Brief Crisis Intervention after a Disaster : Client and Counsellor Experiences and Perceptions of Change following the February 22nd Christchurch Earthquakes
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This thesis set out to explore the experiences of clients and counsellors in immediate crisis intervention shortly after a major earthquake. It explored the experiences and perceptions of change during counselling for both clients and counsellor, all of which were exposed to the disaster. This study supported the idea of counsellors needing to adapt to the context of post-disaster counselling and addressing client’s immediate needs. Having both been through the same disaster meant counsellors were often going through similar experiences and emotions as their clients during this time. This led counsellors to develop a greater sense of connection and understanding of their client, as well as showing more emotional responsivity and self-disclosure. This was experienced as different to their normal therapy engagement. The implications of these counsellor responses were seen to be helpful, but at times had the potential to be hindering for counselling. Clients valued their counsellor’s techniques and personal qualities but often failed to identify what contribution they, themselves, made to change processes. The differing nature of counselling in post-disaster areas, as gauged by this study may help inform expectations and experiences regarding provision of post-disaster acute interventions.