Verbal De-Escalation Training Program & Awareness

A difficult and potentially dangerous situation for officers involves being called to a scene and engaging with a person who may be mentally ill. Most individuals with mental illness are not dangerous, but a special set of skills is required to bring a mutually successful end to the encounter.

Conflict is an inescapable part of life, but it can be amplified in some environments, such as the workplace, and can potentially become violent. The best way to handle these conflicts is to de-escalate before the violence begins verbally, says the conflict de-escalation training team.

Although an officer’s inclination may be to intervene immediately, that may not always be the best response. As long as the individual isn’t an immediate danger to self or others, there’s time to make a quick assessment.

Verbal de-escalation is the process by which a person in an agitated state can be “talked down” and spoken to in a manner that can defuse the situation. It can help the person toward a more reasonable state of mind and reduce the potential threat. Unfortunately, people tend to mimic the behavior they are confronted with, so de-escalation doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It requires verbal de-escalation training and practice.

Here are 4 important actions to practice during verbal de-escalation training and awareness program:

Be situationally aware

By being situationally aware, you can notice anomalies like voice volume, distance between people, and body language. If you see something that isn’t normal for your environment, you have the chance to report or de-escalate, potentially preventing violence in the workplace.

Actively listen without judgment.

Violent behavior is usually triggered by stress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues. You might not agree with the aggressor, but don’t minimize their struggles. Instead, show a little empathy and truly listen to their concerns without judgment. This can make them feel they are being heard and understood, which can calm them down. Make direct eye contact with them and nod your head to show you are listening. Ask questions when necessary to show that you’re engaged.

Be aware of your body language.

Even though you are verbally de-escalating, your nonverbal communication is just as important. Relax your body, stand as you normally would with your hands unclenched and visible. If you’re tense, the aggressor may notice and recognize that you don’t have full control over your emotions. Keep a healthy distance away from them, as being too close can increase their agitation.

Think clearly and calmly

Put all your focus into the situation at hand. It may be hard, but don’t let your mind race; that will interfere with your ability to evaluate the situation as it unfolds properly and to make smart decisions. A racing mind can also be detected through body language. If it appears that you aren’t truly giving all your attention to the aggressor, they may become more agitated.

Verbal de-escalation training can teach you and your staff how to respond to potentially dangerous interpersonal confrontations properly. You’ll learn situational awareness, how to respond to agitation with empathy, detailed de-escalation techniques, and the threat protocol response.






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