Coping with Crisis: A Counselor's Guide to the Restabilization Process

Jim Burtles
Loving Healing Press

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In the wake of a catastrophic event, the witness may discover or experience unsettling emotions which can trigger subsequent behaviors. These reactions can lead to a number of consequences, some of which are unproductive.

Restabilization is a practical means of addressing these reactions and the resultant issues. It is a four-step process of self-discovery guided, but not led, by a counselor; aimed at restoring someone's confidence and improving their capability to deal with life's problems. The person is encouraged, and enabled, to view the event as a learning experience with an opportunity to improve their performance in relation to unexpected problems.

The four stages of the process are described in detail, together with examples of model sessions and rules of engagement which serve to ensure the effectiveness of the process. There are also some Communication Exercises designed to ensure unemotional but sympathetic communication between the counselor and their client.

In addition, the Dark Serpent Dilemma and Technique offers a pragmatic way of approaching and solving the problems which life throws at all of us from time to time. Once the concept is understood it can be applied as a way of ensuring the optimum reaction to any significant event or situation.

About the Author

For several years, Jim Burtles was Principal Consultant with Safetynet PLC, where he taught business executives how to cope with, and plan for, minor emergencies, disasters and absolute catastrophes. Safetynet was a pioneering disaster recovery and business continuity company which specialized in dealing with business emergencies. Such events might range in scale from a faulty air-conditioning system to the aftermath of major earthquakes or terrorist attacks.

The original concept of Safetynet was centered on the complex computer-based operations of the modern business. However, experience soon taught Safetynet's founders that the whole of the business environment had to be taken into account. Therefore, personnel problems and many other aspects needed to be taken into consideration.

Jim acquired his expertise in disaster recovery and emergency management through direct exposure to dozens of real-life disasters, almost a hundred emergencies and countless problem situations. He also benefited from the indirect experience of many more, gained from talking to, and working with, victims of various crises.

In his current role, as a Director of Total Continuity Management, he is now working with senior executives of international corporations and government departments to help them develop complete emergency response plans and processes which include appropriate counseling and training programs to cope with emergency

Coping with Crisis is book #5 in the Explorations in Metapsychology Series from Loving Healing Press (


Coping with Crisis: A Counselor's Guide to the Restabilization Process, by Jim Burtles, is a useful guide to the process of self-discovery. It is delivered in an easy-to-understand format and would be useful for any counselor or therapist. The book explains the four-step process in which a counselor shows a person or group of people how to deal with a crisis situation. The crisis is best dealt with in the first 24-72 hours after the incident, with each counseling session being a maximum of one hour. There ae four stages to the process, with each stage being described very well in the book, along with examples being given.

The book also explains the Dark Serpent Dilemma and Technique, which is a way that a person can deal with an unexpected problem. Problems can be reduced to five basic strategies, which are explained in detail in the book.

The book also provides guidelines on how the counselor should interact with the person in crisis, by providing information on communication styles and advising the counselor to accept the client's worldview as true. Each counseling session is designed to provide a definite beginning and endpoint, which are very important to the  process.

Overall, I give the book three stars. It is easy to read and implement i crisis situations. The book also gives suggestions for further reading in situations where a person is in crisis beyond the 72-hour point.

Reviewed on 12/26/2011 by Member Christine Fenton

Coping With Crisis:  A Counselor's
   Guide to the Restabilization Process
(Book #5 in the Explorations In Metapsychology Series)
Author:  Jim Burtles
Publisher:  Loving Healing Press
ISBN:  978-1-932690-41-5

The author of this excellent psychology tool, Jim Burtles, has outstanding expertise, background and practical experience in disaster recovery and emergency management, both in the business and professional world; and in working with other experts in crisis recovery as well as trauma survivors. 

The rehabilitation and recovery methods covered in this book were originally created and developed in response to helping people handle and react to catastrophic events; they will prove invaluable to both professionals and laypersons working with survivors of any traumatic personal, local, national or international event or crisis.

The volume offers an extremely useful glossary of crisis/trauma/recovery and rehabilitation terminology helpful to readers of all experience levels; as well as very useful indexes and appendices.  

Burtles discusses the five common reactions to crisis, the techniques of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT).  REBT is an established documented and proven model to alleviate stress, depression, anxiety and the other resultant issues of trauma and catastrophy,  Valuable advice for couselors is covered; as well as an excellent discussion and overview of the "dark serpent theory" of survivor behavior.  This dilemma and the resultant treatment suggestions are covered in what I personally believe is the best and most thorough explanation I have seen.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this work to anyone interested in learning more about crisis management, coping and rehabilitation skills and techniques.  A very valuable learning tool and reference on an extremely timely and important subject.


Reviewed on 02/02/2010 by Member LAURI COATES

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