How do de-escalation techniques work?
De-escalation is a method of using your verbal and nonverbal actions to reduce a person’s agitation by communicating your understanding and acknowledgement of the issue which is causing their aggravated state. Using these techniques effectively can help to resolve emotionally charged situations before they get out of hand.
How can ARA help you to effectively apply de-escalation techniques?
ARA developed a formal, science-based, customized, de-escalation training program for a large Federal Government agency which successfully implemented the program at a national level for their frontline personnel handling disgruntled people in face-to-face settings. ARA can customize this same training to meet your organization’s specific needs.
What makes ARA’s training unique?
In developing this program, ARA Behavioral Psychologists used Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA; Crandall, et al., 2006) techniques to “get inside the heads” of frontline personnel to identify key factors that guide their decision-making processes and other critical elements of performance. While the basic tenets of the training are consistent from organization to organization, the details of the training should be customized to the specific organization. Some types of behavior observed by organizations are similar from one geographic location to another. However, some areas have cultural-based behaviors which are unique to their residents. ARA can customize the training to address the issues and attitudes observed by the organization. This customization is accomplished by working with a representative team of client personnel who, through a series of interviews, can provide background information which will allow ARA to make the training relevant to that specific organization. Having training exercises which personnel recognize as being “true to life” situations adds value to the training in the eyes of the trainee. Also, involving members of the organization in the development process allows them to “buy in” to the training. The support of this representative team in rolling out the training is vital to the overall success of the program.
Once the customized training is developed, ARA offers “Train-the-Trainer” sessions which allow members of the organization to become the trainers. These trained personnel can utilize the training material and the training techniques provided by ARA to deliver realistic training which other personnel will respect and recognize as valuable in their everyday work experiences. Training can also be developed into online learning modules. The learning objectives for each training module are as follows:
Part I: Interviewing to Avoid Escalation – by the end of this module, the trainee will be able to:
- Describe rapport building and active listening techniques
- Describe techniques for conveying understanding and empathy
- Define questioning techniques aimed at ascertaining a person’s true needs
- Select appropriate strategies for delivering bad news
- Work with the people to identify potential solutions to their problems
- Identify verbal techniques to end engagements in a positive manner
- Describe methods for reducing uncertainty at the end of engagements
Part II: Threat Detection – by the end of this module, the trainee will be able to:
- Identify key triggers that may anger people
- Describe behavioral indicators of anger and frustration
- Identify verbal, non-verbal, and contextual indicators of potential violence
- Distinguish between threatening vs. non-threatening situations
Part III: De-escalation Strategies – by the end of this module, the trainee will be able to:
- Describe what de-escalation is and why it is important
- Identify de-escalation strategies for controlling the situation and describe when to use them
- Recognize when de-escalation strategies are failing (e.g., know when to escalate protective procedures)
- Identify behavioral characteristics associated with situational and organic sources of anger or frustration
- Identify appropriate strategies for response based on the source of anger or frustration