What is psychological first aid?

Psychological first aid in a crisis is a set of skills and activities aimed at providing immediate emotional support to people in a crisis or traumatic situation. It aims to alleviate the mental effects of stressful events and help individuals return to emotional balance. Psychological first aid can be provided by both professionals and ordinary people who have undergone appropriate training. A person providing psychological first aid must demonstrate empathy, understanding and acceptance of the emotions and reactions of a person experiencing a crisis. It is important to listen without judgment and at the same time show understanding. It is important to ensure the physical and emotional safety of a person in crisis. This may include removing someone from an unsafe environment, limiting stressful stimuli, and providing support in the form of a physical presence. A person in crisis may experience various emotions, including fear, anger, sadness or confusion. Providing psychological first aid involves helping to express these emotions, which can help to alleviate them. Where possible, providing clear information about the situation, available support resources and future prospects can help to understand the situation and reduce the feeling of chaos.

What is psychological first aid?

A crisis consultant does not have to be a psychologist. A crisis consultant is a person who has specialized knowledge and skills in the field of crisis assistance, but does not necessarily have to have formal training in psychology. However, she should have confirmed qualifications in this area. It is important that the crisis consultant is aware of his/her competences, limitations and ethical principles of operation. They are often obliged to maintain high standards of confidentiality, empathy and professionalism in the area of providing assistance in difficult and crisis situations. While psychologists can serve as crisis consultants, many people working in this role have a variety of experiences and specializations.
Generally speaking, crisis counseling focuses on immediate support and coping with a crisis situation, while therapy is a more long-term process that may include more comprehensive work on various areas of emotional and psychological life. In practice, however, in some cases, there may be some overlap between both forms of support.

Is this therapy?

What's next?

The number of sessions in the crisis consultation mode is 3 sessions maximum. If the situation requires it, the psychological first aid provider should refer the person in crisis to professional help, such as help with:

first aid in crisis