What is the Crisis Intervention Ministry?
Adventist Community Services’ Crisis Intervention Ministry trains and deploys volunteers to provide emotional and spiritual care for traumatized survivors of disasters and other critical incidents. Because a disaster or other critical incident may have the potential to interfere with an individual’s daily or normal functions, it is helpful to have the assistance of a crisis interventionist who has been trained to use the principles of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). Crisis intervention is a temporary, but active and supportive entry into the life of individuals or groups during a period of extreme stress. Its goals are to mitigate the impact of the event, facilitate recovery processes in people who are having normal reactions to abnormal events and restoration to adaptive function. Crisis intervention in its basic form is psychological first aid and is not counseling or psychotherapy.
Who may become Crisis Interventionists?
Crisis Interventionist are multi-disciplinary professionals including pastors, educators, nurses and other medical personnel, social workers, mental health workers, counselors, law enforcement officers, fire and rescue personnel, victim’s advocates, and other professional volunteers who are trained in the principles of Critical Incident Stress Management. Prior mental health training or experience is especially advantageous.
What is involved in Crisis Intervention Training?
Crisis Intervention training is presented in intensive 13-14 hour courses offered several times each year in various locations across the North American Division. Four courses are offered by Adventist Community Services: Individual Crisis Intervention, Group Crisis Intervention and Pastoral Crisis Intervention I and II. In addition, serious students may take other courses and earn specialty certificates by attending trainings offered at International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. (ICISF) conferences as listed on the ICISF website (ICISF.org). Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, in collaboration with ACS, offers a Disaster Response Chaplaincy Credential for pastors who have taken all the required training and meet the other qualifications. ACS also offers the basic psychological first aid training in a six hour course especially for members who volunteer at local church Community Services Centers.
How will Adventist Community Services integrate Crisis Interventionists into its disaster relief efforts?
Adventist volunteers who have received Crisis Intervention training may be members of local conference crisis intervention teams to be deployed at the time of a disaster or critical incident including incidents at local churches and schools. In addition, when ACS operates diaster response facilities, trained ACS Crisis Intervention teams will be on hand to offer crisis intervention for volunteers to prevent compassion fatigue. Also, companioning and individual crisis intervention will be offered to survivors who come to our Distribution Centers for assistance. It is the intention of ACS to develop a Crisis Care Network across the Division of volunteers who have been trained and can be deployed quickly when a disaster or traumatic event occurs. Trained interventionists may also join community teams operated by local law enforcement agencies, fire departments or other first responder organizations where they will be deployed with people of other faiths and professions and will be called on with other team members as disasters or traumatic events occur.
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