As you learned last week, crises that share the “individual, couple, and family” classification nevertheless can differ dramatically in terms of their breadth and the intervention strategies most often used to address them. The same is true of systemic crises. “Systemic crises” comprise the second broad category into which certain types of crisis situations can be classified.
The unifying factor between the types of situations in this category is implied by its title—systemic crises affect large systems. This might be a school, a workplace, a particular community, or an entire city, state, country, or region. When a systemic crisis occurs, not just one person or family is affected. Dozens, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of individuals, couples, and families might feel the impact. The breadth of impact of a systemic crisis, then, is broader than in an individual, couple, and/or family crisis situation, yet can still vary somewhat between different types within the category as a whole. A public health disaster, such as a worldwide flu outbreak, for instance, would have a larger and more complex breadth of impact than would a natural disaster, such as a tornado, that affects a single community.
Systemic crisis interventions require a combination of strategies to be effective. Such crises have the potential to affect every aspect of life, meaning response efforts must include everything from the immediate provision of basic needs such as potable water, food, shelter, medication, and the physical safety of those affected, to intensive counseling for victims suffering from psychological distress, to long-term plans for rebuilding or ongoing recovery. As a result, intervention strategies for all systemic crises must be multifaceted, multipronged, and developed cooperatively between and among multiple organizations and/or agencies. At the same time, the specific strategies implemented may vary across situations. Every crisis is unique and thus requires a customized response depending on the needs of those affected.
To prepare for this assignment:
- Consider the types of systemic crises presented this week: school-based; crisis/hostage situations; natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, floods); human-made disasters (e.g., terrorism, war, fires); and public health disasters (e.g., SARS, Legionnaire’s outbreak, flu pandemic). Select two specific systemic crisis situations. Each must represent a different type as listed above. Both should be different from the type of crisis you analyzed in this week’s Discussion.
- Review Chapters 13 and 17 of your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, paying particular attention to the unique and shared characteristics of the two systemic crisis situations you selected, especially their breadth of impact. Also focus on the crisis intervention strategies utilized for both types of crises and the ways in which they vary and are similar to one another.
- Review any additional Learning Resources relevant to your selections (i.e., articles or video programs) that might assist you in understanding the similarities and differences between the two systemic crises you selected and the intervention strategies utilized for each.
The assignment (2–3 pages):
- Briefly describe the two specific systemic crises you have selected.
- Explain how the two crises are similar and how they are different, including their breadth of impact.
- Explain what insights you have or conclusions you can draw based on the comparison.
- Describe at least two crisis intervention strategies that could be used in each crisis and explain how and why they might be used.
- Describe the similarities and differences between these two sets of intervention strategies, and explain any insights you have or conclusions you can draw based on this comparison.