I’m in the Las Vegas airport waiting for a connection to Reno. Wanted to jot down a few notes regarding something that came up in the last Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training I conducted.


Postvention is probably one of the least understood and most underrated elements of an overall intervention policy. Therefore, I’d like to offer a few quick talking points about this essential piece of the overall intervention puzzle.


First off, the Postvention process does not occur after a crisis is over; it occurs at the end of a crisis situation. Tension Reduction is part of the Crisis Development Model℠ and is a crisis behavior just like any other crisis behavior in the model. Therapeutic Rapport is an intervention that is also part of the model. I know I am a stickler on this point, but it’s important that the Certified Instructor get it right while talking about when this process occurs.


Secondly, the above “wording” point aside, the process can take place at any time. You don’t have to wait until the next behavior episode to engage in this process. Use it now to prevent the next crisis. After all, Postvention is the best form of prevention. So you say that you have a student who typically engages in self-abusive behavior? Why wait for the next incident? Sit down now with the student/parents and any other interested parties and discuss now how to prevent the next episode. This leads to the next discussion point.


There are three pertinent questions that can and should be answered by the Postvention process. They are, in order: What happened? Why did it happen? And, most importantly: How can we prevent it from happening again? These questions apply to the person who has been acting out. Questions that can be posed for the staff side of the model are: What happened? (Staff’s perspective this time.) How did we respond? And, how can we improve our response for the next time? A better question may be: How can we as staff work to prevent this situation from happening again?


Certainly a debriefing process should include plenty of documentation. Tracking behavior patterns of both care receiver and staff responders is essential to getting a clearer picture of what’s going on. Patterns usually reveal Precipitating Factors and other triggers that can help identify the “why” behind human behavior. This is consistent with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports goals.


Reno is calling, so I have to cut this short. Here’s hoping that the Postvention process from this trip includes what I bet on, why I bet on it, and how I'm going to repeat my lucky streak again. Cha-ching!

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