“Everybody was so worried about making mistakes that they weren’t growing.”
These are the questions that Stan Granger poses when he’s facilitating Nonviolent Crisis Intervention
® training for his staff at the Ingham County Youth Center, a short-term residential facility that supports a revolving population of young people at a particularly fraught chapter of their life.
There’s rarely time to deeply investigate the roots of challenging and disruptive behavior—that’s why knowing how to respond to it constructively is so critical. And why establishing the training process as a safe space to make behavior management mistakes is so important for staff. Granger is candid about the fact that the time spent in training is what saves time—and prevents trauma—in real life interventions.
“Ego is a killer in this process,” says Granger, who relies on an inclusive and supportive dynamic to help staff constructively manage behavior, navigate tough conversations, and proactively mitigate Precipitating Factors
. He makes sure the training process is a safe space for making and troubleshooting common intervention mishaps, so that they’re less likely to happen in real life.
He makes sure to frame the dynamic between staff and residents as an Integrated Experience
: the idea that your behavior can impact somebody else’s—and that your behavior is the only thing that you can truly control in a crisis.
“Is it really deviant behavior, or is it a trauma response?”
Just this month, the Journal of the American Medical Association posited
that untreated childhood trauma has all the trappings of a public health crisis. Challenging long-held assumptions
about adverse childhood experiences, the authors stated, “It is a myth to believe that childhood trauma is a rare experience that only affects few.”
But they also pointed out that proactive and strategic responses
to childhood trauma when it’s recognized can ameliorate the odds of long-term, adverse effects. Ingham County Youth Center is bringing this philosophy into their daily interactions with young adults.
Granger knows that interpreting behavior as a form of communication has empowered his staff to investigate what they don’t understand instead of making assumptions about it. The result is an ability to rapidly adapt their approach to traumatized kids from a punitive to a proactive one—and he’s able to demonstrate how this approach is not only safer, but more successful.
“We made a promise—let’s make sure we follow up with that.”
What’s possible with training? Empowerment. Caring. Safety. Security. And for the staff and residents of Ingham County Youth Center, a chance to move in a better direction. Listeners will get an in-depth look at Granger’s approach, including:
- How to get your staff to see past fear and anxiety to embrace confidence and skill.
- How to build safe and supportive training environments that ladder up to a sustainable culture of caring in your organization.
- How a trauma-informed approach to challenging and aggressive behavior can reduce the need for risky interventions like restraint, and help young people build better resilience and self-regulation.
- How to make the case for org-wide training, and how to get buy-in from resistant participants.
- How to generate long-term reductions in risk by maintaining a consistent, collaborative approach.
In an environment that’s marked by crisis and conflict, Stan Granger and his staff are making a lasting impression with an approach rooted in caring and collaboration. What’s most exciting about their success is that everything they’re doing, you can do too—this interview will show you how.
If you found this conversation helpful, you’ll want to check out our 2016 interview with Jeff Holland
, who also works in a youth correctional facility. He shares Stan Granger’s finding that culture change is possible and sustainable with an inclusive and constructive approach to crisis intervention and behavior management that minimizes risk and maximizes caring and safety.
And don’t forget to subscribe to Unrestrained
, a CPI podcast, wherever you get your podcasts. We’re having more great conversations than ever—you can’t afford to miss an episode.
Stan Granger works for the 30th
Circuit Court-Family Division of Ingham County Michigan, and since 2006 he has been a supervisor at the Ingham County Youth Center
, a 24-bed, secure short-term detention facility. Mr. Granger and his coworkers incorporate cognitive behavior therapy and trauma response tools and procedures to aid at-risk youth; many have significant trauma and human trafficking backgrounds. According to Mr. Granger, CPI training and techniques have been instrumental in transitioning to these new practices and procedures within Ingham County.
Mr. Granger is also a USA Wrestling Silver Level Certified Coach with an extensive history and reputation of inspiring his athletes to perform at a high level; they have excelled at both the national and world level. Mr. Granger attributes part of his success to including behavior management processes as a key ingredient in his coaching techniques.
Complete Episode Transcript:
Terry: Hello and welcome to Unrestrained, a CPI podcast series. This is your host, Terry Vittone, and today I’m joined by Stan Granger. He is a youth center supervisor at the Ingham County Youth Center in Lansing, Michigan. Hello and welcome, Stan.
Stan: Good morning. How are you?
Terry: Good morning. I’m doing great; thank you. Let me tell you a little bit about our guest. Stan Granger has been working for the Ingham County Circuit Court Family Division for over two decades. He was a juvenile court officer from 1998 until March 2006 and from mid2006 to the present, he has been the youth center supervisor for the Ingham County Youth Center, a secure youth correction facility. He holds a BA in sociology with a concentration on criminal justice from Central Michigan University. Stan is a CPI Master Level Certified Instructor and much of our interview today will concern how CPI training and techniques have helped to achieve lasting and positive culture change at the facility.
All right. Stan, let’s begin today by having you talk about the facility and the population you serve, if you would describe the Ingham County Youth Center for our listeners.
Stan: Well, we’re a 24‐bed secure facility. We’re a short‐term detention center which is a little different than a long‐term treatment. But, you know, our doors are constantly revolving. You know, our average length of stay is 14 days. We get everybody from the minor probation violations to murder cases to traffic cases. Our population is very diverse. Every day it changes. I could have seven leave tomorrow, six come in this afternoon. We never know what we’ll run into day to day. So it’s an ever‐revolving facility.
