Crisis Counselling

Study Crisis Counselling by distance learning. Learn about different types of crisis and methods of intervention. Understand ethical, professional, legal, cultural issues and much more.

Course CodeBPS304
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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  • Learn about different types of crisis.
  • Develop your knowledge of different methods of crisis intervention.
  • Learn about ethical, professional, and legal implications of crisis intervention.

A crisis is a period of transition in the life of the individual, family or group, presenting individuals with a turning point in their lives, which may be seen as a challenge or a threat, a "make or break" new possibility or risk, a gain or a loss, or both simultaneously.

Most crises are part of the normal range of life experiences that most people can expect, and most people will recover from crisis without professional intervention. However, there are crises outside the bounds of a person's everyday experience or coping resources which may require expert help to achieve recovery.

A crisis can refer to any situation in which the individual perceives a sudden loss in their ability to problem solve and to cope. These may include natural disasters, sexual assault, criminal victimisation, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, homicide, a drastic change in relationships and so on.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Understanding methods of crisis intervention What constitutes a crisis and methods of crisis intervention?
  2. Ethical, professional and legal issues Current ethical, professional and legal implications of crisis intervention.
  3. Dangers of crises and effective intervention Dangers posed by crisis to the individual, the counsellor, and those around them. Determining effective modes of intervention.
  4. Developmental Crises Recognising and comprehending crises from a developmental perspective.
  5. Post-traumatic stress disorder Symptoms, treatment options and possible outcomes of post-traumatic stress disorder.
  6. Violence and sexual assault Effects of violence and sexual assault on the individual, and possible modes of intervention.
  7. Crisis and drug addiction Determining the relationship between crises and drug dependence.
  8. Family crises Major issues raises in family crises and appropriate methods of intervention.
  9. Crises and cultural issues Cultural influences on crisis situations.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Identify what constitutes a crisis and to discuss methods of crisis intervention
  • Discuss current ethical, professional and legal implications of crisis intervention.
  • Explain the dangers posed by crises to the individual, the counsellor and those around them during crisis intervention, and to determine effective modes of intervention.
  • Identify and explain crises evolving from a developmental perspective.
  • Explain the symptoms, treatment options and possible outcomes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Describe the effect of violence and sexual assault on the individual and possible modes of intervention.
  • Explain the relationship between crises and drug dependence.
  • Discuss the major issues that arise in family crises and appropriate methods of intervention.
  • Discuss cultural influences on crisis situations.

What You Will Do

  • Role play a critical incident debriefing session
  • Familiarise yourselfwith a Counselling Association Code of Conduct
  • Interview a counsellor from a community mental health service in your area
  • View videos or films, read or listen to stories (where possible) about personal or family crises
  • Discuss post-traumatic stress disorder with a community mental health worker
  • Explore physical, emotional, cognitive and social responses to sexual assault or violence
  • Examine the relationship between trauma and drugs
  • Interview or observe people from other cultures to identify cultural and sub-cultural responses to crises
  • Explore how sub-cultural groups may require different counselling approaches
  • Consider various methods of crisis intervention.

Learn to Deal with Crisis Situations, before they Happen

Crises happen to everyone, and intervention can take many forms, from family helping and support strategies to professional counselling strategies aimed at helping the individual cope with crisis in ways that reduce the negative psychological, physiological and behavioural effects of trauma on that person and his or her environment.

The purpose of crisis counselling is to deal with the person’s current status by dealing with a crisis. Chronic exposure to stress or trauma can lead to mental illness. Therefore, it is important that counsellors have the skills and knowledge to help clients cope with their current stressors and trauma. Crisis counselling is not intended to provide psychotherapy or similar, but offers a short-term intervention to helps clients receive assistance, resources, stabilisation and support.

Crisis intervention differs from other counselling interventions in that it focuses on short-term strategies to prevent damage during and immediately after the experience of trauma. Crisis counselling is often followed by counselling for long term improvement of the client’s mental health and personal wellbeing. These will be discussed in more detail later in this lesson.

Crisis intervention has several purposes. It aims to reduce the intensity of the person’s physical, mental, emotional and behavioural reactions to a crisis. It also helps the individual return to the level of functioning they were at before the incident.

There is also an educational component to crisis intervention. The individual will be advised of the normal reactions to an abnormal situation. The individual will be told that their responses are temporary and that there is not a specific time that the person can expect to recover from the crisis.

What This Course Could Do For You

Helping people to overcome crises is something which most counsellors are adept at doing. Crises come in all different guises and can affect even the most well adjusted people. It is their suddenness coupled with our inability to change them which everyone finds so difficult to deal with. This course equips counsellors and trainees with skills which can be applied to a broad spectrum of crisis situations including assaults, death, terrorist attacks and various kinds of loss.

This course is suited to people who wish to broaden their counselling repertoire and those who wish to include it as part of a certificate or higher level qualification. People taking this course are those working in or planning to work in:

  • Counselling
  • Crisis counselling
  • Trauma counselling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Health professions
  • Caring roles

ACS Student comment: [This course] enhances my skills in my job in the disability field.  One of the most pleasing things about ACS, is the flexibility it does allow in the way that you can lay out your assignments.  They are not pedantic about little issues; but [instead focus on] the core learning that you have gained. Darrell Blackman, Australia - Crisis Counselling 


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Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo
Jacinda Cole

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psycholo
Tracey Jones

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE. Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc. 25 years industry experience in writing,
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