“The time to figure it out isn’t when it’s happening.”
In the context of CPI training, the concept of the Integrated Experience
attitudes and behaviors affect your
attitudes and behaviors and vice versa—is usually framed in a dynamic where a nurse, teacher, cop, or other human service professional needs to recognize the escalation level of an individual in crisis and model support through empathy, rational detachment, and response as indicated by the Crisis Development Model
The advent of response-protocol acronyms like ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) indicates that coping with the continued risk of gun violence is itself dependent on understanding crisis behavior and knowing the best ways to keep yourself and others safe.
In more direct terms, if someone is aiming to shoot you, getting out of harm’s way is about as integrated an experience as one might ever have.
Our guest on this episode of Unrestrained
, violence prevention expert Kyle Weygandt, speaks to many procedures that ensure the most effective response to such incidents:
- Recognizing that it can happen to you.
- Developing and drilling on emergency procedures.
- Building relationships with early responders.
- Implementing policies that create awareness and help to identify potential perpetrators.
- Realizing these strategies can all be framed in the context of the Integrated Experience.
He also illustrates how an Integrated Experience may obscure the judgment of both parties in a scenario involving risk behavior, which makes the strategies listed above even more vital to ensuring safety.
Who’s influencing who?
Back in 1995, Kyle—currently the Director of Member Safety for American Municipal Power, Inc., and a police captain with the Magnolia, Ohio Police Department—was charged with selecting and implementing de-escalation training for a juvenile detention facility. According to Kyle, “It didn’t take me too long to do the research, and what I found is the most highly recommended was CPI.”
From there, Kyle became a law enforcement officer and gained more training experience to intercept and manage volatile physical episodes.
In 1999, Kyle founded the D.A.R.T.
(De-Escalation and Response Training) program, with a goal “to educate participants on the importance of having a safety plan to violence.” Through “psychodynamic exercises and hands-on experience,” participants learn how to identify risk factors, de-escalate through verbal interception techniques, and deal with active killer incidents in the work environment—Kyle was quick to advise that the term “active shooter incident” is sometimes a misnomer; a lethal assault can be inflicted with weapons other than firearms.
Throughout all his training experience, CPI’s concept of the Integrated Experience—the way behavior impacts behavior—has been Kyle’s biggest takeaway. “When people have problems, they have symptoms, says Kyle. “And we as the professionals, being therapeutic, we can’t take on their symptoms when they act out. But observers often notice that the client is affecting the staff member to the point that they ask themselves, ‘Who is influencing who?’”
When therapeutic intervention will—and won’t—work.
Kyle points out that there is always a duality at work in de-escalating challenging behavior as it progresses through the stages of crisis development. One can’t effectively de-escalate challenging behavior if they become caught up in the crisis playing out in front of them, and individuals in crisis won’t be receptive to therapeutic rapport until their physiological arousal has returned to a baseline level—a person can’t be triggered and relaxed at the same time.
But if the professional can maintain rational detachment, Postvention can then sustain the Integrated Experience through to therapeutic rapport—a two-sided benefit that, through repetition, can not only positively alter an ongoing dynamic between professional and client, but also alter the neural physiology of the brain
Keep Those Good Vibrations Happening
In addition to his substantial accomplishments as a safety professional, trainer, and police officer, Kyle also holds a master’s degree in psychology, and he concludes our interview by remarking on influential psychologists that have informed his humanistic viewpoint. He quotes Dr. Wayne Dyer
, who famously said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Kyle expands on the thought: “It's how we see things. Your thoughts carry tremendous vibrations, and they're very powerful.
“If we see things as horrible or a bad situation, that's what they become. But if I look at this as positive, it gives me the opportunity to work on something. And because I'm building skills to be able to do that, I change the outcome myself.”
To learn how verbal de-escalation training resulted in fewer injuries, reduced litigation, and less paperwork for officers in a Minnesota sheriff’s office, listen to Episode 66 of Unrestrained, a CPI podcast series.
Kyle Weygandt is the Director of Member Safety for American Municipal Power, a part-time police captain in the Magnolia, Ohio police department, and an adjunct instructor in law enforcement at Ohio State University and Stark State College. Kyle is a professional safety and human relations educator, and for nearly 25 years he has taught a course called Just the F.A.C.T.S., an acronym for Facilitating A Commitment to Safety. He also designed and teaches a program known as D.A.R.T, or De-Escalation and Response Training, which trains participants how to deal with an active shooter/killer in their work environment. Kyle was certified in CPI's Nonviolent Crisis Intervention®
training in 1995. He holds a master's degree in psychology from California Coast University. Kyle welcomes inquiries through his D.A.R.T website, linked above.