The crisis approach to therapeutic intervention has developed only within the past few decades, and is based on a broad range of theories of human behavior, including those of Sigmund Freud,Heinz Hartmann, Sandor Rado, Erik Erikson, Lindemann, and Gerald Caplan.Its current acceptance as a recognized form of treatment cannot be directly related to any single theory of behaviour;  all have contributed to some degree. The following is a brief summary of  some  of the knowledge incorporated in the present practice of Crisis Intervention.

Sigmund Freud was the first to demonstrate and apply the principle of causality as it relates to psychic determinism. Simply put,this principle states that every act of human behaviour has its cause, or source,           in the history and experience of the individual. It follows that causality is operative, whether or not the individual is aware of the reason           for his behaviour.

An important outcome of Freud’s deterministic position was his construction of a developmental,or “genetic,” psychology. An individual’s present behaviour is understandable in terms of his life  history or experience, and the crucial foundations  for all future behaviour are laid down in infancy and early  childhood.

Since the end of the nineteenth century the concept of determinism has undergone many changes. Although the ego-analytic theorists have   tended to go along with much of the Freudian position, there are several respects in which they differ. As a group, they conclude that Freud had neglected the direct study of normal,or healthy,behaviour.

Heinz Hartmann, an  early ego-analyst, postulated that the psychoanalytic theories of Freud could prove valid for normal as well as abnormal behaviour. He emphasized that man’s adaptation in early childhood, as well as his ability to maintain his adaptation to his  environment in later life,must be considered. Hartman also believed   that although the behaviour of the individual is strongly influenced    by his culture, there is a part of the personality that remains relatively free. Sandor Rado saw human behavior as based upon the principle of motivation and adaptation.  He viewed behaviour in terms of  its      effect upon  the wellfare of  the individual, not just in terms of cause and effect. Rado’s Adaptational  Psychotherapy  emphasizes the  immediate present without neglecting the influence of the developmental past. The primary concern is with failures in  adaptation today —  what caused them and what the patient must do to learn to overcome them.


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