The Crisis Continuum is a detailed plan to help identify impulses on a continuum of severity. Then, for each level of severity, you identify actions necessary to stay safe.
Ok, that’s a lot of words, so let me give you an example.
Imagine a time you went from 0 to 100. You escalated seemingly from a state of calm to a state of crisis. Think about the crisis and what you (or parts) were thinking, feeling, and experiencing in the body at the time.
To give you an idea, here is an example. I bolt upright in bed, awakened due to a nightmare. I’m alone in the dark. I’m feeling helpless because this is the 7th night in a row of nightmares. It seems like my work in therapy is just making nightmares worse. I’m trembling, my heart is beating fast, and I hear something fall off a shelf in the closet, really kicking my panic over the edge.
Here’s what my Crisis Continuum might look like for this scenario:
A complete Crisis Continuum will have “levels” of severity from 1 through 5. 1 = state of calm up to 5 = state of crisis. Generally, it’s easier for PTSD/DID folks to by filling out the continuum with level 5, since that’s the level we’re most familiar with. Then, go all the way back to 1 and fill out for the polar opposite, a state of calm.
Once you have the 2 extremes done, you can go back in and fill in the other levels. An empty Crisis Continuum might look like this…
It’s okay if you don’t know a whole lot of actions you can take to stay safe. This is probably the hardest tool to complete in the beginning of doing this work, but it’s the most important one to have in place. You will likely find yourself re-doing CC’s as you increase awareness about your system and learn new symptom management skills.