CRISIS INTERVENER CRISES
While the crisis situation presents an opportunity for the crisis intervener to take charge at a time when people have temporarily lost control, there may be situations in which crisis interveners themselves may temporarily lose control and need someone to take charge. One approach to these kinds of situations makes use of the concept of burnout, which has been recently under study at major medical institutions. Burnout refers to a syndrome of emotional exhaustion and cynicism that frequently occurs among individuals who do "people work"--who spend considerable time in close encounters with others under conditions of crisis, chronic tension, and stress. Crisis interveners who constantly work with these kinds of conditions may sometimes find that contacts with others are charged with feelings of anger, embarrasment, frustration, fear, guilt, or despair. They may also find that the need to maintain a tough, in-control outer shell for one's own protection tends to become dissolved when it is combined with sensitivity toward persons in crisis. It is at these times that professionals need to examine their own lives for the sake of their own mental health and the assurance of continued quality of involvement with others.
Up until this point, we have been dealing primarily with the effects of a crisis on the victim and the correct manner in which the intervener will handle these occurrences. However, an added factor that could affect the outcome of many calls for assistance requires identification at this time. This is the emotional impact of the crisis on the intervener him- or herself. Crisis