Tips for Crisis Prevention

Be Empathic

Try not to be judgmental of your client's feelings.  They are real even if not based on reality and must be attended to.

Clarify Messages

Listen to what is really being said.  Ask reflective questions, and use both silence and restatements

Respect Personal Space

Stand at least 1 1/2-3 feet from the acting-out person.  Encroaching on personal space tends to arouse and escalate an individual.

Be Aware of Body Position

Standing eye-to-eye, toe-to-toe with the client sends a challenging message.  Standing on leg length away and at an angle off tot he side is less likely to escalate the individual.

Permit Verbal venting When Possible

Allow the individual to release as much energy as possible by venting verbally.  If this cannot be allowed, state directives and reasonable limits during lulls in the venting process.

Set and Enforce Reasonable Limits

If the individual becomes belligerent, defensive, or disruptive, state limits and directives clearly and concisely.

Avoid Overreacting

Remain calm, rational, and professional.  How you, the staff person, responds will directly affect the individual.

Use Physical Techniques as a Last Resort

ue the least restrictive method of intervention possible.  Employing physical techniques on an individual who is only acting out verbally can escalate the situation.

Ignore Challenge

When the client challenges your position, training, policy, etc., redirect the individual's attention to the issue at hand.  Answering these questions often fuels a power struggle.

Keep Your Nonverbal Cues Non-threatening

Be aware of your body language, movement, and tone of voice.  The more an individual loses control the less he listens to your actual words.  More attention is paid to your nonverbal cues.

The above material was provided and copyrighted 1995 by the National Crisis Prevention Institute

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