Crisis Intervention & Management Module

Module Sections:

Family Needs & Understanding a Stressor Event

Assessing Family Needs

  • Consider the following questions that aid in exploring the varying aspects of family stress and crises (McCubbin & Patterson, 1982):
  • What happened or has been happening in this family? Why is this a crisis now? (Event)
  • What does the crisis mean to the members of this family? (Members’ Perceptions)
  • What instrumental, emotional, and relational resources are available to the family to address the crisis? (Family Resources)
  • What has moved the family experience beyond stress to the level of a crisis? (Stress/Crisis)
  • Is this impact of this crisis compounded by previous unresolved stresses or crises? (Pile-up)

Understanding a Stressor Event

Epstein and Schlesinger (2000) describe the multiple dimensions of stressor events. Identification of these dimensions enables the therapist to develop a more complete picture of the family’s experience and the meaning they attribute to the stressor.

  1. Internal or external to the relationship
  2. Suddenness of onset
  3. Whether or not the event was expected
  4. Degree of ambiguity about onset and characteristics
  5. Severity
  6. Duration
  7. Degree to which family members choose to be exposed to the stressor
  8. How many members are directly effected?

“It is not the stressor itself that places pressure on a couple or family and its members to adapt, but rather the ‘hardships’ associated with the stressor.” (p. 293)