National Crisis Intervention Training Institute, Inc.


Crisis Communication Skills

At the core of a Crisis Interventionist's skill set lies the question, "How do I convince a person in crisis to listen to me?"  We, at NCITI, Inc., believe that the best answer to that question is, "By listening to them."  Our Staff and Volunteers are selected for their already-existing skill sets in the following areas:


•Communication skills. 

•Rapport-building skills.

•Problem-solving skills.

•Analytical Investigative skills.

•Scientific skills.

•Team and leadership skills.

•Documentation skills.

We strive to hone the communication, rapport-building, and problem-solving skills through the further development of their utilization of the following specific skills:


•Facilitating vocabulary.


•Positive confrontation.

•Active listening.

•Empathetic communication.

Disclosure, like healing and restoration, is a process, not an event.  Assisting a Victim to open up and share is like peeling an onion:  it usually occurs one layer at a time,  We have learned that the process of assisting a Victim to open up needs to be strategic, timing-sensitive, facilitative, non-threatening, enlightening, and trust-fostering.  It requires a gentle finesse, and usually occurs in a logical, gradual manner which breaks down the barriers to disclosure.

Chronic Victims have usually been betrayed by people they trusted:  parents, guardians, people in a position of power, confidants, gurus and leaders, et cetera.  Our initial approach is NOT to ask that a Victim trust us, nor to try to verbally convince them that we are worthy of their trust.  Rather, we let the Victim know that we acknowledge that they have been hurt and betrayed by someone that they trusted;  someone they knew well.  So, the Victim would be crazy to trust us right away.  We  then state to the Victim, "I'm not asking you to trust me;  I'm merely asking you to watch me.  And, over the course of time, I hope I am fortunate enough to earn your trust."

This interaction usually occurs during the initial interview.  We train our Staff and Volunteers to make a promise that they can keep, either during the interview, or immediately after the interview.  Often, the promise will be connected to an immediate need; especially a need that may be distracting or inhibiting the person from disclosure.  When the Victim verbalizes something that he or she is preoccupied with, it is best, if possible, to address that issue immediately, preferably via a co-worker that is not actively involved in the interviewing process.  Once the issue is addressed (such as contacting a baby sitter to make sure the Victim's children will be attended to during the delay caused by the interview), it is vitally important to let the Victim know as soon as the issue has been addressed.

This simple act is powerful in its ability to establish trust and rapport.  It communicates to the Victim that the Staff Member or Volunteer is listening and sensitive to the Victim's needs, and that he or she keeps promises.  

In the vast majority of our training courses and seminars, we address the utilization of four simple skills that are central to the trust-facilitating process:   I-Messages, Active Listening, Positive Confrontation, and Systematic Problem Solving.  For additional information on these skills, we refer you to the (pdf file) training segment (BELOW) entitled "The Fine Art of Peeling the Onion," "NCITI Systematic Problem Solving," ALSO found on our "Free Forms and Resources" page.  Temporarily, we are including the PowerPoint slides, but are in the process of attaching an actual training segment pertaining to these topics.


The Fine Art of Peeling the Onion (pdf)


NCITI Systematic Problem Solving Process (pdf)