Crisis Intervention

MS 3XA3/5XA3

Spring 2024
9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Any direct service ministerial role will at some point usually involve helping people deal with life crises. We have also been in the midst of a prolonged global pandemic that has created a multitude of other crises. This course will equip pastors, lay leaders, and pastoral counselors with basic level skills in crisis intervention with individuals, couples, families, and organizations. General crisis intervention theory and principles will be reviewed along with approaches to specific situations such as acute depression with suicidal intention, violent and aggressive behavior, psychotic decompensation, developmental crises, spiritual crises, catastrophic life events, and natural/technological disasters. In the process of the course, students will formulate a summary for one special focus crisis area of interest, including a concrete plan of assessment, intervention and follow-up, which is informed by current theory and research. Upon satisfactory completion of the course, students will exchange their work and collect a library of summaries on the most commonly encountered crisis situations, as ready reference to principles, resources and referrals for these topics.

Prerequisites: While previous coursework or experience in general counselling skills is preferred, it is not mandatory to benefit from this training. However, if no previous coursework or experience, students must read Chapters 1 through 3 inclusive of the textbook by Norman H. Wright prior to the first class, in addition to the course readings below due before the first class.


  • To describe the goals, phases, and techniques of crisis intervention in general
  • To explain the how these goals, phases, and techniques are adapted uniquely to specific types of crises, including suicide, violent or potentially violent incidents, developmental crises, and other adventitious crises, such as natural or man-made disasters and the current pandemic crisis, as well as how these are adapted to specific populations
  • To recognize and list the symptoms and adaptations commonly experienced in response to trauma
  • To differentiate the unique opportunity and dangers in providing crisis intervention in a pastoral role
  • To differentiate the unique challenges and adaptations involved in doing crisis counselling online or over the phone
  • To explore and describe the unique role of the church in providing early intervention during crises


  • To identify the life crises which we have survived, and the adaptations to these crises that have affected our lives
  • To increase tolerance in hearing others’ pain and being open to the experience of one’s own pain.
  • To increasingly practice empathic listening skills, effective responses, and appropriate support in all our relationships, especially when these have been affected by crisis and trauma


  • To observe and identify helpful versus non helpful responses in crisis situations
  • To demonstrate skills in assessing, intervening, and follow-up in different types of crises, with different populations, and in different contexts
  • To demonstrate skills in identifying the need for and facilitating referrals for further psychological and medical help when necessary
  • To identify and list resources within our communities to provide support, education, and further help for individuals in crisis
  • To develop an action plan for facilitating early intervention in crises and/or providing crisis intervention resources within our ministry context or community