Terry: And what’s the age range of the boys and girls that you get there?
Stan: Age range is technically anybody under the age of 17. You know, we do get an occasional younger individual, a 10, but those are some very extreme cases and usually, the community wraps enough services around that they do their best to kinda divert them from a detention facility.
Terry: I see. All right. And so you started there in 2006, and I’m wondering, was CPI training in place then? I know you had your first training, I believe, in 1995.
Stan: Yeah, you know, CPI was in its place prior to me being involved. Unfortunately, you know—and we speak about prior to like my experience coming here, it was like we have a formal training process but this is kinda how we really handle things. And so it really bothered me. So that was one of my items that we went after when I started.
Terry: I see. And I read here that you—that the youth center incorporates cognitive behavior therapy programing and practices for at‐risk youth. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Stan: Yeah. CBT is a behavioral response program as opposed to—we do a lot of encouragement in regards to allowing kids to make their decisions and by holding them accountable in regard to how they do it. It’s not a punitive‐based system. It is working with the social skills, working with outcomes, getting kids to understand that yes, every decision we make has a good and negative response.
And so we spend a lot of time talking about restorative justice, working on connecting the kids with the victims if there’s something within the facility that happens. Obviously, this is the bigger stuff. But understanding that, you know, their thoughts and irrational beliefs and their feelings and experiences have molded them the certain way and so we have to spend time kinda reprograming those thoughts.
We have hot thoughts where kids get really angry really fast and they have these impulsive, really unfortunately bad thoughts, and we have to talk about how [they can] work through changing that to cold thoughts and getting them calm and helping them make rational decisions and actions. Tying that all together, you know, we work with selftalk, we go through, you know, cam review, what they see and what really is happening or what we see. We spend a lot of time with those things. So, yeah, it’s quite—it’s out of the Chicago DuPage County area. They’ve done some extensive research in different things. So it’s really been—in my opinion it ties into CPI extremely well, because it’s about thinking, hearing, listening, and making future modifications. So we tied it altogether really well; it’s been helpful.
Terry: Excellent. Now you kind of got my attention when you said you came in in 2006 and CPI’s in place. Maybe it’s in place as a—you know, the training, as people have been trained, but they’re maybe not using the techniques and the behavioral models or they’re not trusting them or involving them in their actual interventions. Would you say that’s accurate?
Stan: Yeah. It was, “Here. This is our process but, you know, it’s kinda like, you know . . . ” I always equate it to kids being at a football team or something where it’s like, “Hey, we got a new coach. He’s showing us something. But game time, we’re gonna do our old stuff.”
Stan: You know? So, you know, it bothered me because I’m like, “This is our culture. This is what we’re expecting people to do.” And it was kinda like, “Well, we’re gonna go to the training.” And I just felt like it was a—in my opinion, staff were doing good things and a lot of it they were doing, [but] they just didn’t understand the connection.
And then, you know, there were some things early on when I started as an Instructor that scared us a little bit: that CPI was being taught with just the basic simple interventions, and the problem was we’re a detention center. We have to manage people, you know. These kids come and attack staff. They go after other peers and we don’t, you know—there was a big discussion early on in my career about, you know, “Well, we’ll have to take them to the floor.” “We’re not taking them to the floor.” “Well, look, they ended up on the floor.” Like, “No, we didn’t take them to the floor. The kids resisted and we ended up on the floor.”
So we had some really hot debates on how to manage force issues, which happened to be ironically the same time that CPI had opened the doors with the applied stuff. Marvin Sharpe, I had a chance to get into—one of my first trainings as an applied system and Marvin just opened up my eyes and kinda saved us from keeping—because we were—I was really fearful. We didn’t have a management system when we had to manage people and it was real shaky for a while.
Terry: So you had that and the advanced physical skills in 2012, I believe. Is that correct?
Stan: Yes. I believe that’s—yeah. I’m getting old so . . .
Terry: Yeah. You and me. I’m going right along with you on that. So now, Stan, so you come in and so how do you start to—so let’s go back to that team idea where, well, okay, it all sounds great on the sidelines, but when you actually hit the field, you actually go back to an older paradigm of behavior management. How do you start to really get CPI training and the behavior models for people to trust that and turn to that as a system to manage behavior?
Stan: Well, I mean, I know one of the things that I dealt with coming in is—we, you know, we’re quote unquote, you know, some people refer to us as a “correctional facility.” I really have stayed away from the negative mindset of problems, problems, problems. Stop them from doing this, stop them from that. So I really—and my staff, I encourage them to support each other as opposed to finding flaws with each other. That was step one because everybody was so worried about making mistakes that they weren’t growing. They weren’t doing anything. They weren’t stepping forward.
So I really highlighted my staff, when they were doing things, “Yeah. You did a great job with this.” “Well, I didn’t do it perfect.” “Well, this is part of growth. You know, can we do it better next time?” And that’s where the COPING Model℠ came in, too. It’s like you did a good job here. You know, we need to improve on this spot. Instead of me writing everybody up and making it scary to be involved in the process, I really encourage people to partake in the process. I mean, “We don’t wanna go through any physical restraint, but are you using the de‐escalation? Do you recognize the anxiety? Do you use the kite model? [CPI’s Verbal Escalation Continuum℠] Do you see where this is all playing out to?” And so once I made more of a teaching effort, then it became like, “Okay. Well, I can ask this guy some questions and I’m not gonna get in trouble,” or those kinda things.
