Question: I have a question about training side effects. Does training staff in deescalation and physical intervention, as apposed to deescalation only, increase restraints within an organization?
Answer: If I understand your question correctly; does training your organization in physical intervention increase the number of restraints post training? The question is related to the myth that if you give your staff a tool, they’ll look for every opportunity to use it. It’s a cynical view of human nature and, furthermore, assumes there’s is no supervision present to counter it.
My personal belief, based on training many thousands of agencies and schools over four decades is, trained or not, staff do not want to do physical interventions at all. There is almost always a reluctance to become physically engaged, even when safety dictates. The attitude and posture of agency executives and the restrictions imposed by Licensors also play a critical role.
What we typically see post physical intervention training is much better work at “Support” and “Limit Setting” interventions because staff develop the confidence in themselves and each other that they can enforce treatment expectations and behavioral consequences when needed. The number of restraints should go down, not up, post training. I’m attaching statistics achieved at a developmental center from thirty years ago to illustrate the point.
This is really a discussion about whether the personal empowerment of staff is good or bad. I argue, when you feel personally empowered, you have the luxury of being a nice person when you are dealing with someone in conflict.