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How to Answer "What If?" Questions and Ease Staff Anxiety

By Dan Lonigro | Posted on 04.15.2009 | 0 comments
How to Answer

I was conducting a training recently where one of the participants stayed behind to ask some questions about how the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program relates to her population and the schools she works in.

This young lady was already certified as an Instructor and was attending the course for three days of renewal training. She cares for many children on the autism spectrum.

As she’s a Certified Instructor, faculty, administrators, and others in her school look upon her as their expert in crisis intervention. This is a heavy burden to bear and not uncommon once you’re certified. After all, you’re now supposed to have all the answers. Right?

 

No one person and no one organization can have all the answers. Besides, an Instructor’s role is not to have an answer for all the questions, but to help guide their colleagues to find the answers by applying the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® program.

The questions are usually along the lines of…….

 

What do I do when…….?
What do I do when a patient spits on me?

How do I handle……….?
How do I handle foul language from a resident?

What if…………………?
What if the client completely shuts down?

 

And so on and so forth.

 

We recommend that instead of answering these questions, you use your facilitation skills to help develop critical thinking skills within your staff so that they can help answer their own questions.

There are various ways to go about this.

 

One method is to help your staff see that success can be duplicated.

For example, “How do we remove the audience in a large cafeteria or auditorium?”

I would manage the question by asking another: “What have you done successfully in the past to remove the audience in the classroom or a smaller environment?” Usually the methods successfully used in one environment can be duplicated in another with just a little bit of tweaking and tailoring.

 

Another method is to role-play the question.

For example, “What if one of our residents steals food from others? What do we do to handle that?”

As an Instructor, I would develop a role-play with staff members to reenact the situation and see how the staff performs. After the role-play, I would help staff identify techniques that worked and, just as importantly, look for areas of improvement.

 

Yet another way to go about it is to look at risks and benefits.

For example, “What if I’m not sure if a client is a danger to self or others, but we restrain them anyway?”

In my role as an Instructor, I would question my coworkers on the risks and benefits of engaging in such an act. I would help them list the risks and benefits and then assist them in deciding the best course of action. My goal would be to help them identify all other options other than using a restraint.

 

What you can do:

The bottom line is that you will not have all the answers. You will not be able to tell everyone what they should do in every situation. You cannot be “the end all, be all.” What you can do as an Instructor is help them find the answers for themselves. By doing that, you are fulfilling your role as a Certified Instructor of the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program. This is a worthy goal.

 
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