So once that kinda started, it was a hard sell, but once people started buying in and the people who were, like, probably my worst sceptics, you know, they put their foot out there and tried it and I remember one of them in the middle of the training. Everybody’s like, “Well, yeah, but, yeah, but.” And my worst sceptic stepped up. He goes, “Look. Clearly, if we were doing something really wrong, we’d all been written up a long time ago. We gotta start buying in [to the training].” So that was one of my highlights of getting culture change for my staff, and that was huge.
Terry: So you start to see people trust the behavioral models and the de‐escalation techniques. And are you—in our pre‐interview, you said that a lot of the kids that arrive there are in the Anxiety stage. And so they’re coming in at a heightened state of—they’re ready, they’re closer to acting out than somebody just that you would meet on the street, let’s say.
Stan: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Terry: So does staff start to—so you start to feel this behavioral model take root in your staff then?
Stan: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, as we start talking about it—and, you know, number one, we’re a detention center. Nobody wants to go to jail.
Terry: Right. Sure.
Stan: I mean, so, you know, especially with teenage kids who struggle with understanding how the world operates and how society and expectations, you know—these kids are coming off the streets and so they either had—you know, they’re taken from their home, they’ve been taken from their game plan for the evening, they’re involved in some—you know, sometimes it’s a negative culture that they’re involved with in the community, so then they’ve been pulled from that and they know when they get out, they’re gonna get—have to face that dilemma.
So our—nobody comes to our facility wanting to be here. And so we spend—you know, our first part of our intake process is not getting into a power struggle with these kids. It’s just really be supportive and, you know, knock on wood, our staff are phenomenal, going, “Hey, look, so and so’s coming in. So let’s—” You know, we always know they come in hot and let’s help them out, let’s get things kinda cultured. Let’s—we know this person’s gonna take 10 minutes to cool down a little bit or hey, this staff member has a great relationship and this kid walks in and says, “Hey, I just wanna talk with this person.” Then you know what? We accommodate. That’s part of our CPI process, you know, removing the targets and trying to incorporate what’s gonna work best for the individual who’s close to acting out and keeping the acting out, the at‐risk behavior, as minimal as possible.
Terry: Have you seen a commensurate downturn in the—have you’ve seen restraint reduction, I guess, is what I’m asking.
Stan: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s not even a—I mean, for us for being a 24‐bed detention facility dealing with what we deal with, I mean, we—I don’t know where our current numbers are, but we did a census about a year ago and we were averaging anywhere from 14 to 20 physical restraints a year. And that’s—industry‐wide for detention, it’s very low. I mean, it’s not uncommon in our industry for facilities to have two or three restraints a day. And so our goal is never to have a restraint and people ask, “Well, but you have to manage,” and I ask the people in my—my big thing with my staff is “I want you going home at the end of the day.”
Stan: We don’t hire people to be knuckle draggers or the enforcer. We hire you to build relationships. We have a very diverse population of staff for a lot of reasons, and we wanna connect with every kid we can. We have cultural differences with staff, we have size differences, we have, you know, all the different spectrums of things you can run into in staff. People don’t work with our population because they’re out to prove a point. They’re out to support kids.
Stan: So they come with open hearts and they’re not coming with a whole lot of, you know, physical restraint backgrounds and all this, you know, physical management stuff. They come with great knowledge and social work knowledge and, you know, some CJ [criminal justice] knowledge and—so, you know, we have a diverse group. So we have to get everybody on the same page.
Terry: So I know that you—the training is mandatory there. I understand that you’ve also taken training to other people in the county who have heard about CPI training.
Stan: Yeah. You know, for me as an individual, it’s—you know, I tell people this is human behavior; the CPI process is the natural human behavior. And so we took it, we expanded on it within our own detention center, we—our court officers were some of our previous staff here got promoted on and so that became some topics and they asked me to do a
few trainings with staff just to make sure that they’re working together, because I always incorporate the team concept as well. It’s huge.
And, you know, when you start getting into the different divisions, you know, the Friend of the Court and general trial and juvenile court officers, they’re not necessarily in a secure detention center, but they visit places. They go to homes, and so we talk about, you know, if there’s two people, or if there’s an issue, how do you handle it when you’re by yourself in the office. And so we expanded into juvenile court officers and then that expanded into—we have an academy here in Ingham County where we have several kids that are— that’s like an alternative ed with treatment and everything in it. We expanded it [CPI training] to their staff because they were in classrooms every day.
Friend of the Court, you know, obviously, Friend of the Court in Michigan—I would imagine other parts of the United States—that’s naturally a stressful environment regardless. Nobody’s ever happy with the Friend of the Court when they come out. And so they—we start talking about, you know, helping their staff understand some anxieties and understanding how to work through that kite model because really, you know, when you’re working with the court system, very few people come to court not having anxiety.
So we really, really work with staff to understand how to keep themselves from getting the power plays. Not, you know, at the top of that kite model, not pushing the temperature up a little bit and trying to understand that process.
Terry: Just for some of our listeners, I want to make clear that you’re referring to the Verbal Escalation ContinuumSM which has a kite diagram for the different stages of the Verbal Escalation ContinuumSM. I understand, too, that you guys have quarterly seminars that speak to the four stages of the Crisis Development ModelSM. Could you talk about that for just a moment?
