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Crisis Intervention: School-Based Crisis Teams


The crisis has become one of the burning issues in our times. According to Frieda F. Brown and Jackson P. Rainer, the crisis is “the presence of an event or situation as beyond the coping mechanisms of the individual” (Brown & Jackson, 2006, p. 953). Three components of crisis are pointed out namely the precipitating event, the perception of this event leading to distress, and coping mechanism failure causing the experience of the event at the lower level than it occurred (Brown & Jackson, 2006, p. 953). Crisis intervention theories aim at achieving the previous balance and reestablishment. Crisis intervention is considered to be a set of clinical techniques as well as social movements, for example, school-based crisis teams. It consists of many techniques integrating elements of psychology, theology, sociology, and medicine. Crisis intervention is necessary as far as human resistance to stresses is finite and exhaustible and particular situations may break the ordinary balance. Any traumatic event causes a set of physiological, psychological, spiritual, and communal responses (Parikh & Morris, 2011, p. 364). The main goal of crisis intervention is to help a human being to restore the coping functions distorted by the traumatic event.

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Three Levels of Crisis Intervention Model

The necessity of crisis intervention in schools has become more evident during the past decades as far as the level of school violence has increased and there are several traumatic situations at school that may be experienced by students, teachers, parents, and other people involved. Every case is unique and needs to be treated specially. Although school-based crisis intervention teams need to be more trained and professionally experienced, the people involved making a lot of efforts to help those people who need help (Knox & Roberts, 2005, p. 93). One of the first crises that have been paid a lot of attention in the literature is the kidnapping of the school bus of the Chowchilla School in California. Children were kept for 27 hours underground before escaping. They did not receive help timely and as a result, nearly all those children were diagnosed to have posttraumatic stress disorder (Knox & Roberts, 2005, p. 93). This case makes the specialists think over the methods of school emergencies. Therefore, the school intervention model has been recommended to be structured on three levels namely primary prevention, secondary prevention, and tertiary prevention. Primary intervention presupposes some safety precautions. Different prevention programs such as conflict resolutions, safe driving courses, alcohol, and drug prevention courses should be organized in schools. Secondary intervention includes the program minimizing the influence of the traumatic event on the student. Tertiary intervention deals with more complicated cases when the person needs professional help and support for long terms (Knox & Roberts, 2005, p. 94-95).

School-Based Teams and the Methods of Their Work

This help may be provided by different organizations. There are three main groups providing support to the affected people including school-based crisis teams, district-level teams, and regional resource teams. School-based crisis teams include social workers, school nurses, school administrators, support staff, teachers, and volunteers providing direct crisis intervention services. There are different methods used by school-based crisis teams to provide help. They include a telephone tree method namely communication with the affected person through the telephone or in-house communication. These teams should be well-organized including the team leader who is responsible for the work of the group, the assistant team leader who assists in tasks and is responsible when the leader is unavailable, a media coordinator who serves as a contact person to the victim, in-house communication coordinator who visits the affected person and the evaluator who provides assessments of the current situation and the further plans for treatment (Knox & Roberts, 2005, p. 96).

School-based crisis intervention teams should be professionally taught. The course of their training includes crisis intervention theory, models, psychological traumatization, post-traumatic stress disorder, discussions of experience, reactions, motivations, and others. It should be noted that professional training of these teams needs money, time, and effort. It will be easier to prevent traumatic events at school than to treat their consequences. Safety tips may be paid more attention to at schools. More than that, the affected people should be provided help in time in order not to make the negative influence worse.

Conclusion. Prevention Is Better than Cure

Crisis intervention has become the current issue in our times as far as more and more people experiencing traumatic events need help. Especially students are vulnerable to traumatic events that is why school-based crisis teams are necessary to provide help to the affected students. It should be noted that one of the main aims of these teams is not only to provide help but to prevent such traumatic situations at schools as far as prevention is easier than cure. Students who experienced traumatic events are almost impossible to be treated completely. This event has a lot of consequences influencing their psychic and the heaviness of these consequences may be diminished with the help of the professional work of school-based crisis teams. These teams are prepared to use several techniques including a telephone tree, in-home communication, and the current evaluation consisting of demobilization, debriefing, and others. Despite the development of the crisis intervention theory in our times, school-based crisis teams need to be trained more professionally to diminish the risk of post-traumatic consequences.

Reference List

Brown, F. & Rainer, J. (2006). Too Much to Bear: an Introduction to Crisis Intervention and Therapy. Wiley Periodicals, 62, 953-957.

Knox, K. & Roberts, A. (2005). Crisis Intervention and Crisis Team Models in Schools. Children & Schools, 27 (2), 93-100.

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Parikh, S. & Morris, C. (2011). Integrating Crisis Theory and Individual Psychology: an Application and Case Study. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 67(4), 364-379.

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