On rare occasions extreme crisis may hit an ecosystem demanding immediate response from crisis workers that may cause them to be placed in harms way. In the event of crisis negotiation, hostage negotiation or disaster response the crisis worker must be prepared to enter a harsh demanding environment with little to no warning or preparation (James & Gilliland, 2013). In these rare but high-stressed situations it is imperative for the counselor to maintain calm and to work with the other crisis responders.
When we think of hostage negotiation we typical are reminded of action films and SWAT teams running to the rescue leaving little room for the role of a counselor in hostage situation. However, 52 percent of all hostage takings occur when a mentally ill individual acts out at a school or medical facility (James & Gilliland, 2013). In addition, there is a rising number of hostage taking incidents inside the work place that stem from the rise in worker violence (James & Gilliland, 2013). While terrorist’s plots and James Bound villains make for good movies they are often far off from the realties of hostage negotiations.
Not unlike hostage taking disaster response is often viewed as an odd place for the counselor. However, with the rise in Crisis Response Teams (CRTs) the counselor role in disaster relief is becoming more clear (James & Gilliland, 2013). These rapid response teams were developed throughout the 1980s and 1990s to respond in the wake of any kind of disaster such as a plan crash to a school shooting. These teams began receiving national support with the development of the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) (James & Gilliland, 2013).
NOVAs purpose is to develop local crisis response teams with goal of aiding communities in alleviating grief, trauma and stress resulting from national disasters (James & Gilliland, 2013). Professional organizations such as the Red Cross and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) work with volunteers from the American Counseling Association and the American Psychiatric Association to provide crisis workers along with professional guideless and standards for schools and government agencies increasing the need and effectiveness of the counselor in a crisis situation