Stan: Yeah, yeah. A couple of years ago, when we were ready to—you know, there was the—the active shooter topic was really heavy and so, you know, the administrators in the county were like, “Well, we have a sheriff’s department. We can show them what they would do in their process.” And then it also came out, “Well, how do we—” We got into the discussion of like precursors. Like how do you prevent this from happening? And so this is where the CPI—they came to me and said, “Hey, look. Can you do something because you do a lot with that in your CPI training?” So, you know, I spent some time with the staff at CPI. We came up with some just general topics. I do a two‐hour session. It’s kinda like the two seminars. One is the precursor to it and then the other one is the actual acting‐out situation. So I taught immensely about the Anxiety stages of the Continuum and then I talk about—I spend a lot of time in the two‐hour brief. People asking questions about how do we deal with things and we talk about the kite model.
And dealing with people and it ranges—I get people—it’s county‐wide. I get people from parks, I get court people, I get people from the county, I get people from receptionists. You
know, this isn’t—one of the examples I have. A receptionist lady came in and she’s like, “Well, all I do is answer the phone so I’m not really sure how this applies.” And I said, “Well, let’s get to the training.” And we talked. So we got through some things and after the anxiety, she’s like, “Well, everybody’s stressed when they call me.” You know, I can’t remember exactly what she did. It was something to do with, like, she did answer the phone for the taxation department or something where it was like she just—“And here’s your bill,” kinda deal.
And I said, “How does—how do your phone calls go?” And she was like, “Well, you know, they call and—” “Do you ever get mad people?” “Oh, everybody’s mad because I’m increasing taxes or I’m giving them the bad news. I’m not actually doing it but I’m giving them the bad news.” I said, “Do they argue with you?” “Oh, they argue all the time.” And I said, “Well, how do you resolve your arguments?” “Well, I just hang up on them.” I said, “Wow.”
Terry: Oh, my.
Stan: And I said, “Really?” She goes, “Yeah.” And so everybody kinda raised an eyebrow and said, “So let’s talk about that.” She says, “Problem solved. I don’t have to talk to them anymore.” I said, “But do you ever think that that’s maybe a trigger that might send that person down to shoot up a library or something?” And she looked at me and she’s like, “You know, I never thought about that.”
So we spent the time and, you know, she started to listen a little bit more. We went on with the training and moved forward and about two or three weeks later, I got an email from her saying, “Hey, you know, I appreciate your time, I appreciate your candor with me. I wanna let you know that I’ve taken the kite model, copied it, downsized it, and laminated it, and I have it on my phone.” So when I am in those situations, I make an effort to work through that kite model and bring people down to a basic level so when I hang up I have a better mindset that I know that I didn’t trigger somebody to do something.
So that’s kinda—we’ve incorporated that and built out that training seminar for the county.
Terry: That’s a great example of how you can take training and really make it part of your day to day, how you should deal with challenging behavior that’s based on a behavioral model that teaches you empathy, understanding, patience. And you mentioned that you guys are down to maybe a couple dozen restraints in the space of a year. So you really have a culture there where it has become truly a last resort. Would you say that’s accurate?
Stan: Yes, yes. And it’s—yes. We’re accommodating, you know, with the kids. Like we recognize what works for kids. Our COPING ModelSM helps us because our kids, all our kids are frequent fliers.
Stan: And so they come back. We already have an experience with them so we really try to work through like, “Hey, we made a promise last time with the staff and we were gonna do this, this, and this. Let’s make sure we follow up with that.” And so, you know, we get into that COPING ModelSM, and that’s been huge for our kids and it’s huge for our staff.
Terry: So debriefing is important there, then?
Stan: Absolutely. I mean, you know, for the first couple of years, I did the CPI process when we started the instruction. It really focused on the beginnings, the anxieties. And over the years, I was able to, you know, tag into different topics, and one of those things that we ran into a few years ago was our staff were just not trusting the new staff. And so, you know, I’ve got seasoned staff who do a great job. They just do things. They don’t think about it and they move on. You’ve got young staff coming in and either they’re gonna watch and watch and watch or they’re gonna overwork, overdo too much. You know, they’re motivated, so you get quite the diverse population.
And so, you know, how do we get through that? Well, you know, we attack the COPING ModelSM with the staff. We went through the normal process for the trainings but we really focused on the COPING ModelSM, because if you can go through the COPING ModelSM to—we recognize where people have anxieties or where people don’t have experiences, and if I’m working with somebody, I have to know my coworker’s struggling today because they’re going through a divorce or I have to know that life is going on with these people and not everybody is all on their “A” game every day of the week.
So it was really good for us to push a professional piece as well because nobody would talk about things. It’s like, I get it. Not everybody wants to give their business out at work. But, you know, if you come in and you’re sore because you, you know, I don’t know, tried to do a sporting event last night or are trying to get away from your work stressors and you’re not feeling good or you tweaked a knee but you’re still here, still functioning. Now I have to know that you’re not 100%, so I might step up a little bit more for you or you might step up for me. Or, you know, “Hey, you know, I’m getting married this weekend. As much as I say I’m focused at work, I’m trying to think about what I’m gonna do with my anxieties with the wedding.”
