You deal with complex issues every day, and we want you to have every strategy, skill, and resource to manage the situations you encounter—and better yet, to prevent crisis situations from occurring at all.
To help you do that, CPI has set the standard in prevention and de-escalation training for over 35 years. And last summer, we unveiled a variety of program enhancements
to help you focus on prevention more than ever.
I’m excited to share with you what CPI Certified Instructors are saying about the training enhancements.
But first, here are three (of many!) things the enhancements do:
1. They help staff assess risk behavior better.
The enhanced Nonviolent Crisis Intervention®
program features a new tool called the Decision-Making Matrix. As Sara Frost and Beverly Moore note below, the matrix gives staff an extra tool for weighing the risk of a behavior and the risk of an intervention.
You can read more about it here
, but in a nutshell the matrix helps staff keep the focus on prevention and use the least restrictive intervention possible in every situation.
For example, say a student, patient, or client is pounding on a table. Should you physically intervene?
Teaching the matrix to staff helps them consider how risky someone pounding on a table is—and how risky it is to physically try to get that person to stop.
The matrix helps staff quickly consider a range of factors to make the best decision given the details of the circumstance. So when your staff are practicing in training and when they’re making a risk assessment in the heat of the moment, they have a powerful tool to weigh factors such as:
- The level of risk of the behavior
- The level of risk of the intervention
- What response is reasonable and proportionate to the behavior
- Accreditation and regulation standards
- Human rights
- Your organization’s policies and procedures
With the matrix and these and many more factors, staff have a tool to apply the principles of training to each situation they encounter.
So should you physically intervene when someone’s pounding on a table?
Every situation comes with unique and dynamic factors. But usually when a person is not
a danger to self or others, the best move is not
to physically intervene.
Instead, try these Ten Tips for Crisis Prevention
2. The enhancements help you make your trainings more relevant to more staff.
Not everyone deals with people pounding on things. Some staff contend with nonphysical behavior, such as passive-aggressiveness. Others might deal with nonphysical behavior like a student verbally disrupting their classroom.
Conversely, some staff who work in prisons, for example, or psychiatric facilities, deal with people who are incredibly violent. In these cases, the people who are violent have often gone through horrific traumas
, and staff deal with the behavioral results of those traumas.
No matter what kind of behaviors you face in your workplace, whether mild or extreme, the training enhancements give you more tools than ever before to tailor your trainings to the needs of your staff. So that they have better skills to settle situations calmly—without anyone getting hurt, physically or emotionally.
For example, say someone grabs a staff member by the shirt. How does that staff member get away without getting hurt, and without hurting the person who’s grabbing their shirt?
The enhancements include more of what we used to call Personal Safety Techniques
℠. These strategies are now called disengagement skills, and there are now more variations—to help staff disengage
easily, without getting hurt or causing harm.
As Jeffery Schmalz notes below, staff who’ve been trained in these new techniques feel like they have more options to reduce physical engagement—and therefore to reduce the risks of physical engagement
There’s also discussion about a concept called Haptics. With Haptics you dive deeper into how touch can send different messages in different situations. The Haptics activity helps staff better understand how someone in one situation might react differently to touch than someone in crisis. Like Proxemics and Kinesics, Haptics helps staff adjust their own nonverbal communication to prevent escalation or to defuse a crisis. It’s also a good bridge to conversations about your organization’s policy on supportive touch.
These are just a few examples of how you can make your trainings more relevant to the unique situations your staff encounter every day. Among many more helpful tools, there’s also the RESPONSE Continuum
℠, which helps staff consider how they can best help someone calm down when their behavior presents a risk.
3. The enhancements help you reduce the use of restraint more than ever.
Care. Welfare. Safety. Security.
These are the four keywords that Certified Instructors repeat again and again in their organizations.
Providing Care, Welfare, Safety, and Security
℠ is always the goal—providing it for the person in crisis, for staff, and for everyone.
Here’s a fifth keyword:
The goal of CPI training is always preventing situations from getting out of control. And preventing dangerous behavior from even happening at all. Preventing harm for everyone.
As you know, there are enormous risks
associated with restraint use. And I’m betting that one of the reasons you use CPI, or why you’re looking into using CPI, is that you want to prevent injuries.
Because verbal de-escalation, Paraverbal Communication, recognizing the signs of crisis, responding with empathy, safely disengaging from strikes and grabs—all the things taught in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention®
training—are here to help you prevent people from getting hurt. (By the way, check out this case study: 100% restraint reduction
And as Sara Frost notes below, the enhancements help you do this even better. Even more.
The Decision-Making Matrix and the RESPONSE Continuum
℠ are two of many tools that help a lot. When staff weigh risks better, they often find that restraint is not needed at all.
And what if you do find yourself in a situation where you have to use physical intervention as a very last resort? Two additional tools are here to help you physically intervene safely—and end the intervention as quickly and safely as possible:
- The Opt-Out Sequence℠ helps staff reduce the duration and restrictiveness of physical engagement.
- The Physical Skills Evaluation Framework helps staff consider the safety, effectiveness, acceptability, and transferability of any physical intervention.
But is this all harder to teach?
Certified Instructors don’t think so. The enhanced content includes learning activities and facilitation dynamics that we’ve designed to help you meet your learners’ needs and expectations even better. In fact, Jessica Pitsillides of Hartwell Learning Center says:
“I was thirsty for more information to bring back to my district. I felt a renewed sense of energy and excitement as an Instructor and a leader.”
What else are Instructors saying?
We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from new and experienced Certified Instructors. What they have to say confirms what we expected: They’re rockin’ these enhancements!
Sara Frost, a Quality Assurance Coordinator for The Guild for Human Service, says:
“The enhanced techniques for responding to risk behavior have helped with our restraint reduction efforts.”
Jeffery Schmalz, a Senior Trainer for Southcoast Behavioral Health, says:
“The staff appreciate the new disengagement techniques for the shirt pull and the hug from behind. They are intrigued with the seated holds, but have not had much opportunity to attempt them yet. The staff also see the beneﬁt to some of the technique changes when implementing the Control Position. Crouching lower to the ground makes more sense and makes the position more effective.”
Beverly Moore, a CPI Certiﬁed Instructor for Carney Hospital, says:
“After completing the new enhanced CPI course, I taught the refresher and included the Decision-Making Matrix and the new physical interventions. It was so well received. The participants felt it offered more options with the levels of intervention and the risk assessment. It was fun and easier to teach. Thank you CPI for continuing to improve.”
So how do YOU get it?
If you haven't had CPI training before but you plan to soon, these enhancements will be part of what you learn from the start. If you have had CPI training but you have not experienced the enhancements yet, you will like the additional skills and flexibility for sure.
Here’s where to start:
If you’re not an Instructor...
and you’re looking to teach compassionate, person-centered de-escalation skills to your coworkers, register for a program near you. Or give us a call at 888.426.2184!
If you are an Instructor, but you haven’t experienced the enhancements yet…
and you're ready to upgrade your certification and reset your renewal cycle, register for a program near you. Or give us a call at 888.426.2184.
If you are an Instructor and you’ve already upgraded…
congrats on working the enhancements into your trainings! Let us know how it's going for you. Email me or log into your Instructor Community and tell us—and your fellow Instructors!—what you think.