Verbal Training

De-escalation Skills: verbal and non-verbal:

The verbal skills workshop is designed to help staff working with behaviorally challenged, emotionally disturbed, aggressive, violent and inappropriate behavior.  Our verbal training prepares staff to use the power of the relationship to de-escalate the tension level of someone in crisis and avoid physical intervention whenever possible.  The program integrates two models of thinking: 1) understanding the cycle of violence and the different points along the continuum where patients may be, so interventions can targeted and based on their needs; and 2) a self-awareness model, which identifies common triggers that staff need to be aware of so staff can monitor and control their reaction in order to provide better care and defuse rather than infuse the situation.

The Tension/Tension Reduction Cycle (T/TRC)

The T/TRC is a theoretical model used to illustrate the dynamics of escalating and de-escalating tension in individuals and groups.  It is based on an eastern philosophical perspective of balanced but opposing universal forces, i.e., tension/relaxation. The program teaches staff how recognize when tension levels are rising so that they can intervene early in the process and prevent the behavior from escalating thus promoting relaxation (a reduction of tension).

Staff will learn:

  • How tension contributes to inappropriate behavior in youth and staff;
  • How to identify responses and behaviors that indicate tension levels are rising and could lead to a crisis;
  • Understand how to use verbal and nonverbal techniques to de-escalate tension and manage behavior before it becomes a crisis or violent;
  • Team responses in a verbal crisis situation;
  • Specialized techniques for dealing with the mentally ill, mentally retarded, suicidal, intoxicated and emotionally disturbed consumers and children;
  • Levels of intervention from lowest to most intrusive.

The Solid Object Relationship Model (SORM)

SORM is based on the observation that a person in crisis will attach himself to a more solid object to regain stability. Clients who are out of control at some level know that they are out of control and need to feel that the person intervening has the capacity to bring them under control and protect them from their own impulses and behavior.  We call this person, a solid object.  HWC’s verbal program help staff become this solid object.

In teaching this model, we incorporate several self-awareness exercises where staff are asked to reflect on their own strengths and vulnerabilities.  We then insert these personal assessments into to the model to illustrate how staff can recognize when they are acting emotionally rather than professionally to a situation, and how to detach themselves from emotional responses like anger or fear and recalibrate their “affective” responses to behave more as a ‘solid object’.

Staff will learn:

  • How to develop and utilize their relationship skills with a youth to reduce tension;
  • Understand the importance of staff being “affect neutral”;
  • Understand the underlying dynamics of establishing a therapeutic relationship;
  • Understand the testing process and begin to identify our personal stressors (“buttons”);
  • Participants examine their own reactions in critical situations.