The ABC Model of Crisis Intervention
Prevention and Crisis Intervention; Unit 5
The ABC model of crisis intervention is a method created by Gerald Caplan and Eric Lindemann in the 1940s. The purpose of this crisis intervention method is to conduct a brief mental health interviews with clients whose functioning level has been lowered following a stressful precipitating event. The ABC model is a problem-focused approach and has been known to work best when applied within 4 to 6 weeks of the stressor. The ABC model of crisis intervention uses a three-stage approach to problem solving. This method allows a counselor to (A) build a rapport with the client, (B) identify the client’s perceptions and cognitions of the precipitating event, and finally (C) learning to manage and cope with the feelings in ways that will decrease the stressor (Kanel, 2007).
A of the ABC model of crisis intervention is developing and maintaining contact. In order to successfully carry out this portion of the three-stage model, a counselor must possess certain skills. Firstly, attending behavior is very important when attempting to build good rapport with a client. Attending behavior includes good eye contact, attentive body language and expressive vocal style as well as verbal following. It is also important to know that the concept of good attending behavior could vary slightly in regard to cultural differences. In order to be a successful counselor when using the ABC model, it is also important to have knowledge of cultural sensitivity (Kanel, 2007).
Another important skill a counselor must possess is the ability of how to appropriately ask questions. Most often in this model, it is important to use open ended questions in order to learn the most information about the precipitating event. Questions beginning with “what” or “how” are most effective in this case. The ability to paraphrase is also important, which is the counselors ability to restate what they thought they heard in their own words or clarifying what was said in a questioning manner. When this is done properly, the client knows that the counselor is listening and it helps build good rapport. Reflection of feelings is another technique to let the client know the counselor is listening, as well as summarization (Kanel, 2007).
The B stage or second stage of the model is used for identifying the problem. There are some specific items that the counselor wants to identify at this stage: precipitating events, perceptions, subjective distress, and functioning. If you can identify all of these things by the end of this stage, you will have collected the most important information. According to Kanel (2007), the following is a good outline to adhere to in order to cover all of the necessary topics in this stage: *Identify the precipitating event: ask open ended questions to get more information; i.e.- “What is the reason that you called my office to set up a session?” *(for each of these, counselor either marks “Assessed”, “Not Assessed” or “N/A”) *Explore cognitions: get more information about their perception of the event. i.e.- “What do you believe caused your husband to act in such a way?” *Identify emotional distress: what is their emotional level of functioning? i.e.- “How is this all making you feel?” *Identify impairments in functioning: what is impairing their functioning that can be increased? i.e.- “What else is going on in your life that you feel is being affected by this problem?” 1. Behavioral i.e.- “How have you been sleeping?”
2. Social i.e.- “Are you still talking to friends and family?” 3. Academic i.e.- “Are you going to school?”
4. Occupational i.e.- “How are you doing at work?”
*Identify precrisis level of functioning: counselors need to inquire about other stressors and how the precipitating event is affecting everything; i.e.- “What was your life like before this event?” *(Counselor marks “Done”, “Not Done”, or “N/A”) *Identify ethical issues...
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