Phases of a Crisis


Kaplan (1964) outlined four specific phases through which an individual progress in response to a precipitating stressor and results in the state of acute crisis. In describing the phases of crisis, it is important to consider the balancing factors.

These include the individual‟s perception of the event, situational supports and coping mechanisms. Successful resolution of the crisis is more likely if the person has realistic view of the event, if situational supports are available to help solve the problem, and if effective coping mechanisms are present. Phase 1: The individual is exposed to a precipitating stressor. Anxiety increases, previous problem-solving techniques are employed.

Phase 2: When previous problem solving techniques do not relieve the stressor, anxiety increases further. The individual begins to feel a great deal of discomfort at this point. If the coping techniques that have worked in the past are attempted, a feeling of helplessness may develop if they do not succeed this time.

Phase 3: The individual may try to view the problem from different perspective and new problem solving technique may be used and resolution of the problem may occur.Phase 4: If the resolution does not occur in the previous phases disorganization may occur.Cognitive functions are disordered, emotions are liable and behaviour may reflect the presence of psychotic thinking.

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