Psychology Space

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February 2, 2006

The Psychology of Desperation

Filed under: Clinical Psychology,North America,Personality Psychology — Admin @ 11:30 pm

Our newspapers and televisions are rife with stories of crisis, violence and crime, echoing common concerns across the nation. As first responders and primary caregivers we are often confronted with situations calling upon personal skills and coping abilities which may be taxed by an onslaught of competing demands. Navigating those incidents which challenge our abilities and training can produce stress related disorders likely to manifest in psychological and/or physical symptomology resulting in burnout.

A review of the literature suggests that there is limited understanding of the role which desperation plays in the precipitation or expansion of crisis situations. As casual observers we are all familiar with newsworthy events concerning incidents which became unmanageable and explosive when participants became desperate subsequently losing the ability to focus and/or make effective decisions. Once the line of desperation has been traversed it is likely that the crisis has been elevated in an exponential fashion. The resulting shifts in perceptions are likely to promote decisions which are largely ineffectual and may produce life-threatening situations for those involved.

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