Complete Crisis Center Training
The Crisis Center is founded on the premise, demonstrated through research, that well trained volunteers are as effective as professionals.
Candidates are required to attend and graduate from our Training Program. The Training Program runs three times a year (typically beginning in May, September, and January) for six weeks. Training usually consists of one full Saturday (8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) followed by six weeks of Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Please view our Summer 2019 Training Schedule.pdf for more information.
Purpose: The training program is designed to provide each person with adequate skills to perform effectively on the phone. Sessions are arranged in logical progression, in a manner consistent with the goals of the course. Two four-hour observation shifts are also required. Here, trainees have the opportunity to experience the realities of telephone counseling. It is a time for learning about community resources, of actual phone-room activities, and for observation and listening. Additionally, three supervised shifts follow graduation, which allow trainees to perform the duties of the Phone Counselor with the support and coaching of experienced Volunteers.
Participation: This training is not academic. It is an experience based environment where the trainees practice and refine new skills. Role plays are used extensively to present crisis scenarios for trainees to develop their skills. It demands investment, risk taking, and openness to feedback. It is very rigorous. It is very rewarding.
Evaluation: The class is a time to determine whether the trainee’s needs and skills are compatible with the Center's needs and skill requirements. Trainees are evaluated on the acquisition of the skills being taught. Trainees are also evaluated on their ability to adopt the proper mind set and display the emotional readiness for this work.
We run a twenty-four hour, seven days a week, suicide emergency hotline. Therefore the training process will mirror our realities:
Attendance: Missing shifts is detrimental to our emergency response role and thus is not acceptable. The training class is the same. There is a lot of vital information and practice time built into a very short training class. Therefore missing more than one class is rarely permitted. Failing to notify us if there is a schedule conflict is not permitted.
Promptness: If you are late for a shift your duties are still on the shoulders of the phone counselor from the shift before yours. Being late for shifts is unacceptable. Being late for training is unacceptable.