Stan: So we were able to really attack that and we were able to build confidence with our staff, our veteran staff, to ask questions, to build future relationships in situations. Like, “Hey, you know, today you did some things. I didn’t wanna call you out in front of the kids, because that wouldn’t have been appropriate but now that we have some downtime, let’s talk about this.” We really built that professional criticism but, yeah, constructive criticism for staff to work with each other.
Terry: And with a focus on prevention as I hear you describing it. You said something to me, Stan, in our pre‐interview. You talked about this—the way that staff communicate and the focus on prevention and the communication, the COPING ModelSM, but you also said this. You said, “Ego is a killer in this process.” Could you talk about that for me?
Stan: Oh, for sure. I’ve stressed that! To me—with every training I do, ego is a killer. Ego has its place in our society. And I’ll kinda go a little bit here. You know, ego is the divide and conquer mentality. Ego is for sports teams. Like you’re trained to have an ego to get on that field and go after everything and anything you can get. You know, law enforcement— they have to have an ego. They’re going out in our community and they’re going to situations. Nobody knows what’s going on. And they’re putting their life on the line. So they have to have that ego piece because they gotta go in, secure, make sure everybody’s safe, immobilize the threats, take care. So they go in with that divide and conquer mentality. Same thing with our military. When they go in, they’re going in and they’re— there ain’t a whole lot of like, “Hey, let’s talk about this.” At that point, that’s done.
So in our environment, you know, ego—you know, you go in divide and conquer with a kid, that’s game on for them. You know, some of these kids are like, “Oh, sweet. I’ve got somebody I can challenge and see what I can get away with.” And, you know, there’s the competition piece. So I tell staff, if you have an ego, you gotta put it in check very quick. We all have it, but I’m not coming to work to get into, you know, battles every day. I’m coming to work to help kids. And when you’re coming to help, ego is the piece that will destroy the help, because you’re not helping when you have an ego like that.
So we talk about how if your ego’s in it—if I’m working with somebody and I have an ego going on and I’m in a power struggle with the kids and we’re talking and, you know, we’re in that—again, I go back to the kite model because that’s one of my favorite tools. You know, I’m on—I got a kid who’s refusing and I’m setting limits and then there’s cursing and swearing at the top of that kite model, this kid’s just yelling and cussing and I’m doing the same thing. All I’m doing is turn the heat up. My ego is doing that. So when I can pull my ego back and go, “Okay. I’m gonna sit back and let this kid say all the garbage he wants to say because I know it’s just garbage.”
That’s the difference with my staff, and I tell them, I said, “If you can keep that ego in check, man, do you guys—” And it does. I watch young people come in with that, “I’m gonna change the world. I’m gonna do this.” And they come from a background of competition. And I, you know, I had a staff member a few years ago, a great kid, great job. I mean, phenomenal, motivated, studied, did everything. The minute something went down, he was like, “I—” His ego, you could just see his ego like, “I’m the man. I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna prove to everybody I can do it and I’m gonna take care of this business.”
And so a situation occurred and so as I came in, I was talking to the staff. We had some time. I always tell people time is on our side. We’re a detention center. You know, we
designated some people to be involved and I asked the staff where I said—you know, this new guy, I said, “You just need to take a break and watch.” And it was like instant deflating. You’re like, “Oh, my God. You’re not gonna use me? I’ve got all the skillsets: I’m young, I’m athletic, I’ve got all these things.” I’m like, “No. I want you to watch and see the staff.”
And it happened to be some weaker staff, I guess, physically if you wanna talk strengthwise but also some quieter staff. And we went in and de‐escalated this individual without any kind of physical intervention, and got this kid to his room and the kid just—so I went back to the younger staff and he was like, “Wow, that’s not how I was anticipating that to happen.” That’s that sports background, go in and conquer and take care of it and drag them to their room or get them to their room, whatever it is. And that’s not how we wanna operate with kids.
And I tell people all the time, “I wanna operate like I would operate with my own kids.” If I won’t do it to my own kids, I don’t want us doing it to them.
Terry: I see. You know, you’ve mentioned sports, Stan. I’m gonna bring this in. Stan, you are a USA wrestling silver‐level certified coach. You’ve got a reputation and a history of getting your athletes to perform at a high level and I know you attribute a part of your success to—by using part of the behavioral model process as a key ingredient in your coaching technique.
Stan: Absolutely. It’s kinda ironic how this has all unfolded in my life. I started volunteering as a coach just to give myself—again, we talk about Rational Detachment.
Stan: I leave our detention center with some kids who were very noncompliant and then go work with kids who say, “Hey, coach, what do you want me to do?” All right. Do 10 pushups. How about if I do 500? So I got—the motivation levels are completely different.
But the general system—I mean, you know, as a coach, you’re working with kids, parents, and when you go to a competition, they have anxieties. Like am I gonna do all the right things? I’ve got all these things. Oh, this is the big guy. This is the guy! And so I support them. And then when I start seeing them kinda scramble and why, why, why, why, why, I get a little firm with them and I’m like, “Stop. Let the plan work; you’re here to do this. You do what you can do. Here’s your limit. You know what you can do.” So I go from that anxiety. I watch and recognize that with the athletes, support them all the time. And then when I start to see them unravel or do something, I really pull in the de‐escalation model, or the Defensive model, stage two, excuse me. I get my terms mixed up.
Terry: That’s okay.
Stan: And I work through that kite model and I—you know, the acting‐out piece really is the competition. It’s that risk behavior that they have to take. You know, are they gonna follow the program or are they gonna do like a risk behavior and change up what they’ve been training so much to do because they’re panicking?
