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Online · School of Behavioral Sciences · Psychology

Foundational Principles of Crisis Response

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/31/2020

Course Description

A general overview and analysis of the theoretical concepts of crisis response, critical incidents and grief and will cover intervention models, effects of critical incident stress. The course will cover the historical background of the discipline and scope of crisis response.



PSYC 101 or 210


Over 80% of Americans will be exposed to a traumatic event and experience significant distress due to a crisis or critical incident. A crisis typically involves a temporary loss of coping skills and causes significant impairment in nearly half of those exposed. Personal crises, such as death of family member or loss of a job, impact the ability to function in everyday life and affect relationships with spouses, family, co-workers, friends, and church members. Crisis response and crisis counseling are designed to help individuals cope with the stress or event experienced and to mitigate the threat of posttraumatic stress, critical incident, stress, and personal crises on the individual. This course provides the information needed to develop a foundational understanding of crises and crisis responding in order to help individuals return to prior levels of functioning.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate a theoretical understanding of what constitutes a crisis and the critical incident stress that ensues.
  2. Examine and discuss the phases of a crisis and be able to implement an effective process of crisis intervention.
  3. Explain the various types of crises and the unique effects on an individual’s body, mind, emotions, and spiritual state.
  4. Explain and differentiate between critical incident stress management and long-term crisis counseling.
  5. Explain and discuss specific issues related to crises, to include: helping a suicidal person, children, and adolescents.
  6. Examine, discuss, and integrate all issues, theories, assumptions, materials, etc., presented in the course through the lens of Scripture.

Course Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student. However, if the student prefers a physical copy of the resources, he or she may purchase them through the Liberty University Online bookstore, MBS Direct. The purchase of physical copies is optional.

Kanel, K. (2018). A guide to crisis intervention (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning. ISBN: 9781337566414.

Wright, H. N. (2012). The complete guide to crisis & trauma counseling: What to do and say when it matters most! (Revised ed.). Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. ISBN: 9780764216343.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband or cable recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Office
    5. APA Formatting Information:

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will submit a thread in response to each of the 4 case studies posed by the instructor. In addition, the student will submit a reply to the thread of at least 1 classmate. Each thread must be at least 400 words, and each reply must be at least 200 words. Each thread must include at least 1 peer-reviewed source from outside the course as well as biblical integration, and each reply must include at least 1 course textbook or biblical citation. All outside citations must be from sources published within the past 10 years, and citations must be in current APA format. (CLOs A, B, D, F)

Research Paper

The student will build a 2000–2500-word research paper in current APA format. Over the duration of the course, the student will select a topic; create a title page, abstract, and outline of the paper; and, finally, submit his or her final research paper.


The student will choose a specific type of crises or trauma topic to write about for the research paper. The student must submit his or her topic selection for instructor approval. If the topic does not receive instructor approval, it will not be eligible for use in the research paper.

Title Page, Abstract, and Outline

The student will complete interactive exercises to master creating a title page, abstract, outline, and reference page in current APA format. After this presentation has been completed, the student will create a title page, abstract, and outline in current APA format. The abstract must be 150–250 words. The outline must be 60–100 words and include at least 3 references the student plans to use. The references must be listed in a reference section in current APA format. The outline must include the Level 1, Level 2, and, if necessary, Level 3 headings the student will use in setting up his or her Research Paper.


Utilizing information presented in this course, as well as theoretical and practical elements from academic and Christian sources, the student will compile an original research paper of 2000–2500 words of body text in current APA format. The research paper must include an APA title and reference page and include at least 12 scholarly sources in addition to the textbook and a biblical integration. The body of the paper will be broken into 2 primary sections: (1) a summary of the student’s understanding of the nature and causes of trauma and (2) detailed nature, effects, and crisis response strategy for immediate intervention for the specific type of trauma chosen. (SLOs A, B, C, D, E, F)

Current Events Paper

The student will follow the weekly news for the first weeks of this course looking for a situation they would hypothetically respond to as a crisis interventionist. The student will complete a 750–1000-word review of the incident that includes 4 primary sections: (1) explore the nature of the crisis presented, (2) suggest steps for alleviating the crisis, (3) teach coping skills, and (4) help the victim(s) develop resiliency. This assignment must be in current APA format and must include at least 1 citation of the textbook and at least 1 citation from an outside source. The paper must also include a title page, abstract, and reference page in current APA format. The abstract must be 150–250 words. (SLOs A, B, C, E)

Exams (3)

Each exam will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned modules/weeks. Each exam will be open-book/open-notes. Exams 1 and 2 will contain 20 multiple-choice and true/false questions and have a time limit of 40 minutes. Exam 3 will contain 15 multiple-choice and true/false questions and 1 essay question and have a time limit of 1 hour and 30 minutes. (SLOs A, B, C, D, E, F)

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (4 at 70 pts ea)


Research Paper



Title Page, Abstract, and Outline




Current Events Paper


Exams (3 at 100 pts each)





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

900-1010 800-899 700-799 600-699 0-599

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


CRIS 302

Textbooks: Kanel, A Guide to Crisis Intervention (2018).

Wright, The Complete Guide to Crisis & Trauma Counseling (2012).



Reading & Study




Kanel: ch. 1

Wright: ch. 1

2 presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1

Research Paper – Topic






Wright: chs. 7–8, 11

2 presentations

DB Forum 2

Exam 1




Wright: chs. 2–3

2 presentations

Research Paper – Title Page, Abstract, and Outline



Kanel: chs. 2–3

Wright: ch. 9

2 presentations

DB Forum 3

Exam 2




Kanel: ch. 4

Wright: chs. 12–15

2 presentations

Current Events Paper



Wright: chs. 16–18

1 presentation

Exam 3



Kanel: ch. 7

Wright ch. 10

2 presentations

Research Paper – Final



Kanel: ch. 6

Wright: Conclusion

2 presentations

DB Forum 4




DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week (except Module/Week 1) begins on Tuesday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Monday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.