Ethical Considerations for Crisis Intervention

  • Kieran O’Hagan
Part of the Practical Social Work book series (PSWS)


The previous chapter represented a final stage, a logical culmination giving potent expression and practical demonstration of many of the lessons the author has learnt in more than a decade’s experience of crisis intervention in a social services department. But in no sense can it be regarded as a conclusion; on the contrary, it has perhaps raised more contentious questions than all the preceding chapters put together. A particular kind of morality has been emphasised. It necessitates brave decisions and actions under very difficult circumstances. But there is another kind of morality at issue here, a morality well established in the social work tradition. It is concerned with the social worker’s use of power, authority and control, the persuasive and manipulative features of family therapy techniques; the fundamental social work principles of respect for clients, acceptance of them and their right to self-determination. Can such principles and rights be upheld in the kind of intervention advocated? Should social workers exercise power, authority and control in crisis situations? Can manipulation of clients ever be justified?


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Copyright information

© British Association of Social Workers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kieran O’Hagan

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