Question: Who is the intended audience?
Answer: Coping with Crisis is written for anyone who wants to know how to help others deal successfully with the aftermath of their exposure to a traumatic incident. In other words, all those who might need to comfort, or assist, people who have been affected by the pain and grief resulting from an accident, disaster or emergency situation should read this book. This might include members of the emergency services, emergency managers, disaster recovery specialists or practising trauma counsellors.

Q: What is the book about?
A: The book describes, in simple layman’s terms, a four-step counselling procedure known as Restabilization in which the emotional impact of a crisis can be understood and handled in such a manner as to enable the victim to face the future again with confidence. It is a disciplined procedure with specific objectives, employing a rigorous technique with clearly defined endpoints. The method does require a disciplined approach on the part of the counsellor and so the book includes a number of exercises to help the reader develop, or refine, the muzzled communication style which is an essential aspect of this approach.

Q: Why are you the best person to write this book?
A: The author has spent the past 30 years of his life working in the area of disaster recovery disaster recovery and emergency management. He draws from his experience of direct exposure to dozens of real-life disasters, almost a hundred emergencies and countless problem situations. He has also benefited from the indirect experience of many more, gained from talking to, and working with, victims of various crises. Holder of a Lifetime Achievement award, he is a Founding Fellow and a Board member of the Business Continuity Institute, a Freeman of the City of London and a Knight of Grace within the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem.

There is probably nobody better qualified to understand the circumstances under which people’s normal coping strategies break down, leaving them with unhealthy reactions to the scenario and their reducing their ability to deal with the problems which may face them. He studied at the coal face and honed his skills before settling down to analyse what he had learned to establish a consistently reliable workable methodology which has been shown to produce long-lasting results for a wide range of clients. There are a number of case studies included in the book illustrating the broad scope of cases which the precise methodology of Restabilization has resolved successfully.

Q: How is this book different from other books on this topic?
A: The book opens with a description of the five emotions which a catastrophic incident may provoke and how they affect a person’s subsequent thoughts and actions. These reactions range from the debilitating effect of confronting fear for the first time through to the liberating effect of recognising one’s true capability. Each of these ‘discoveries of stress’ is likely to trigger a chronic reaction to whatever was perceived as the cause of that initial experience and these reactions are described so the reader can understand what they are likely to be called upon to deal with. The crisis intervention technique which is designed to deal with these chronic symptoms is introduced and the four stages of treatment are described as a viable means of returning someone to normal.

Each of the four sessions is then covered in some detail to provide the counsellor with the knowledge and confidence to engage in the process in the full knowledge that they will be in a position to guide a client through to a successful outcome; confidence in their ability to face the future. Because the process is dependent upon the use of carefully controlled but fluent communication techniques, the book outlines a code for counsellors which needs to be adhered to when conducting this type of work. This is supported by a series of useful exercises which have been specially designed to boost the counsellor’s ability to maintain the required communication protocol throughout the counselling sessions. Incidentally, these same techniques may also prove beneficial in controlling and maintaining a conversation in normal daily life.

Q: Is there anything else we should know about this book?
A: The basic idea behind Restabilization, the identification and correction of one’s reactions to a past incident, can be used in a group session to raise the emotional tone of a group who have shared the experience of a crisis event. This will help to alleviate the symptoms of many and provide an opportunity for others to come forward to seek additional help; providing, of course, it is handled correctly in accordance with the counsellors’ code.

The Dark Serpent Dilemma and Technique is an interesting approach to the solving of problems which can help people think a situation through and apply a logical strategy to resolve any problem situation; this may help them to avoid mistakes of the past where an emotion based response may have proved to be inadequate or inappropriate.

Coping with Crisis offers a pragmatic approach to dealing with a regularly occurring type of incident and its consequences. It is a practical handbook rather than an academic exposition, although the science behind it is quite sound. Well illustrated and easy to read.