Paraklesis Emergency, Trauma and Safety Plan
Paraklesis Counselling is committed to the principles of compassionate care and therapeutic excellence, but because of the nature of especially online therapy and therapy in general, we are not able to ensure your safety at all times.
It is therefore important for you to know what to do
in the event of an emergency or crisis.
What to do in an Emergency!
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency or crisis:
- Immediately phone 911
- Or go directly to the nearest emergency room or hospital
- You may also contact a crisis or suicide hotline or police (find numbers in advance)
- Contact the support person indicated on your anti-suicide contract
Examples of what constitutes a life threatening mental health emergency:
- contemplating suicide or homicide
- sexual or violent assault
- life-threatening hallucinations or psychotic behaviour
If the situation is a non-life-threatening emergency or crisis, submit an e-mail counselling request to Paraklesis or schedule a next appointment for counselling with Dr Mervin, or find another therapist/counsellor. Examples of what constitutes a non-live-threatening mental health emergency:
* diagnosis of a terminal illness
* learning of a traumatic death
* loss of a job
* break up with a significant other
* anxiety reactions
* non-life-threatening psychotic symptoms
Are you a Victim of Violence?
Violence can include threats, aggressive displays (such as punching a fist through a wall), and/or damage to objects or pets. It also includes name-calling and controlling whom you see, where you go, and/or what you do. It may escalate to restraining, pushing, slapping, and/or pinching. Violence includes punching, kicking, biting, forcing unwanted sex, assault, tripping, throwing. Violence may become life threatening with serious behaviours such as choking, breaking bones, or the use of weapons.
Immediate Danger – phone 911
If you believe that you are in danger right now, please immediate call the police (in most areas you can dial 911).
If you are being attacked, protect your abdomen by curling up and your head by placing your hands and arms over your head. Yell loudly and keep on yelling for as long as the attack continuous.
Violence in Relationships
If you have been the victim of violence in the past three months, or if you are currently in a violent relationship, immediately start planning. Put your safety plan into action to ensure that you are safe in the future.
Paraklesis Counselling wishes to support you with counselling, but e-mail online counselling alone is not a sufficient or suitable approach. Rather, immediately schedule a next appointment for counselling with Dr Mervin, or find another therapist/counsellor.
If you have been violent with your partner
It takes courage to admit to it, but it is the first step to finding help. You can change violent behaviour and counselling can help. Schedule an appointment for counselling with Dr Mervin, or find another therapist/counsellor and in the meantime ensure the safety of your spouse/partner – do whatever it takes to desist from becoming violent.
If you suspect or are aware of sexual abuse being perpetrated against a minor, you have a duty to inform the applicable authorities. If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, schedule an appointment for counselling with Dr Mervin, or find another therapist/counsellor for face-to-face counselling.
- Find a counsellor or friend that can assist you
- Prepare a ‘safety bag’ and keep it hidden in a secure place (e.g., friend’s house)
- This bag should contain:Emergency funds (cash for taxi, etc)
- Cell phone or Phone card
- Clothing for you and the children
- Important names and phone numbers of agencies, family, friends, etc.
- Important documents (photocopies of passports, visas, immigration papers, birth certificates, marriage license, bank books, and insurance papers)
- Keep on saving money for the next emergency and keep it in a safe place
- Keep a journal and document information that may be used in court later
- Preserve photo evidence, apology notes, threatening letters, etc. List hospitals and doctors who have treated you for injuries.
- Consult a lawyer or get legal aid; know your rights
- Find a counsellor, therapist, or social worker who will empower you and help you to discover your resilience.
- Become informed about local resources (organisations, churches, NGO’s etc. that provide support and safe accommodation)
- Teach the children to call 911 in an emergency. This is an important skill for their safety
- Alert your family, friends, and neighbours to call police if they hear screaming and fighting
~ Be Prepared ~
Paraklesis Counselling cannot be held responsible for helping you manage a crisis using online resources. Because of the delays associated with the use of e-mail, chat, etc., we do not function as a crisis centre. If you experience an emotional crisis (intense feelings of distress), emergency or life-threatening situation, or any other crisis during the course of your treatment with Paraklesis online counselling, you need to take appropriate action and find help—sending an e-mail counselling request will not be enough. Rather than turning to our online counselling service for help in and emergency or crisis, we advise that you follow the suggested actions in our emergency and safety plan. Although Paraklesis will still come alongside you - you must manage the emergency/crisis by using resources other than those offered by us online.