AlGene Caraulia Sr: The CPI Story

I did then what I knew how to do.

Now that I know better, I do better.

- Maya Angelou

Managing challenging behavior has always been a struggle.

The Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) works to train people to address these behaviors in a safe, respectful way.

The CPI Guiding Philosophy

Care, Welfare, Safety, and SecuritySM speaks to the best in us. CPI has kept this as its core values to keep people safe in all industries and from all backgrounds since 1980.

But what does it actually mean and how did it all get started?

The CPI story begins with AlGene Caraulia Sr.


As a teenager in Hawaii, AlGene studied judo and aikido after a playground fight left him with a bruised shoulder.

Aikido is a martial art that focuses on harmonizing with your opponent to bring peaceful resolutions to situations involving conflict.

ai - Harmony

ki - Energy

do - Way

While studying communication psychology at Northern Michigan University, he taught karate during the summers at the Chicago Karate Center.

There he met Gene J. Wyka, who would later cofound CPI.

After completing his studies, AlGene volunteered for mental health programs at a public psychiatric facility.

Thus began the four events that led to AlGene’s breakthrough that the best care isn’t about defending yourself; it’s about preventing harm to the people in your care while keeping them safe.

"I used to play guitar and sing,

and there was one person who always looked like he was bubbling around and excessively applauding.

One day I asked the caretakers, ’What’s wrong with Jonas?’

They said, ’We have to medicate him

because sometimes he gets violent...

...even though he sings along as we do that.’"

"At a party, I saw someone get so violent that my judo teacher actually had to throw him down, but it wasn't one of those hurtful throws.

He held that person down while the party was going on like nothing was happening...


patting him on the head and saying, ’Calm down...’

...and after a time...

...he just calmed down."

"There was a therapist at a hospital teaching self-defense techniques to some of the staff. One day I asked him, ’What happens when these patients get crazy?’

And then he says, ’We have to wrestle that sucker down...

...give him some Thorazine...

...and turn him into mashed potatoes.’"

"As I was teaching staff how to protect themselves, all of a sudden it occurred to me that I was teaching them something that was incorrect.

They were not there to defend themselves. They were there for the care and welfare and safety and security of the person in their care.

Once that occurred to me, it was so clear that we were not there to teach staff any violent methods."

-AlGene Caraulia Sr.

These auspicious insights paved the way for a new way of thinking about how we can safely manage disruptive and assaultive behavior, which eventually grew into the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training CPI is known for today.

CPI has grown and adapted over the years, increasing offerings and options, improving methods, and expanding upon the philosophy that AlGene established decades ago, but the mantra of Care, Welfare, Safety, and SecuritySM will always be at the heart of what we do and why we do it.


To hear the full story as told by AlGene Sr. himself, check out the Unrestrained podcast.

Less Staff Turnover


Increased Staff Confidence

Safer Workplaces

Decrease in Restraint & Seclusion

Hands-On Interventions

Person-Centered Care