The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1994) says that those who are in crisis need immediate intervention through emotional first aid and support. Crisis intervention aims to improve health or resolve a personal conflict through an immediate, short-term psychotherapeutic approach.
Mary is just the right person who is in need of immediate intervention. Her problems began when she discovered that she could not conceive a child due to some biological reason. She suffered from this because “she is incapable of doing something that is a simple biological function of being a woman” (Vasudev, 2005). This could be the reason why she thought she was a failure because she could not give her husband a child. In our society today, those who cannot bear a child are a laughing matter.
Even during the times of our ancestors, a woman’s auspiciousness is measured by the number of children she has. This was considered an asset, especially when her children are male. Vasudev (2005) considered children as important for survival and for economic and social situations. He said,
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“People did not experience life to any depth with any other aspect except by bearing children. It’s as if you have not experienced life” (Vasudev, 2005).
But he added that so many factors are involved, such as social, economic, emotional, physical and biological aspects. What has been embedded in the history of humans about child bearing is still observed today. A woman who cannot bear a child is considered unfortunate or outcast in our society. This was probably how Mary felt with the dilemma she was facing. To make matters worse for her, her inability to produce a child precipitated the bitter divorce between her and her husband. This only made her feel inadequate.
This situation proved hard for Mary, especially when her second husband also wanted to divorce her. She blamed herself for losing her husband and his child because she thought she was not a better wife, despite her efforts in devoting herself to them. This indicated that she was crisis prone, as shown by her tendency to feel overly depressed by unfavorable events in her life.
Greenwald (undated) explained that depression is caused by many factors, one of which is biological. Mary had problems with eating and sleeping. Another factor is psychological. Greenwald noted,
“If you fail to live up to some internal standard of who or what you are supposed to be, some internal watchdog notes your failures and begins to let you know that you haven’t been all that you could be” (Greenwald, undated).
Moreover, people tend to feel depressed because they think they haven’t done what they think they should have. This results to low self-esteem, as is the case with Mary because she could not conceive a child. She also blamed herself for the bad things in her life. Dr. Greenwald added that when important people fail to understand or recognize or appreciate, it could result to depression. Sometimes, this made a person feel that she is not good enough. Mary was sensitive to this since she had a history of divorce.
Mary’s condition after learning of her husband’s plans showed that she was in a crisis. She was undergoing a strong, reactive depression, which is not normally experienced by someone who is upset. Moreover, it involved her health, her job and her self-esteem. She also indicated that “it would be better to be dead…” which showed that she was considering suicide as an option to end her dilemma. This is an indication that should not be ignored.
It is important to let Mary know that someone cares for her, and that is me and it is why I’m there to help her solve her problem. I will use Roberts’ Seven Stage Crisis Intervention Model (2000) in conducting the intervention. After gaining her confidence and trust, I will conduct crisis assessment, including lethality. Is she depressed, lonely or suicidal? Is she safe or alone? Does she mean to harm herself? These questions should be asked with sensitivity. Assessment of danger must be throughout the intervention. I must establish rapport and make her feel at ease in telling me her problems. I will listen for important events and persons so that I know who and what are important to her. I will listen for significant changes, losses, disappointments and failures to identify the major problem/s. I will find out the trigger events so that I can think of strategies in helping her.
Through active listening, I will ask about the feelings surrounding the people or events as she tells me her history. Questions include: “How did you feel about that?” “What were your feelings?” “What do you think about this situation?” “You might have been angry?” “Were you hurt about that?” It is also important that I listen for problems about anger. I should help the person discover if her depression was to do with unexpressed anger. “It sounds like you have problems expressing your anger.” “How do you vent your anger?” If anger is not the issue, I will look for other possibilities. If Mary tells about her depression on her first divorce, I can refer her to psychotherapy. I can also give support through validation. I will convince her that what she is feeling is ok and that she is not alone. She is worthy and can overcome her problems.
She is stronger than she can imagine. I can tell her “I’d feel the same way if I were in your shoes” or “Of course I’d feel depressed; I think anyone would.” Then I will ask her the areas where she considers she excels. I will tell her that she is not a failure. She just needs to explore her feelings, ideas, skills and accomplishments. I can convince her to join any club or activities where she can use her talents, or to try calling her sister and family because I’m sure they care for her. I will point out resources that she may have forgotten. I can give her the power to make choices and opportunities for herself, and take charge.
Mary found out that despite what happened, she can move on because she is strong. The time of feeling down is past; she must look for the brighter things and dedicate her energy to more important things. She felt thankful that she called that crisis hotline; although her problems were not over yet, she felt as though her burdens were lifted.
Crisis Intervention and Domestic Violence National Resource. (undated). Roberts’ Seven Stage Crisis Intervention Model. Crisis Intervention Network. Retrieved on September 16, 2007 from http://www.crisisinterventionnetwork.com/intervention_roberts.html
Greenwald, Barry. (undated). Loneliness, Depression, and Suicide. Retrieved on September 17, 2007 from http://www.uic.edu/orgs/convening/depress.htm
Vasudev, Sadhguru Jaggi. (May 3, 2005). Barren Woman. Chennai Online. Retrieved on September 17, 2007 from http://www.chennaionline.com/health/yoga/2005/04yoga45.asp
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