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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Crisis Response: The Fundamental Principles and Ethical Considerations of Psychological First Aid

by Julia Cochran, PhD, LPC 2 CE Credits

The theory and practice of crisis response on the part of healthcare providers has passed through a progression of stages during the past century. First developed within a military context, crisis response consisted of an often harsh treatment approach, even on the part of military health care providers, toward personnel suffering from what was called “shell shock” or, later,  “battle fatigue.” In the decades since the understanding of stress-related disorders has moved beyond the battlefield, treatment modalities for those disorders evolved as well. The principles of Psychological First Aid represent the most recent chapter in that evolution. The purpose of this course is to acquaint mental health and other healthcare professionals with the factors affecting stress responses in crisis situations, to introduce the principles of Psychological First Aid and to illustrate how these principles can be applied in a crisis response context.


Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForumOnline, LLC, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0355
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • What is Psychological First Aid? A Brief Introduction
  • Historical Perspective on Crisis-Related Stress: Alexander the Great to DSM-IV-TR
  • Evolution of Crisis Intervention Theory
  • The Adoption of Psychological First Aid: A Paradigm Shift
  • Factors Affecting a Client’s Response to Crisis
  • Recognizing the Behavioral Characteristics of Crisis-Related Stress
  • Psychological First Aid Interventions
  • Ethical and Professional Considerations
  • Conclusion
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Identify at least 3 common symptoms of stress in clients and colleagues, as well as themselves, within the crisis situation and crisis response context.
  • Recognize the historical and theoretical underpinnings of Psychological First Aid along with 3 distinct principles that set it apart from its predecessors and facilitate the provision of immediate support to those exhibiting symptoms of stress.
  • Delineate the professional and ethical parameters of Psychological First Aid and its nine key components, including  how to determine when additional mental health support is necessary, for both professionals and clients, and facilitate referrals.