Harvard Business Review, January-February 1999, p 59
Social Intelligence, Dr. Daniel Coleman
© “Crisis Point Coaching” (February 2015)