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Naomi Golan is the creator of the Golan Model of Crisis Intervention, and a pioneer of crisis theory and crisis intervention. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of Haifa in Israel, where she retired in 1984. (Dorfman, 2013)
Golan’s 1978 book Treatment in Crisis Situations provided a review of her three phase model of crisis intervention. While this work has been integrated into the work of modern day crisis intervention and even regular social work practice it was quite innovative in its day.
Golan Model of Crisis
The model that Golan proposes involves three stages or phases, and is designed to be completed in 5-6 sessions. The three phases are Assessment, Implementation and Termination. These are reviewed in more detail below.
The assessment stage happens in the first session. The goals of the assessment stage are very similar to Boiling Down the Problem in the ABC Model and the Step 1 (Defining the Problem) in the Six Step Model of Crisis Intervention.
First, you must identify what the traumatic event or precipitating event that caused the crisis. Second, you must understand the client’s reaction or response to crisis. Third, what context did the crisis event happen in – what else is going on in the client’s life? The term “hazardous event” is sometimes used to describe the nature of the stressor. Fourth, you must identify how the client has been affected by the crisis, and finally what is the client’s primary concern as a result of the crisis?
Golan (1969) identifies four elements that can be used to determine if a client is in crisis:
- a hazardous event
- a vulnerable state
- a precipitating factor
- a state of active crisis or disequilibrium
A comprehensive assessment will be the road-map you rely on to ensure you have accurately understood the nature of the client’s crisis.
Once you have identified the goals for treatment (collaboratively with the client), you will proceed to the Implementation phase. During implementation, you will collect information on the client’s pre-crisis functioning, coping strategies, strengths and weaknesses, and support systems available to them.
Once you have this information, you can begin to set some concrete goals with the client. For example, a recently divorced client who is completely overwhelmed with what to do next might set a goal to make an appointment with a career counsellor or resume writing service – or even something as simple as a checklist to ensure they shower and brush their teeth each morning.
The Implementation stage will run from the first session to approximately the fourth session.
Termination is the final sessions, which might be the 5th or 6th session. Now that the client has made some steps towards regaining pre-crisis functioning, the client and therapist make a plan to wrap up services and make plans for the future.
Similarities and Differences with Other Crisis Intervention Models
The ABC Model includes three stages:
- Achieving Rapport
- Boiling Down the Problem
- Contracting for Action
Boiling Down the Problem most of the elements in the Implementation Phase, including understanding the elements that are leading the client to their crisis, and getting a detailed understanding of their coping strategies. The focus in the Termination model is very similar to the Contracting for Action part of the ABC Model.
The ABC Model includes achieving rapport as an explicit element, while the Golan Model does not, this is just expected. Additionally, the Termination phase in the Golan Model covers next steps after the client wraps up therapy, while the ABC Model may lead into regular counselling or therapy, without necessarily stopping therapy.
Six Step Model of Crisis Intervention
The Six Step Model of Crisis Intervention includes six steps:
- Defining the Problem
- Ensuring Client Safety
- Providing Support
- Examining Alternatives
- Making Plans
- Obtaining Commitment
Both the Six Step Model and the Golan Model of Crisis Intervention include defining the nature of the problem, understanding their supports and existing resources, making goals or plans, and a termination or wrap up phase.
The Six Step Model includes more specific phases than the Golan Model. For example, Ensuring Client Safety (meeting their basic needs like shelter and food) and Providing Support (accepting the client as a person of value and worth) are absent from the Golan Model. On the other hand, the Golan Model includes assessing pre-crisis functioning in a way that the Six Step Model does not.
Finally, the Golan Model includes a more thorough Termination phase, while the Six Step Model’s Termination phase (“Obtaining Commitment”) is more about obtaining verbal agreement about next steps.
The LAPC Model includes four steps:
The LAPC Model’s Assess Phase is very similar to the Assessment Phase in the Golan Model, while the Plan Phase is very similar to the Implementation Phase. Finally, the Commit phase includes elements similar to those in the Termination phase of the Golan Model.
The main difference is that the LAPC Model includes a step involving Listening, while the Golan Model does not. Additionally, the LAPC Model includes safety planning and taking care of basic needs, things that were less of a concern to Golan – who was frequently taking care of clients in a hospital setting where this was already assumed.
As you can see, many crisis intervention models are overlapping and interrelated. The Golan Model of Crisis Intervention is a useful model of crisis intervention, and has several important similarities and differences when compared with other models like the Six Step Model, the ABC Model, and the LAPC Model.
Golan, N. (1969) When is a client in crisis?. Social Case Work. 50(7). pp. 389-394.
Golan, N. (1978) Treatment in Crisis Situations. New York, NY: Free Press.
Dorfman, R.A. (2013) Clinical Social Work: Definition, Practice And Vision. London, England: Routledge.