The Counselor's Role In Emergency Management Teams Essays Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Disaster, Education, Criminal Justice, Discrimination, Crime, Victimology, Sexual Abuse, Counselor

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2020/12/12


The paper will explore different aspects of how the services of counselors affect each in a positive way in our society. The roles of a counselor are discussed in emergency management teams and their response to the crisis. Counselors interaction with the victims and the methodology; they use to help victims overcome the loss. In addition, the paper shall be looking into details the different roles played by a counselor in the modern society. The paper will look deeper the relationship between Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and counselors and how the combined effort of both mitigate the suffering of the victims in the society.
The summary of the interview, I conducted with one professional of the management team is coherently elucidated. He gave me one example of how a sophomore student committed suicide and how his team helped her parents recover from the trauma. Further, the similarities between the Mental Health All-Hazards Planning Guidance and the answers I got from the counselor are analyzed in line with their differences.
Also, the roles of counselors from emergency management teams are summarized in the essay. The roles are well explained ranging from regional disasters to national disasters and how the efforts of counselors help to avert further damages. The knowledge and skill of counselors are also discussed and how the acquired skill helps in tackling the impact of disaster victims. Each skill is analyzed deeply and its application when disaster strikes are shown in the essay. The use of different methodology in handling each problem is also discussed in the article.

The Counselor's role in Emergency Management Teams and how each role is important

Counselors have so many roles in emergency management teams that form the epicenter of their practice. The functions as stipulated under the Stafford Act of 1974 enable the counselor to offer skills and services during national declared federal disasters. The counselor is expected to provide moral support to the affected people while the state in conjunction with local government fund the whole process to mitigate the damages or loss incurred. The counselor with other health-related experts under Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) visits the area to offer training and comprehensive health support to the survivors (USDHHS, 2003).
In broad-spectrum disasters with no prior warning from the government or any other authority gives a feeling of vulnerability and fear of individuals affected. In such disasters, there are usually multiple casualties who are directly affected or indirectly affected. They include families, friends of the victim and those who witness the accident. The consequences of the accidents are felt hours later or after an extended period and that is the primary reason counselors offer programs to survivors depending on the type of disaster at stake. Those who are affected by the catastrophic events or cases of terrorism or normal; crimes involving shooters usually leave the casualties, witnesses and other relates individuals with bruises that may take time to heal. The Emergency Management Recovery plan was formed for the purpose of mitigating catastrophes events. Most of the catastrophic natural phenomena are predictable. However, it is impossible to gauge the intensity of destruction that it shall evoke. Therefore, there are traumatizing events that are evidenced during such a crisis, involving crisis savers, casualties, and other people and it helps individuals affected recover from material or mental loss and feel that they are not abandoned by the state. The counselors with the support of the state are not expected to leave that area until the community has recovered fully from the tragedy. When an emergency occurs, there are usually steps that are adopted to curb the crisis and control further damages to the individuals involved. The steps are categorized as response, operational and recovery phase. The recovery phase is the phase where the hand of a counselor is required to provide a long term healing of those involved in such a devastating ordeal. Notably, in most organizations, counseling occurs after the operational phase. Regardless of the stage that supersedes counseling, it is clear that professional advice is essential and a must to be readily available to all the individuals involved in any emotional traumatizing event (USDHHS, 2003).

Interview with an Emergency Professional

The interview conducted I was able to ask different questions from the experts involved to enable me draw a very concrete and credible evidence. I visited Ivy League Institution where a sophomore student has committed suicide. Sherry committed suicide inside the school premises that left everybody astonished by her actions. Her parents who are immigrants from a country in Asia were devastated by their loss. I conversed with the counselor of the institution the processes they carried out to ensure Sherry parents recovered from the loss of their daughter. They couldn’t understand what caused their daughter to commit suicide and ended up blaming themselves for seeking the services of the counselor.
After visiting the school counselor they were able to understand what triggered Sherry to commit suicide and were directed to different departments within the institution to receive counseling. The counselors elucidated to them the stress reactors that are frequent in the middle-class families and were able to identify them and advised to forge a close and cordial rapport to their remaining children. The parents were advised to monitor a child's grief, understand the causes of the pain. They should also offer a solution because scientifically a child's mind can hold problems to a certain level, from their depression comes in. They were given a referral to visit The Community Suicide Survivors Group (CSSG) to air their grievances. The family felt exuberant and was cognitive enough on how to prevent any future tragedy that may face them (CACREP, 2009).
The counselors and mental health experts offer clear guidelines that should be followed when one is grieved. The steps are necessary even if they are not able to reverse the situation, they can give you advice to overcome it. Also, how you can prevent future crisis by monitoring conditions at early stages (.

