First of all, what is a crisis? According to Wiger & Harowski (2003) there are three types of crises: developmental, situational, and existential. Developmental crises are normal developmental events in which transition leads to a crisis response; situational crises occur when a sudden, unpredictable, and uncontrollable event takes place; existential crisis revolve around such themes as a person’s sense of meaning, purpose, or personal freedom (Wiger & Harowski, 2003). Each of these types of crises contains its respective attributes, but “all definitions of a crisis suggest a collapse in a person’s ability to solve problems or cope with a situation” (Wiger & Harowski, 2003, p. 48). Furthermore, “when a person is encountering a crisis situation, he or she makes three types of cognitive appraisals, assessing harm, threat and challenge. The resulting crisis response…depends on the person’s coping ability at the time of crisis” (Wiger & Harowski, 2003, p. 49). What this indicates is that an individual can assess a certain level of harm, but will cope or not cope as the situation allows. Though many factors can come into play as coping resources (Wiger & Harowski, 2003), one resulting crisis response is an settled state of mind.
How we handle that unsettled state depends upon what we learned as kids, “A person’s early developmental experiences and means of resolving problems lead to cognitions or beliefs about the world that carry into adulthood. Parents or other environmental influences, and role models…influence our beliefs and self-statements” (Wiger & Harowski, 2003, p. 52). The argument here seems to be is that beliefs about authority established in childhood will arise during crisis situations. Most often, it seems, those beliefs are that someone in authority will know what to do during a crisis and make everything ok.
However, I think with all that I am that we all have everything inside of us to respond to our own crises. We have to first see that we have all we need, then we have to believe that we have all that we need. But I can promise that we all have exactly what we need in this life. No matter what the situation is, we can look at a given problem and find the solution. It may not be a perfect solution, but that’s the key: We all have to recognize that we can’t always get everything our way. Sometimes, have to simply accept what is and move forward.
Wiger, D., Harowski, K. (2003). Essentials of Crisis Counseling and Intervention. John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, NJ.