Crisis: what is an issue?


Crises occur in everybody’s life. They happen to all of us, some crises are even considered development factors by specialists – events that make us grow and mature and move to a next phase in our life. Usually, we are able to emerge from a crisis without serious harm: we mobilise all our strength, we find the resources we need in ourselves or in our environment and slowly we move forward. Looking back, we often realise that the crisis has brought something positive: we have acquired new skills, have drawn some conclusions, have become stronger and believe we can cope with difficulties. A crisis becomes an element of our personal development that we needed to become more mature.


Sometimes, however, we encounter such crisis situations or moments in our life, which we are not able to manage. Despite our efforts, support of our friends and family, looking for expert knowledge in books and other resources, we are not able to manage the situation. The crisis seems unmanageable. We suffer, we have persistent thoughts and feel intense emotions, we are unable to take any action, although we know what we should do, or the situation does not improve, despite the efforts we take. We are disturbed. We live in permanent stress. We encounter sleeping difficulties. We are not able to distance ourselves from the issue and return to our regular functioning. Such reaction to crisis may require using psychological or psychotherapeutical assistance.

How I work with people in crisis


Working with people that are in a crisis situation and are not able manage it on their own or even with support of their close environment, I pay special attention that I:

  • first of all take care of safety of yourself and your family. Safety is always a priority. When there is a threat to your safety (e.g. suicidal thoughts, no place to live, no financial means, aggressive behaviours, autoaggression, psychotic states) we do not take any further activities unless we are sure that you are safe
  • mobilise your inner resources and teach you how to use outside resources: this means first of all seeking your strong points and opportunities to utilise, listing institutions that may offer support in a given situation, providing knowledge, training new skills, encouraging to use available support
  • work with schematic reactions, which are embedded thoughts, emotions and behaviours that impede emerging from crisis. Together we will seek possibilities of change, flexibility, new solutions and fresh ideas
  • focus on the issues that are most needed at the moment, whether it would be getting support and calming down or suggestions of specific actions. As crisis situations and your state may change rapidly, at the beginning of every meeting I will ask you what you need at the very moment
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  • if needed, work with persons close to you: your family, friends, your partner. I will explain to them what is happening, propose best ways to react, inform about additional possibilities for seeking help

Psychoterapeutic assistance in crisis and individual psychotherapy

It happens sometimes that psychological assistance in crisis and individual psychotherapy are intertwined. Once the client comes out of the crisis he or she encountered, it may happen that he or she needs and wants to begin individual psychotherapy: work further on the ways he or she reacts, better understand his or her emotions, be more aware of him- or herself, make better decisions or not to evoke situations that make him or her suffer.

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In such situation, the client and the psychotherapist may “renegotiate” their agreement regarding psychological assistance so that it covers further work performed in a more calm and regular manner designed for a longer time – individual psychotherapy instead of psychological assistance in crisis situation. If the psychologist dealing with support in crisis situations does not provide psychotherapy (which happens in crisis intervention centres that are by definition focused solely on support in crisis), he or she will suggest where to look for appropriate assistance and a good specialist. I encourage to use my counselling. I am an experienced psychotherapist providing both assistance in crisis situation and individual psychotherapy.


Sometimes my client, who is in long term individual psychotherapy, encounters a very difficult situation, for example death of a close person, partner betrayal, serious physical injury or serious disease. In such moments, the psychotherapy temporarily takes the form of support in crisis and my assistance as a psychologist is focused on safety of the client and his or her current situation, mobilise all available resources to manage the situation or show opportunities and potential solutions.

It may happen that in such crisis moment, the psychotherapist and the client agree to invite someone close to the client to a session, to get that person more involved into the situation and agree on a coherent plan of actions. Once the crisis is under control, the individual psychotherapy turns to its usual course.






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