17 Apr

When ministering to others during times of crisis and trauma utilize the strategies below to encourage healing and stabilization for individuals and families.  


  • Introduce yourself and your role.
  • Gain rapport. 
  • Remove distractions.
  • Establish needs.     


  • Listen intently. 
  • Ask who, what where questions.         
  • Avoid why questions because it brings about judgment statements.   


  • Help the person to express emotions. 
  • Normalize but do not minimize the experienced trauma. 


  • Coping strategies   
  • Stress management techniques


  • The person may need or request additional counseling.
  • We need to make a referral to a mental health professional.
  • The person has circumstances beyond your scope of expertise.
  • The person may exhibit suicidal ideation.              

Christian Mindfulness

     Christian mindfulness was one strategy that was worthy of mention and according to one study conducted by Jones in (2020) it ensures that the core of awareness is filled with the presence of God and hope. That same study went on to explain that an enhanced plan for encouraging spiritual disciplines as it relates to the crisis and trauma sufferer would be greatly beneficial. Lastly, the researcher concluded becoming trauma-informed, utilizing spiritual disciplines and Christian mindfulness will provide opportunities for the crisis and trauma sufferer to grow and transform spiritually (Jones, 2020). 

Pastoral Empathy

     In crisis counseling, empathy has value when gaining the rapport and trust needed to effectively connect at a human level. Empathy is a process in which one person attempts to gain an understanding of another person. It involves placing yourself in their world to make assumptions about what it is like to be that person. The process involves making inferences about personality, motivations and character based upon their observable responses to us. It is not a perfect science, but it is an attempt to know, appreciate and understand another person.  

     We can put empathy into action in our crisis counseling by being intentional about understanding another person's world. When we ask questions to get to know another, it conveys a sincerity and care for the person in crisis. Every person has their own unique story which needs to be embraced and understood. One practical tip for gaining empathy is allowing the person the time to tell their story. We should not immediately begin by giving unsolicited advice. We need to gain their trust and rapport before we speak truth into their life. Below are some approaches that have worked for this writer in the past. 

  • Do your best to remain calm, it will help others to.       
  • Listen and encourage the person to talk about what happened unless it seems to escalate them.                 
  • Ask them, “What was most difficult for you.”
  • Give them lots of time to talk, this may help to de-escalate them.
  • Do not be dismissive or minimize to make them feel better.
  • Do not make any guesses as to what they may need, ask them pertinent questions like “Do you need childcare?”
  • Do not make promises you cannot keep. 
  • Ask for guidance from a mental health professional if there is any doubt about the well-being of the person.
  • Do serve as a source of information for resources.
  • If possible, follow through the next day to see how the person is doing.


Johnson, W. B., & Johnson, W. L. (2014). The Minister's Guide to Psychological Disorders and  Treatments

Routledge.Jones, A. R. (2020). Enhancing Pastoral Care and Support by Providing Opportunities for Spiritual Growth and Transformation to Crisis and Trauma Sufferers. 

* The email will not be published on the website.