And then when it’s done after every match or after every competition, I sit down with the kids and I go through the COPING ModelSM
. What happened? What do you guys think? What do you remember? What was different today than yesterday? What were your triggers to change your performance? What made it better? What made it worse? I mean, and then as a coach, you sit down with these coaching staff and we, you know, how to do the same thing, you know, how do—did we do what we needed to do? How do we make it better? What do we make changes for? What are our anxieties? What were the triggers? Why didn’t Johnny perform or why did Johnny do better than what we expected him to do? And then we keep that culture moving forward.
Terry: And that’s very much in parallel with the way you would approach the behavioral issues you might see in the youth center.
Stan: Absolutely. It’s human behavior for kids.
Stan: They respond, and you can never predict what they’re gonna do but you can definitely— every kid has certain responses.
Terry: Let’s talk about behavioral triggers for a moment. I mean, I know that you have a process by which you’re able to identify—the triggers are very important where you work and that you have a process by which you’re able to identify those. Could you talk about that, Stan?
Stan: Yeah. I mean, you know, every kid comes in and out, but, you know, we have—we work with kids. We’re fortunate as a detention center. We get phone calls, “Hey, look. So and so’s got a background at this. Such and such caseworkers are involved.” But we, you know, when we talk about the triggers and different things, one of the examples I give is that we never know what those triggers are, but we always try to make note of when we have those experiences and how do we prevent those from happening?
For example, I had a kid in one of our day rooms, and I walk in. I didn’t know this kid. I really had no clue who he was. I just walked in to say hi to the kids and this kid started just completely freaking out and I was like, “Wow. This is not how I expected my morning to start.” And I—clearly, I was the target in regards to the trigger of the behavior so I exited the room and let staff deal with him. Again, keeping my ego in check because I could’ve went over and said, “Hey, what’s going on? Why are you doing this?” But recognizing that I was the trigger because everything was calm until I stepped in.
I left. Staff—and that’s just one of those communication pieces that our staff have. They know—we check each other. And so, you know, afterwards, when everybody was—had the cold thoughts and everything was calmed down, we processed. Staff said, “You know, you triggered him.” And they were like, “You didn’t say anything so we don’t know what happened.” Then I went down, spent some time with the kid and said, “Look. I don’t know what happened.” Came out that I looked like his stepdad that really seriously abused him.
Stan: So, you know, I’m like, “Hey—”
Terry: That’s a trigger.
Stan: I can’t change my overall looks, but let’s talk about some things. And we came up with a little bit of a code. You know, I’d look at him every time I was walking the day room, he’d give me a thumbs up or thumbs down. If I got a thumbs down, I just left for a while and came back. You know? Gave him a chance to deal with some of the anxiety, those COPING ModelsSM
, and so that was some triggers that we, you know—recognizing those things are huge.
Terry: I see. You know, you—also in our pre‐interview, you said you’re seeing more and more trauma caused by human trafficking and you also talked then about an event where there was a trigger, but could you talk to that, first of all, the human trafficking, you know, victims that you’re seeing and then also the scenario where you had a trigger with a person that had endured trafficking?
Stan: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, trafficking kids has really come to the forefront of some of our court systems. You know, our kids that are trafficked are kids who are out on the streets, who are already running with risk behaviors and environments. So we have a court that really is starting to recognize and push forward on this trafficking and really big trauma care stuff which is phenomenal because, you know, the example that I have is a case in point. We’re a detention center. So, you know, before was policy and procedures: somebody acts out, they get this, this, and this, this. It’s just no—it’s policy. This is our process.
And so we have these kids who are going to school, because there’s a school system here. Young lady, quiet, been trafficked, has tons of trauma, and our psychologists are working with her. She’s in class, she’s doing a really good job. Staff member goes over to help her with her homework, just leans over the table. “What can I help you with? I don’t understand.” He leaned over and all of a sudden, she just went bonkers.
Stan: And to the point where it was, you know, a 20‐minute physical management piece. I mean, she just went from zero to a 160 like no business. And then so we managed her. We were
able to get her de‐escalated and get her taken care of. And once everything de‐escalated, I processed the staff, and literally, every staff was like, “We are stuck. We do not know what the trigger was. She was doing well. We know what we—you know, we went through all of the COPING ModelSM
.” And they’re like, “We just cannot figure out this trigger. We don’t know.”
Sometimes you can see the triggers, you know. It’s a sidebar conversation or they just came back from court or something. When this went we couldn’t figure it out so, you know, you do your incident reports, staff make recommendations on what they’d like to see with these kids in regards to the consequences or the accountability piece, you know, and normal process is if there’s a physical restraint or acting out or assault we have this reentry process that we have that keeps us away from keeping kids in lockdown.
But anyway, so I go back to talk to the girl because, you know, you’re staff and then you process with the individual who was acting out. The girl was very clear. You know, we start talking through things and she was like, “Look, Mr. Granger, when Mr. such and such leaned over the table and put his hands on the table, he is a big guy, and he had it exactly how my trauma started. Somebody leaned over the table with a deep voice and said, ‘I’m gonna help you and this is what we’re gonna do to you.’” She went, “I had an instant trigger.” And she was like, “I apologize. I don’t remember any of it.” Which goes case in point with trauma when they act out. A lot of them are just in survival mentality. So, you know, it’s that. We have to work through that and go, “Okay. Is this really a deviant behavior or is this a trauma response?”
