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May 1968

The Probability of Crisis and Strategies for Preventive Intervention

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Community Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(5):553-558. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740050041007

IN RECENT YEARS the concept of crisis has provided one of the prime rationales for initiating and maintaining programs of preventive intervention. Crisis has had popular appeal because of the common nature of the experience and it has been of considerable value in spawning many novel, pioneering services. With interest continuing to be expressed by community mental health centers in the use of crisis as a basis for experimental services, it is of value to examine the parameters of this concept and to clarify its implications for preventive intervention. After briefly reviewing the varying characteristics previously ascribed to crisis, we will suggest a new "probability" approach to this concept. The intervention strategies which possibly can be developed within such a formulation will then be considered.

The Characteristics of Crisis  In surveying the literature in this field, one cannot help but be struck by the

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