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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.


This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB Clinical CE clock hours, and NYSED CE credit.


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.