Took a class on de-escalation tonight!

Flea

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I'm really pumped about it too. Our class was tailored to mental-health services, but I think the techniques could apply pretty well across the board.

The main lesson was that there are no hard and fast rules, and it's best to rely on intuition. But much of the idea is open communication - the person needs to feel heard:

Repeat back what someone says in your own words. "It sounds like you're really angry right now because ___."

Open-ended questions are useful because they help with communication and are non-threatening (with the exception of "why.")

Use calm body language, give the person your undivided attention, and don't be afraid of silence as it gives the person the opportunity to think and breathe for a moment.

Don't argue with the person's perceptions, especially if they're delusional.

There are different types of "difficult" personalities. If they escalate, they tend to do so in particular ways. One can learn to watch for certain body language or mannerisms to help predict an oncoming problem.

If at all possible, try to have someone with you as you try to de-escalate a situation. These things are exhausting, and you may need to spot each other.

As such, it's important for us to mind our own well-being during and after a situation - breathe, stay calm and focused. Make sure you get to debrief after the fact.

And above all, safety safety safety!! For yourself, the person in crisis, and the entire group as a whole. Don't be afraid to invite the person up the street (IOW, out of the meeting) for coffee, end the meeting early, or even to call 911.

I'm so thrilled to have gotten this training. I orchestrated it for my support group because people occasionally do get disruptive. I plan to call a meeting in the next month or so for the Board to dream up every bad scenario we can so we can work out specific plans for each. I've been in this group for 6 years and we've only had 2 incidents, both nonviolent. But the better prepared we are, the better and stronger the group is as a whole.

It's a great life-skill to have in any case. The woman leading the training made the point that every situation is unique, and so of course what works in a mental health setting might not on the street. I'd love to hear some other perspectives on de-escalation from fellow MT'ers. What works for others and why?
 

seasoned

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I took a MOAB, "Management of Aggressive Behavior" course in PA, about 6 or 7 years ago. It was a (2) day instructor course, that covered the whole spectrum of personal interaction in many different settings. I learned much useful information, and was able to teach it at a number of facilities and DoJo in my area. I found it especially educational in a MA setting because, at the time, it was training that was not being used as a defensive tool. As you pointed out it covered, on day (1) - part (1), "Strategies for Preventing and Diffusing Aggressive Behavior" and continued into every aspect of person to person interaction. From your post it sounds like you enjoyed the training, as much as I did.
 

Carol

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I'd love to hear some other perspectives on de-escalation from fellow MT'ers. What works for others and why?

For me, what has worked was remembering that people are mirrors of each other. If someone is agitated, the more agitated I get with them, the more likely that they willl be even more agitated in return.

So I do my best to sound calm, relaxed and confident (esp. when dealing with angry clients....LOL) but not so laid back that I give someone the impression that I am not taking their concern seriously.
 

KenpoTex

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If you haven't already, read Verbal Judo...a lot of the stuff you mention in your post was probably based on stuff in this book.
 
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Flea

Flea

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I guess that depends on your goal. :wink1:
 

teekin

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Flea, I'm glad you enjoyed yourself at the seminar. I still use this stuff all the time without knowing I'm doing it, I'll just catch myself starting to manage someones behavior and have to stop. I have de-escalated sparing sessions at the gym too. ( OK, this was on purpose). Have fun with it.
lori
 

Deaf Smith

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Flea,

What you leaned may one day save you from a real fight or worse.

The DPS here in Texas, as part of the CHL class, has a whole section on non-violent conflict resolution. It's a very good part of the class.

I also suggest a gook. Verbial Judo. It's a good book.

Deaf
 

Nolerama

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Flea, I'm stoked that you got something out of that training session. De-escalation not only works on the street, but in everyday personal interaction.

I took a Crisis Intervention Course with a local nonprofit to deal with mentally ill people in STL, as well as a verbal judo primer with local PD. The training skimmed over the the core material, but it was effective enough for me to investigate further on my own time and realize that de-escalating techniques generally make me a more compassionate person...

I definitely feel more laid-back.
 

sgtmac_46

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If you haven't already, read Verbal Judo...a lot of the stuff you mention in your post was probably based on stuff in this book.
'I need you to turn around and put your hands behind your back because you are under arrest......Is there anything I can say or do to convince you to comply at this time.....i'd like to think there is.'

;)
 

sgtmac_46

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De-escalation skills work on most aggressive individuals because their aggression is defensive in nature, i.e. ego defense.

It is CRUCIAL, however, that one understands that critical difference between defensive aggressive behavior (i.e. ego defense) and PREDATORY behavior, lest one get hurt or killed under the false assumption that de-escalation skills have any effect on predatory aggression.
 
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Flea

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So, what is the difference and how can one tell them apart?
 

sgtmac_46

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So, what is the difference and how can one tell them apart?

Defensive aggression, which most aggression is, is rooted in defending something.......often times it's ego defense. Because the aggression is about defending something, often times it's easy to de-escalate by simply reducing the threat......i.e. eliminating the perception on the part of the individual that they are being attacked. That's what the kind of de-escalation training being discussed is all about.

Predatory aggression is a whole different type of aggression, and it is entirely other directed, not self-directed. The Predator wishes to take something that you have......your money, commit a sexual assault, your life.

The violence is a tool toward achieving an end......as such de-escalation strategies serve the purpose of facilitating that violence, rather than de-escalating it. The Predator does not want you to resist, he wants you to cooperate, he wants you docile and non-threatening to facilitate his goals and actions........the problem being that those goals and actions very likely aren't in your best interest.



As to telling the difference........context helps. A man angry after a traffic accident, where the source of his agitation is readily apparent, is exhibiting signs of defensive aggression. A man who walks up to you in the middle of the night, and without provocation grabs you by the collar and slams you in to a wall..........that's PREDATORY aggression.

Another sign is that defensive aggression escalates and de-escalates along an apparent staircase........you can actually see them become more agitated, or become less agitated in steps. Predators, on the other hand, attempt to conceal their aggressive behavior until it's too late.......undetected movement for total surprise on the enemy.

Ted Bundy often got his female victims to help him under the guise that he had a broken arm. That, coupled with his natural charm, would put his victims off guard, and he would convince them to assist him with carrying something to a more secluded location, where he would use the case as a bludgeon to render them unconscious.
 
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Flea

Flea

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Profound stuff. I'll carry that with me.

:asian:
 
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