Behavioral Emergencies and Crises

Phillip M. Kleespies and Justin M. Hill

in The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Psychology

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195366884
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Behavioral Emergencies and Crises

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This chapter illustrates the mental health clinician’s relationship with behavioral emergencies. The chapter begins by distinguishing the terms behavioral emergency and behavioral crisis, and underlying themes among all behavioral emergencies are identified. Given that most clinicians will face a behavioral emergency in their careers, the importance of enhancing the process of educating and training practitioners for such situations far beyond the minimal training that currently exists is highlighted. The chapter continues by exploring various aspects of evaluating and managing high-risk patients (i.e., those who exhibit violent tendencies toward themselves or others, and those at risk for victimization). It includes a discussion of the benefits and limitations to estimating life-threatening risk factors and specific protective factors. The chapter concludes by discussing the emotional impact that working with high-risk patients has on clinicians, and an emphasis is placed on the importance of creating a supportive work environment.

Keywords: Behavioral crisis; behavioral emergency; high-risk; risk factors; suicide; victimization; violence

Article.  18688 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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