QUICK COUNSEL FOR CRISIS COUNSELING

Immediate concerns:

1. Assess the potential for physical assault. Should one of the spouses leave the premises? Might you be in danger when you intervene? If so, call the police.

2. Decide whether to wait to be asked to help or to take the initiative. Waiting may make you more effective, but it can also allow a situation to move beyond redemption.

Keep in mind:

1. Emotions will be high. Expect tears and anger. Emotions need to be vented in a controlled situation.

2. Two people, and usually a vast supporting cast, have caused this conflict. Rarely is there a true villain and victim. There are normally two sides to the story, both of which need to be heard.

3. Resolution of the problem will likely be a long process. For months and years they have built to this crisis; a snap resolution seems improbable. Crisis counseling can help them move from destructive to constructive modes of relating.

4. Your role is to open lines of communication, to help the couple hear and understand each other, to "translate" ...

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