Crisis: A crisis is a perceived turning point or upset in a person’s psychological equilibrium. Crises may be precipitated by a single overwhelming catastrophe or a series of smaller events. A crisis is not necessarily an emergency or urgent situation. Crises may emanate from events external to the person or from internal dynamics – though there is often an interaction.
Crisis intervention: A method of social work practice which focuses on ways in which personal crises can be managed and harnessed to promote positive growth and change.
Coping strategy: A set of actions or plan adopted to overcome perceived difficulties or threats and to meet needs.
Cognitive restructuring: The process of challenging and changing distorted or exaggerated views of reality.
Defence mechanism: An unconscious way of protecting the self from anxiety. A key concept in psychoanalytic theory.
Ruth Forbes is a tutor in social work at the University of Edinburgh. She teaches social work theories and models and has extensive experience as a freelance practitioner, trainer, and counsellor. Ruth has a practice background in work with children and families, adoption and fostering and psychiatric social work.