So going—again going through the COPING ModelSM
, reading everybody’s information together, and we talk to staff, and I’m like, “Look. Would you do this to your own kid when they’ve been through this?” And they’re like, “No. I’d like to see them get the help.” Okay. “So you feel like this is an acting‐out person or is this a person who’s responding because of her background?” “Their background.” So that has helped my staff kinda reformulate when we do have acting up. It doesn’t automatically mean, you know, discipline, discipline, discipline, which is huge with the number of kids that are trafficked and with the number of—half our population right now today is—it’s trafficked kids. And so you can’t respond to those kids the same way, disciplinary‐wise, as you would other kids.
Terry: So really, it’s your brand of trauma‐informed care.
Stan: Yeah. I mean, we pull as much as we can and try to—you know, I’ve been bugging the CPI people like, “Give me more trauma. Give me more trauma stuff.” Because I wanna incorporate it. We see it every day. And we’re building it and it’s just—you know, you can only build so fast.
But the nice thing is I really contribute the CPI process to help my staff, how do I say it, process through new things, learn new things, just keep an open mind to what’s effective, because you’re ultimately trying to prevent things from happening in the future. So when we go through that COPING ModelSM
, Therapeutic Rapport, you’re problem‐solving. And that wasn’t necessarily the case for a long time with the COPING ModelSM
. It was, “Okay, that’s not something that’s too important. Let’s just manage the behavior and get on to the next kid.”
Terry: But you’re using prevention as a foundational value very much in this situation you describe.
Stan: Yes. Constantly. Constantly, and when staff come to me, I constantly ask them, “What do you think? I want your professional opinion.” Rather than, “Well, here’s—this is what you told me and this is what we’re gonna do.” I want their opinion. They’re there. They’re involved with it. I’m not always in the forefront of what created a situation so I have to hear what they say to get their thoughts and opinions.
Terry: So would you describe debriefing as second nature now at Ingham County Youth Center?
Stan: Yes, yes. And, you know, when I started, as I was learning, you know, as an Instructor, I was going through—I’m like, “There are people in our building who are phenomenal with kids. Like, why are they so good and some of the other people really struggle with the kids?” Again, they were doing some of this process naturally but just didn’t realize it was part of the CPI skillset.
And so once we kinda got things planned out, and we would ask the NVCI class and be like,
“Who does great with kids?” They’re like, “Such and such, such and such.” I’d be like, “Why?” Because they talk to the kids, they figure out what’s going on. “Oh, then let’s talk about the CPI process real quick, Therapeutic Rapport.” And so we started making cross examples and that was huge for our staff. Especially the new ones who were really trying to figure it out and really trying to build their “A” game and really become, you know, the staff members that they wanna be. It was huge.
Terry: So how did they—how was that message delivered to them? Could you articulate that just a little bit for me, Stan?
Stan: You know, as we do the CPI class, first of all, I always—we’ve done some different things throughout the years with the class. You know, I have staff who’ve been here taking CPI just like me since from 1990s. So we all kind of understand the CPI process. So we had to do some creative things to get people to think.
One time I had the class with my support and my coaches and so we had the staff teach the class and give their own examples. Like we gave them a situation where I was like, “Okay, you guys have all done this.” “Yeah. We know the task, we know this, we know that.” “Okay. Fine. If you guys know it all, then here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna randomly draw sections, you know, the kite model. You know, all of the de‐escalation and you’re gonna have to explain it to your coworkers.”
And so we encouraged an environment where they were correcting each other on a positive note but, you know, somebody would get up and they’re like, “I don’t know if I know this.” And then somebody in the crowd would be like, “Yeah, you do. We do this every day.” We built that communication piece in the class.
So I always refer to my classes—I don’t wanna be Mrs. Donovan from Charlie Brown. I don’t wanna be, “Wa wa wa wa . . .” (Imitates cartoon voice) (Laugher)
Terry: Right. I think—and who couldn’t relate that to their primary education? Right.
Stan: So I always encourage my staff to engage. I always tell them, “Stump the Instructor, please, because if you can stump me, then I got something I gotta get better at. And you point out points that I didn’t think about.”
Terry: You know, that’s interesting because that is such an interpersonal—you know, where the trainer becomes—I mean, the group becomes really critical to the way that the training is facilitated. But I know that in 2017, you became certified in our blended learning option. Do you guys use that in Ingham County, or is it all classroom?
Stan: We—we’re—I’ve been kind of headstrong with the classroom piece and not because I don’t feel that the blended learning works. It’s just that for me, I’m able to—I mean, I get two days with staff. We’re such a busy shift work facility that it’s just good to give staff time away to really—I can focus on different topics each year, like what’s our core topic with staff there? What’s our core topic in the building that we’re struggling with?
And so I’ve been a little reluctant myself to do it, and it’s not because I don’t think it’s a good program. It’s just that for my culture, it’s our—it’s kinda like our retreat for the year. Like we’re getting away and talking about issues and problems and incorporating CPI in that process.
