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Crisis Theory, Its Strengths and Weaknesses

This expanded crisis theory sample essay explores crisis theory examples, as well as strengths and limitations of crisis intervention. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of crisis theory, its management, and the situational events that cause it.

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Applied Crisis Theory Essay Introduction

In our daily engagements, challenges, and issues that initiate crises are common. Importantly, crises develop when people experience situations that are beyond their control. Situational events such as accidents, developmental issues like growth and changes in bodily structure, as well as existential challenges that comprise the fulfillment of personal goals are among the issues that initiate a crisis. To address crises effectively, basic and expanded crisis theories come into play. James and Gilliland (2016), state that basic crisis theory is a theory that revolves around the challenges, which affect an individual in a personalized manner. The theory looks into areas that are likely to trigger a crisis in a person’s life. Besides looking into the personalized situations that lead to crises, the theory also examines the various stages that a person goes through during a moment of a crisis. On the other hand, the expanded theory looks beyond the normal aspects that can trigger a crisis. The theory examines how environmental factors complicate or reduce the magnitude of a crisis.

The usefulness of basic crisis theory in crisis management emanates from its focus. The theory looks into the holistic nature of crises that affect people in contemporary societies. It is important to note that people usually go through various types of crises in their life that may be developmental, existential, or situational. Therefore, with a theory that addresses these types of crises individuals receive the right advice and move on with life in the desired manner. Consequently, the expanded crisis theory is another useful theory in the context of crisis management. Sementelli (2007) explains that while the theory has its roots on the tenets of personal development and issues that lead to crisis, it expands to incorporate aspects of the subject’s ecological environment. The theory examines the effect that a particular crisis has on an individual and the role that the various components of the environment play in the advent of the crisis. Therefore, it is conclusive to allude that both basic and expanded crisis theories are the most relevant to crisis management and intervention.

Basic Crisis Theory: Advantages

Some of the strengths demonstrated by basic crisis theory include its focus on the stages of a crisis and the personalized nature of the intervention. Since the theory provides the various stages that people go through in a crisis, it helps in effective identification of the challenges that a crisis can initiate and the best remedies to reduce these challenges. Macdonald (2016) asserts that by helping people understand the stages of a crisis, the theory makes it easy for individuals to adopt and control themselves during moments of a crisis. Subsequently, the theory looks into the causatives of a crisis in a more personalized manner. The theory examines whether a certain crisis is an outcome of developmental, existential, or situational causative. Fundamentally, by examining the cause of a crisis, theory helps in easy management and control of a crisis whenever it occurs. The personalized nature of the theory is one of the weaknesses that make the theory less practical in crisis management.

Expanded Crisis Theory: Disadvantages

On the other hand, the strengths associated with expanded crisis theory comprise its inclusion of the ecological factors. The theory is very important because it examines the role of the environment during crises. Unlike other crisis theories that limit their focus on the subject under a crisis, the theory examines how the environment affects a crisis. It is vital to state that several crises do not receive the right attention due to their exclusive focus on the subject held by other theories (France, 2015). However, by looking into the wider context, which includes the environment of the subject suffering from a particular crisis, the counselors are in a good position in curbing a crisis. One of the weaknesses linked to the theory is its static nature. The dynamic behavior of contemporary societies makes the theory impractical because of the diverse crises that affect modern individuals.


France, K. (2015). Crisis intervention: A handbook of immediate person-to-person help. Springfield, MO: Charles C Thomas Publisher.

James, R., & Gilliland, B. (2016). Crisis intervention strategies. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

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Macdonald, D. (2016). Crisis theory and types of crisis. Retrieved March 03, 2017 from Sementelli, A. (2007). Toward a taxonomy of disaster and crisis theories. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 29(4), 497-512.

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