Published on February 7, 2008
Supervision &Stress Management: Supervision &Stress Management Crisis Counseling Programs Need: Crisis Counseling Programs Need P A clearly defined (unambiguous) management and supervision structure; P Clearly defined purpose and goals which are articulated frequently; P Functionally defined roles which are reinforced through effective supervision; P Sound clinical consultation, support, and supervision; P Peer support and good peer relationships; P An active stress management program. Vulnerabilities of Para-Professionals: Vulnerabilities of Para-Professionals P They take on the anger and frustration of their clientele; P They refer everyone who shows emotionality to mental health; P They cannot end the helping relationship when goals have been met; P They perform concrete services the client is capable of performing or for which other agencies are responsible; P They work too much overtime; P Clients call them at home; P They engage in adversarial advocacy. Vulnerabilities of Trained Professionals: Vulnerabilities of Trained Professionals P May slide into therapy with consumers; P May “pathologize” the responses of consumers to support engaging in therapy or continued service; P May move into case management or psychiatric rehabilitation activities with those whose pre- disaster level of functioning was marginal. Management=s Responsibilities: Management=s Responsibilities P Adequately prepare counselors for their tasks; P Clearly articulate and often repeat the purpose, goals, scope, and limits of the program. P Articulate and enforce policies related to work hours, holidays, supervision, and attendance at staff meetings and training events. P Develop criteria for who is served and for how long; require justification for continued counseling. P Develop and enforce safety policies. P Ruthlessly enforce ethical conduct. Stress Management and Stress Inoculation: Stress Management and Stress Inoculation Workers can cope with the stress of their jobs more effectively if they are prepared. P Use role play to help workers practice responses to highly distraught people. P Have workers develop a repertoire of introductory statements that is free of mental health references. P Have workers practice how to conclude a counseling relationship. P Provide workers with examples of signals that talking about problems is or is not bringing relief to the consumer. P Pair inexperienced with experienced workers or employ “buddy” systems. P Educate workers about the differences between helping and “rescuing and fixing.” Stress Management and Individual Supervision: Stress Management and Individual Supervision P Monitor the affect surrounding the counselor's discussion of the client. P Look for patterns of response to clients, referrals, and terminations that might signal problems. P Monitor caseload size and overtime. P Explore anger and frustration in depth. P Co-visit clients if concerned about the level of involvement or if more intense mental health services may be needed. P Visit out-stationed staff frequently. P Require pre or post shift check-ins. Stress Management and Group Supervision: Stress Management and Group Supervision P Use peer influences to support workers and reinforce boundaries. P Team or pair workers for outreach and initial contact activities. P Present complex cases regularly and assess them clinically and within the context of the boundaries of the program. P Make stress and its management an open and regular topic. Meetings & Training Events: Meetings & Training Events P Humor is a good thing; P Have a staff development/training event one day a month that pulls everyone out of the field; P Validate and affirm, but invoke the boundaries of the program early and frequently, including that the program is time-limited ; P Help staff develop and use personal stress management strategies; P Mandate attendance. Stress Managment and Staff Meetings: Stress Managment and Staff Meetings P Structure staff meetings to include: < Policy information and changing directions of the program; < Updated referral information; < A case presentation and discussion, emphasizing the scope and limits of the program; < A review of workloads and plans to shift those; < Stress management tips or sharing of strategies; < A reminder that the program is time limited Stress Management and Training Events: Stress Management and Training Events P Require attendance. P Meet away from the work site. P Make provisions for emergency calls only. P Include team building exercises in each event. P Use outsiders to do stress managment/team building exercises. For Supervisors & Managers Only: For Supervisors & Managers Only Top Ten Ways to Handle Stress 1. Jam 39 marshmallows up your nose and try to sneeze them out. 2. Go shopping. Buy everything. Sweat in it. Return it the next day. 3. Fill out your income tax forms in Roman Numerals. 4. When some says, AHave a nice day,@ tell them you have other plans. 5. Stare at people through the tines of a fork and pretend they=re in jail. 6. Bill your doctor for the time spent in his waiting room. 7. Use your Mastercard to pay your Visa. 8. Lie on your back eating celery, using your navel as a salt dipper. 9. Make a list of things to do that you have already done. 10. Pop some popcorn without putting the lid on.