Sunday, 9 June 2013
Are You Hearing or Listening?
The single most important part of any crisis intervention is listening. As crisis workers, we sometimes feel the pressure to complete our assessments and solve the problems. We could be short staffed or have several persons waiting to be seen. It is essential to slow down and take the time to listen. A person is crisis deserves our full attention. You cannot rush an intervention. The person who is struggling needs to know that you will stay with them as long as it takes. Remember to be genuine and to create an environment of safety and trust.
Keep most of your questions open ended and allow the person in crisis to talk. As you are hearing what the person is saying, you need to be listening. Effective listening can only occur when you are giving your undivided attention. Resist the urge to interrupt or hurry the person along. Always remember that in many cases, people go into crisis because they feel that they are not being heard or understood. As you are listening, it is important to ask for clarification if needed.
If someone is feeling suicidal, this requires further assessment. You will need to collect history, including if there have been past experiences with self harm or attempts of suicide. It is also essential to ask if they have a plan or have taken any action toward completing this plan. As you are listening, stay in the moment with the person in crisis. In some cases allowing someone to share their feelings and receive validation may be enough to help this person choose safety.
Listen more, talk less.