Comparison with the Mental Health All-Hazards Planning Guidance

The report released in 2003 by Mental Health All- Hazards Disaster Planning Guidance (MHAHDP) gives the state recommended guidelines on how to face a situation. There are many similarities and differences that surface after analyzing the two approaches. Different situations at hand require different approaches. For instance, State Mental Health Agency advises on thorough training of staff. Each is assigned a particular task while the interviewee agreed that there are people trained at any institution to help the community solve their predicaments (CACREP, 2009).
Also, Mental Health All- Hazards Disaster Planning Guidance teaches people outside their staff. This training has made it possible for a large population out there is well informed of their guidelines in crisis prevention. In another hand, the interviewee asserted that they give referrals to an individual trained by the institution who will address their situation in a better way within a society or organization level. Another similarity that comes out clearly is that MHAHDP allows religious people participate under the umbrella of State Mental Health Agency targeting drug abuse and terrorism victims. The counselor on the other hand elaborated that for somebody to overcome a particular trauma they must consult the services of a clergy or any religious person to converse with the victims (Dawson, 2007).
The difference that comes out is that, MHAHDP, which is state-controlled, usually handles crisis that are bigger and needs state attention. The counselor, on the other hand, agreed that most cases they receive deals with family issues or community-based conflicts. Also, the counselor said that their services are readily available when tragedy strikes, unlike MHAHDP, which takes longer to respond to disasters (Royal, 2003).

Counselor Responsibilities in Emergency Management

In an occurrence of any crisis, the first strategy in the crisis response is calling for a counselor to the scene as soon as possible. In emergency management, counselors are given the mandate to provide help in a first aid center. They can also do it in a unit temporarily formed to provide the victims with food, water, basic medical care or a place to seek any information that may be required. Counselors can be localized in any place, in schools, church or even in a hospital facility. They even work under extraneous conditions such as jumping from an airplane in motion, areas with no air conditioning or in hostile communities where individuals are upset. A point to note is that, they are expected to co-operate with other emergency responders and work as a team since they all have similar aims that are an amicable response. Counselors are expected to develop a harmonious working environment, establish links with those they serve and make them understand them. In addition, they should also work to gather and obtain the necessary information that can help them in their responsibilities. Counselors are well knowledgeable about issues affecting the community-making their services highly valued by most people from society level to national levels. Their proper strategy in approaching issues has been fundamental and has brought positive impact to the community. In institution level, counselors are the one who understands student's emotional changes and well-being, and they get involved in solving them making them one of the valued members of management team. Another role of the counselors is following the legal process to avoid collision with the community. They have studied law that makes it easy for them to carry out their operations and has enabled them to render services to the community without any hindrances. The reason for bringing the counselors in the initial phases of the emergency response is to necessitate a contact with the people involved. The practice ensures that anyone who seeks for any information or any need shall be accorded to them. They are available to both the casualties and the first responders who may require any attention in providing of the emergency medical services and the safety needs top the community. Their strategy is specific since it involves going to the scene of the crisis, identifying those affected and then offering their services to them emotionally. Their interference is crucial to the lives of the casualties; they come at a time that they are most needed. If at this phase of emergency response counseling services are not provided, the patient may end up suffering from depression or other extraneous cases.
During disasters in schools, counselors are called to assess the emotional traumas of children and parents. In this way, they can determine who needs their services most and apply proper strategy to solve them. Another role of counselors is to understand effects of climate changes. They give schools guidelines on how to safeguard the environment because it is part of their responsibility. It has enabled institutions to become cognizant of environmental matters finally reducing the effects of global warming.
Counselors are called when disasters occur to assess psychological traumas of the victims. They talk to victims to assess the impact of the shock. Trained expert counselors then analyze the extent of the panic and then subscribe the best remedy for them. The process has enabled most victims to overcome the trauma they early experienced (Carolynroof, 2007).

Skills, Knowledge, and Training Required for Crisis Counselors

The crisis counselor requires thorough training on different aspects affecting humanity to be able to offer solutions. They range from drug abuse, stress, diseases, terrorism, accidents suicides and loss of property through fire, etc. As in the case of suicide, the counselors need to understand the cause of the problem before offering a solution. After analyzing the cause, then he/she is at liberty to counsel the victims with proper counseling skills. Good knowledge of understanding reasons of a problem is essential in helping the victim handle future scenarios.


