Crisis and First Responder Training: Skills and Techniques – CRIS 605

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

This course will provide a foundation of the theoretical concepts and practical applications of crisis response and critical incidents, taking into account topics such as: intervention models and their efficacy and the consequential effects of critical incident stress and trauma on the life of an individual, group and organization.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Most Americans will be exposed to a traumatic event at some point in their life and will experience significant distress due to a critical incident. Crises can create significant impairment in those exposed and many will develop Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or related mental health issues. In addition, personal crises often impact a person’s ability to function in everyday life and affect their relationships with their spouse, family, co-workers, friends and church members. Crisis response and crisis counseling are therefore designed to mitigate the effects of trauma and critical incidents in hopes of creating a sense of safety and stability. This class provides the information needed to develop a foundational understanding of various crises, the role of the first responder in a variety of scenarios, and useful crisis intervention techniques and interventions.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings

The assigned textbook will also serve as a resource for the paper.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Course Overview.

Discussions (4)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will post a Discussion thread of at least 450 words to the questions posed by the instructor and support their assertions with at least 2 scholarly citations in APA or Turabian format. The student will also write at least 2 replies of at least 250 words to his/her classmates’ threads. The initial thread is due on Thursday of the assigned Module: Week and the replies are due on Sunday of the same Module: Week. (CLO: A-J).


This is a discussion in format, but the content is an assignment to explore a mental health-related crisis organization of the student's choice.

Part 1: Students will write a 1,000 word summary describing a crisis organization of their choice. Any organization specializing in some form of mental health crisis care is appropriate. The student will research general information about the organization and inquire about the rules, regulations, training requirements, and techniques utilized at the organization. Their findings will be summarized in a summary which must include academic substance, citations, and references in APA or Turabian format. 

Part 2: Students will critique one of their peers’ summaries with a critique of at least 500 words which must contain an assessment of both strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. The student should make academic contributions to extend discussion and to contribute more information. (CLO: A, C, D, E, I, J).

The student will propose a topic for their research paper that deals with a crisis scenario and a specific developmental stage. The topic must be something appropriate for mental health crisis intervention by first responders and not allied areas. Topics will be submitted by taking a quiz and must be approved by the professor before beginning research. (CLO: C, E, I).

The student will complete two multiple choice, true/false, question quizzes. Quiz: Crisis Care, Community Crises, and Lethality is a 25-question, 50 minute quiz which covers Learn material from Module 1: Week 1 through Module 4: Week 4. In Module 8: Week 8, the student will complete Quiz: Individual/Families, Crisis Workers, Ethics, and Loss, which is a 50-question, 100-minute quiz which covers Learn material from Module1: Week 1 through Module 8: Week 8. (CLO: A-J).

Research Paper Assignment

Utilizing information presented in this course, as well as theoretical and practical elements from academic and Christian sources, the student will compile an original paper of at least 12–15 pages of body text, in current APA or Turabian style. The paper must explore a specific crisis situation with a specific population-of-interest and describe best practices in crisis intervention with this scenario.  The student will specifically describe: 1) dynamics common in the population of interest; 2) best practices in first responder crisis intervention with this population; 3) spiritual applications; and 4) cultural considerations. At least 15 recent scholarly sources are required in addition to the course textbooks and/or classic studies if the student chooses to cite these. The student’s grade will be assigned based on quality of content, graduate level writing skills, current APA or Turabian guidelines, academic integration, clarity, and biblical application. (CLO: A, D, E, F, G, I, J).