So I’ve added to the class regarding the topics, you know. Hey, we’re—we have suicides that have been going on all year long, like suicide attempts. I can incorporate some of that into the CPI training. Like I get some role‐plays one year. I’m like—I get a situation and the staff—we walk through a whole role‐play, and I did like five of them, and pick staff to be like—mock our facility, what we do and then I had the rest of the classroom just watch. They responded, they debriefed, and then I got a debriefing from the people in the audience. But one of the things that I did was I threw in some suicide situations, which are not quite, you know, an acting‐out individual so we—really give us some time to really twist the topics around a little bit and deal with some unexpected stuff that we’ve been doing.
So that’s my only concern with the Flex. Now, if I had, you know, 3,000 people that I had to train, you know, at some of these hospitals that, you know, where training time is an issue, I absolutely—I saw as I watched it in the training and heard people talk like, “Oh,
this would be awesome. I can get some of the classroom pieces over with and really get into the nuts and bolts for each department.” You know, my trainings—I have an isolated group of people for the most part. Now—and for us the—I just think there’s that bonding classroom time and we’re able to do it. So if I’m able to do it, I really want that one‐on‐one with the class.
Terry: I see, I see. Well, that—well, for the culture that you work in—I mean, and the behavioral challenges that you face—like you said, there might be—you might have a jump in the incidence of suicide attempts. That’s something that’s going to demand more of an intensive classroom focus and really just a group sort of a discussion. But like you said, blended learning might be more appropriate if you’ve got a lot of staff to train and you’re introducing prevention as a concept. When you really get into the specialized population that you deal with, you’re finding that that classroom portion, that retreat, as you called it, is the best way to impart the methodology and the concepts to the people that you work with.
Stan: Yeah, yeah. We are exploring, and it came up on—because, you know, we wanna use it. I mean, the tools that you guys are providing at CPI are just phenomenal. So we don’t wanna not use the tool and—but we are looking at—we get—we often get like subs that get hired in at, you know, different times, you know, and they come in and we—you know, it’s not like we do like one hire a year when we have a group of people. We hire them as they come in as substitutes because they, you know, they come and go so much. Our new hires where like we do an annual training but like a new hire might get the Flex program initially so they’re familiar with the topics. We just haven’t quite been able to work out how to pull that trigger and make that happen. But that’s where we really see it as helpful. If somebody gets hired in in July and we already had our annual CPI training in June, you know, you’re gonna be kinda untrained or at least unfamiliar with the process if we don’t get you some exposure of a mini class.
Terry: All right. Well, Stan, let me ask you to close today, what do you think has been your greatest professional inspiration as you go in every day and you try to manage the center as best you can?
Stan: You know, kids are getting help and, you know, again, I think, you know, I’ve kinda summarized it throughout is that staff that I work with are really working with each other as opposed to, “I’ve been doing this for a long time. You don’t need to help me.” We created an environment of people who are willing to accept professional criticism, but also give professional criticism and not have that ego kick in and go, “Well, if you’re gonna do this then I’m gonna do that.” I like working in a positive environment. And our environment’s very difficult to remain positive in because it’s constantly negative. People are constantly trying to find problems with kids but they got this problem. I mean, the social workers come in. They highlight good things but, you know, then these kids come with such a package of damage that, you know, you can’t help but not look at it and go, “Wow, that’s a problem, that’s a problem, that’s a problem, that’s a problem.” You know?
We built this token economy. We build on recognizing—I call it baby steps. And to be able to walk in and see this kid who’s been cussing and swearing and refusing to comply for days and look at me and go, you know, this is—one of the things that happens. I walk by one of my more difficult rooms every day and this kid’s just F‐bombing me, “I hate you. You’re a—” And I walk by the next day and he’s, “I hate you. You’re rotten. You’re terrible.” But there’s no F‐bombs, there’s no bleach, and I’m like, “Wow. That’s a behavioral change and that’s a baby step.” So I reward them with our token system. We have a token for a change in behavior, you know. They’re like, “Well, I still swear at you.” And I tell them that’s my ego. If I keep that up, that’s not working. I saw some changes. A baby starts walking and I’m like—this is another one that I use. When a baby starts to walk, everybody get excited. Baby walks a few steps, they get extremely excited. Walks five steps, people, you know, snap, you know, videos and everything like that. All of a sudden now the baby walks two steps the next day and falls down. I don’t know of anybody that yells at the baby and gets in the baby’s grill because he fell over and didn’t do five steps they should’ve done the day before.
Stan: So, you know, that’s how I operate, and like kids, they come from a damaged environment. They’ve been traumatized. So I’m like, “We gotta help them move forward but not setting the standard that they’re not willing to grow into yet or able to.” So—
Terry: Well, that is inspirational. I think anyone who deals with any kind of challenging behavior, whether it’s in your own family, whether it’s at work, recognizing progress is incremental and looking on the—taking a positive attitude towards behavioral change and improvement is really fundamental, I think, towards the culture change that you’ve been able to achieve there at Ingham County.
Stan: Yeah. I mean, it’s huge. I mean, like I said, we come in working to help kids, not looking to find problems on kids. We—there is a—well, we still do it. We’ve got to be aware of it but I don’t operate on the fact that I’m just spending time finding problems. I operate on how are we helping those kids become that.
Terry: I see. Well, that’s a great thought to close today, Stan. I wanna thank you for joining us today. My guest today has been Stan Granger. He is a youth center supervisor at the Ingham County Youth Center in Lansing, Michigan. He’s also a Master Level CPI Certified Instructor. Stan, thank you so much for joining us today.
Stan: Thank you for the opportunity.
Terry: All right. And thank you all for listening.