Possession of various skills is necessary for counselors. However, there are the most crucial skills that all the emergency counselors should possess. They are supposed to be active listeners, in that they should be attentive to other people considerations and helps them understand the emotional challenges that might be affecting their clients, by asking questions where necessary and not interrupting at the unwarranted times. They should also possess a skill of social; perceptiveness, in that they understands individual behaviors and are aware of what causes different practices in different people. In addition, their orientation should be onto service to people, they should hence be ready to identify the problems affecting people and come to their rescue. Counselors are people who are good speakers; their verbal cues should be active in communicating their messages to their clients. They should decode the language spoken by clients to avoid any language misunderstanding. Additionally, they should be critical thinkers and think logically. They should be able to reason widely and identify the solutions that they can use to solve the problems affecting their clients. They should be ready to come up with feasible alternatives if need be to approach the different problems concerning them . In addition, they should be able to judge wisely and make the right decisions. The actions took, or the solution to the problem of their clients should be judged wisely and make the decision on the approach to use wisely depending on the outcome of each method. Lastly, they should be able to manage the personnel resources and their client's resources and it can be enhanced by ensuring that they are motivating, developing and offering direction to people as they work on the different strategies that may be taken in searching for the problem affecting the individual. In addition, they should be a time concise and manage it professionally. Any time lost in the counseling process shall translate to effects in the emotional levels of their clients (Sage Publication, 2007).


Knowledge that is required of a counselor will depend on the area of specialization. Like ion medicine, in the field of counseling counselors specialize on the different emergencies that they handle. However, there exists the common knowledge that all the counselors should possess. Firstly is the knowledge of human psychology. It includes being conversant with how human being behaves under different circumstances, performances and differences that exist between people. Research in the physiological methods and treatment of disorders emanates from behaviors and performances. Secondly, they should have knowledge of therapy and counseling. Knowledge in this entails being aware of the principles applied, the methods used and procedures essential to diagnose an individual who suffers from this. It also includes an ability to offer treatment after diagnosis and be able to rehabilitate their physical or mental dysfunctions. Consequently, if they possess such kind of knowledge career counseling and quality guidance shall be possible. Thirdly is knowledge of Government laws and policies that Governs the scope of their practice. Any action that they may partake should be within their jurisdiction. There exist legal codes, court procedures that are put in place for the benefit of the citizens of any particular country. This type of knowledge can be made bigger and better by possessing knowledge of the public safety and security. It includes knowledge on the relevant equipment’s used by different people and security policies and procedures to prevent people from any security threat. Lastly, they should possess knowledge of medicine. They should be necessary doctors since most of the cases handled in counseling are medical in nature. They should be able to help individuals who have been caught up in a crisis before they receive the help of a medical profession (Carolynroof, 2007). These include knowledge of treatments, symptoms, and health-care measures.


During disasters in schools, counselors are called to assess the emotional traumas of children and parents. In this way, they can determine who needs their services most and apply proper strategy to solve them. Another role of counselors is to understand effects of climate changes. They give schools guidelines on how to safeguard the environment because it is part of their responsibility. It has enabled institutions to become cognizant of environmental matters finally reducing the effects of global warming.
Counselors are called when disaster strikes to assess psychological traumas of the victims. They talk to victims to assess the impact of the shock. Trained expert counselors then analyze the extent of the panic and then subscribe the best remedy for them. The process has enabled most victims to overcome the trauma they early experienced (Royal, 2003).


Carolynroof, C. M. (2007). MISSOURI COMPREHENSIVE GUIDANCE PROGRAMS. A survival guide for professional school counselors.
CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs)Standards (2009).
Dawson, S. B. (2007). Stories from the Trenches. Professional School.
Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA). (2010). Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program Guidance.
Mental Health All-Hazards Disaster Planning Guidance (USDHHS, 2003).
Royal, C. M. (2003). Knowledge of Suicide Intervention Skills.
Sage Publication. (2007). Crisis Interventions. American Academy of Family Physicians.
Appendix A
Interview Questions
1. Give me a specific example where you helped a victim recover from the trauma?
2. Were you satisfied that your counseling brought changes to their lives?
3. How will you know that the victim has recovered from the trauma?
4. What different roles are involved in the plans to make your victims recover?

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