Having Faith- A Crisis Clinician’s Safety Plan

Working as a crisis clinician who evaluates suicidal and homicidal clients, can bring on a different perspective to everyday living. Repeatedly, seeing people in their worst state of mind can take a toll on your own processing as a therapist has their own downtime. My job consists of going from one crisis to another, whether it be at a client’s residence, the county jail, or a hospital emergency room, I am implementing my skills and talents to calm others and give them hope that their lives and processing can get better. The challenge is to know my boundaries and abilities with the realization that everything cannot be fixed. I firmly believe to be an authentic clinician I must practice what I preach with my own life recommendations to my clients.


Don’t take anything personal. At times my recommendations are not well accepted and another crisis can develop that will have to be de-escalated. Even though clients are brought in for their own safety when not in their right mind they may push against my recommendation and this can turn into a crisis in itself. Presenting with a calm demeanor and being vigilant to hear others concerns along with knowing I may be the only one in the room with a right processing mind keeps me grounded.


Stick with the facts. Many times it is our own mind that begins to ruminate the worse case scenario. The making of a mountain from a molehill often happens and it is healthy processing to stick with the facts not all the “what ifs” that could possibly happen and probably will not.


Giving to me so I can give to you. It is the best thing ever to give yourself and talents to assist others, however, if I haven’t given to myself first, I will not have my best to give to others. My gifts to myself include proper sleep, downtime, family, laughter, a good massage, lazy pajama days, time with animals, nature to rejuvenate peace and energy in my life. I remember to have good self-care, know when to say no to others, and enjoy everyday miracles that are all around me.


Seek help from professionals to process. Yes, it is very true that we professionals reach out to our colleagues and supervisors to processes difficult cases we are dealing with. It is so important for us to be able to let go of these traumatic events so when going into next evaluation we are clear minded to make the beneficial recommendations for our clients.


Never lose hope and faith in life. Listening to some of the most horrific stories of emotional neglect, physical and sexual abuse, along with suicidal and homicidal ideations with detailed plans to harm one’s self or others can be very depressing and bring on anxiety to the clinician. The job I choose has taken me to an unfiltered world of pain and reality that many have to live daily. Trying to implement small acknowledgments of hope that tomorrow will be a little better and faith that this too shall pass, is sometimes all I can offer to assist those in surviving their hopelessness.


Compartmentalizing negativity.  Yes, it is a fact that we live in a world that many times is hateful and unkind. Some people in life will have to endure unthinkable traumas and may give up on life. I feel I can learn from the negative events in the world and have it help me grow into a better, caring, loving human being who was put on this earth not to see what the universe has for me, but to recognize what I have to give this universe while I am given the gift to be on this earth.


A day is only 24 hours long. Realizing each day is only 24 hours long and if we are fortunate, we get the gift to have a do-over to be the best we can the next day. Learning the lessons of the day before, utilizing the knowledge from failures and striving to have better insight for the present is the key to being a better you. Moving forward each and every day to give our lives the best we have to give wards off depression and anxiety for this clinician. Being a better me helps me to help you be a better you.


Angela Tennyson, Crisis Clinician, MHP, CADC, Life Coach