LAPC Model of Crisis Intervention

The LAPC model was created by Cavaiola and Colford (2006) in their textbook Crisis Intervention Case Book. The advantage of the LAPC process is that it is easy to remember and apply, whether you are a degreed professional or a layman who has received a short amount of training. One of the difficulties of other crisis intervention models is that it can be difficult to recall the processes when they are needed most.

A client who is at high risk of danger will need a very directive approach where the crisis worker directs the intervention, a client at a moderate risk of danger will work best with a collaborative approach where control is shared, and a client at a low risk of danger should have a very non-directive approach where they lead.

The four steps of the LAPC Model are listed below:

LAPC Step 1. Listen

The first step in the crisis intervention process is to listen! This seems obvious but in a crisis it can be very easy to fall into the trap of hearing what we think is happening, rather than what is actually happening. If we fail to understand what the person in crisis is actually experiencing we will respond inappropriately.

Techniques used in the listening process include open-ended questions, paraphrasing and clarifying, and summarization. These are all primary counselling skills and are an inherent part of the active listening process.

In addition to hearing what a client is actually telling you, you should work carefully to avoid facial expressions or reactions which could be seen as judgemental. This is especially important when disturbing or scary content like suicidal or homicidal thoughts, sexual abuse or others are covered.

LAPC Step 2. Assess

Assessment is the next part of the process. This may be a structured and formal process (such as if you choose to use the CPR or DCIB Suicide Risk Assessments) or may be a much more informal process of synthesizing what you have learned in order to formulate an accurate picture of where needs are unmet or risk is present.

If you have failed to listen correctly, your assessment will not target the correct areas the client will not feel heard. Additionally, if you’ve missed signs of suicide or homicide risk (or in children, neglect or abuse) you may place the client or others at risk.

LAPC Step 3. Plan

The third step in the process is planning. In cases of suicide or homicide risk, safety planning will be the first order of business. For instance, someone who wants to overdose may give the pills to someone who can safeguard them, employ coping strategies to help ground themselves (watching their favourite movie or exercising for instance), or agreeing to call a crisis line if they can’t stay safe.

Once immediate safety concerns have been taken care of, other planning can take place. This may involve referrals to organizations (an article on this will be published June 6) for longer-term support (like counselling or case management), or otherwise performing the first steps to restoring equilibrium.

Planning should be a collaborative process between you and the client. If you simply take control and do everything for the client they will feel disempowered and dependency may result.

LAPC Step 4. Commit

Finally it’s important for the client to commit to the plan. If they have been involved in the process up until now, they should have little concern with committing. In some situations (like child welfare) there will be no option for them to “opt out” and they may be upset but getting them involved is still required.


Cavaiola, A. & Colford, J.E. (2010) Crisis Intervention Case Book. Nelson: Toronto, ON

Cite this article as: MacDonald, D.K., (2016), "LAPC Model of Crisis Intervention," retrieved on December 9, 2022 from

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