While we are well known for de-escalating crises, there is one superpower we keep at the core of what we do: Good Contact Techniques. The best part of good contact techniques is that they can be slipped into any kind of conversation where you’re trying to add a little extra empathy. Today, let’s focus on Strength IDs. At Crisis Text Line, our Crisis Counselors use Strength IDs are used to point out strong points a texter has, that they may not see in themselves.
Remember that for most of our texters, this is their first conversation with our service! Often our Crisis Counselors are the first people ever to tell them that it takes courage to reach out for help. One thing to keep in mind about Strength IDs is that just like when you tell your friend, she looks cute in that new shirt, and she insists it’s not that cute, sometimes a texter won’t be ready to hear about their own strength and continue to reject them as you use them. In cases like this, if a texter refuses several Strength IDs, it may be more useful to focus on validations to build them up.
Let’s run through a shortlist of possible Strength IDs, framed around the 5 most common issue types faced by our texters on the Platform (hint: also feel free to break them out the next time your talking to your friend).
Texter: I’m so depressed and have been for about 15 years. My mom died, and even being in therapy all this time, nothing has changed. I’m losing hope.
Crisis Counselor: You have great insight into your depression, and I can tell how committed you are to working through this.
Texter: I hate who I’ve become. I’ve been struggling with anorexia for years now, and I just want to starve myself more and more. I’m so ugly.
Crisis Counselor: You have true perseverance for dealing with anorexia for so long.
Texter: I’ve been struggling a lot lately. I think I might be gay, but I don’t know how to talk to anyone about it.
Crisis Counselor: I appreciate your bravery in reaching out today. It’s not always easy to talk about these things.
Texter: I had a miscarriage last week and can’t get over it. I don’t even know how to feel.
Crisis Counselor: It’s inspiring to see you reaching out for support after such a traumatic loss.
Texter: I feel so alone. No one will talk to me, and I have no one to reach out to.
Crisis Counselor: It took courage to reach out today, and I’m impressed at how eager you are to find support.
These are just a few of any number of ways to use a Strength ID to help texters or that friend in need of a little extra love to recognize some inner traits that it may be difficult to see through the haze of crisis. Ultimately, the solid core of Strength IDs contain words like “smart,” “proud,” and “brave.” Those are just the beginning, and any number of Strength IDs are possible. I hope this helps you to feel empowered to beef up your next conversation with some great Strength IDs! Or, want to put them to work on our platform and save lives? Apply to become a Crisis Counselor!