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19 S. Cameron Street, Winchester VA

Crisis Counseling

A crisis refers not just to a traumatic event or experience, but to an individual's response to the situation. The events that trigger this crisis can run the gamut of life experience, from developmental hurdles (such as going through puberty) to natural disasters to the death of a loved one. Crisis counseling is an intervention that can help individuals deal with the crisis by offering assistance and support.


Crisis counseling with children and adolescents looks very different than it does with adults. Although everyone responds differently, children tend to act as if they’re in a fog, experience headaches or stomachaches, or act out emotionally. Since children often don’t have the vocabulary necessary to express their feelings through regular therapy, crisis counselors use other forms of therapy such as art or play therapy to help children identify their thoughts and reframe them.



We are here to offer short-term help to children and adolescents who experience an event that produces emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral distress or problems. A crisis can refer to any situation in which your child or teen perceives a sudden loss of his or her ability to use effective problem-solving and coping skills. A number of events or circumstances can be considered a crisis:


  • Life-threatening situations, such as natural disasters (such as an earthquake or tornado), sexual assault or other criminal victimization
  • Medical illness or surgery
  • Mental illness
  • Thoughts of suicide or homicide
  • Loss or drastic changes in relationships (death of a loved one or divorce, etc)
  • Loss of a friendship (they move to another school or have a fight that ends the friendship)
  • Puberty
  • Bullying


Crisis counseling aims to reduce the intensity of your child/teen’s emotional, mental, physical and behavioral reactions to a crisis. Another purpose is to help individuals return them to their level of functioning before the crisis. Functioning may be improved above and beyond this by developing new coping skills and eliminating ineffective ways of coping, such as withdrawal, isolation, and/or substance abuse. Crisis intervention aims to assist your child/teen in recovering from the crisis and to prevent serious long-term problems from developing. Research documents positive outcomes for crisis intervention, such as decreased distress and improved problem solving.


Helping your child/teen during a crisis:

Try and keep routines as normal as possible. Kids gain security from the predictability of routine, including attending school.

Limit exposure to television and the news.

  • Be honest with kids and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to handle.
  • Listen to kids’ fears and concerns.
  • Reassure kids that the world is a good place to be, but that there are people who do bad things.
  • Parents and adults need to first deal with and assess their own responses to crisis and stress.
  • Rebuild and reaffirm attachments and relationships.


At CPC, we specialize in working with and helping children and teens going through difficult transitions. We are here to help support them through the transition and help them find ways to cope. We also work with the parents (and everyone involved in the child’s life) to ensure everyone is aware of how the child is feeling and how everyone can support them and make the transition better for everyone.



Cameron Pediatric Counseling, Inc.


19 S. Cameron Street, Winchester VA

© 2019 Cameron Pediatric Counseling, Inc. | All Rights Reserved