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 online Training Program runs three times a year (typically beginning in May, September, and January) for eight weeks. Online training usually consists of one half-day Saturday (12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.) followed by eight weeks of live, online training on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Additionally, there are required asynchronous/recorded lectures to be viewed individually.
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 can 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 evaluated on their ability to receive feedback, consult effectively, and utilize direction competently.
We run a twenty-four hour, seven days a week, suicide and crisis 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. 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.
Immediately following successfully completing the Alachua County Crisis Center Phone Training, including observation and supervised shifts, the new volunteer will:
- Sign the Confidentiality Agreement
- Commit to 24 regularly scheduled volunteer phone counselor shifts (usually over a period of approximately six months)
- Attend any required in-service training
- Follow Code of Ethics adopted by the Alachua County Crisis Center
- Follow all Operating and Scheduling procedures