We all have the ability to change the atmosphere and mood of a room. This is because our behavior has the power to influence the behavior of others. As Bill Badzmierowski, CPI global professional manager, shared, “This is the Integrated Experience from CPI’s Crisis Development ModelSM, which teaches us that while we can’t control someone else’s behavior, we can control how we choose to respond—and this helps them to respond more positively.”
We’re sharing several ways you can tap into the power of the Integrated Experience to influence positive behavior.
Use Paraverbals and Nonverbals for an Impactful Integrated Experience
One of the ways you can help bring calm into a stressful situation is by adapting your paraverbals and nonverbals and watching how you say what you say.
Bill explained, “How we say words matters so much more than the words themselves. When someone’s feeling scared, angry, hurt, or aggressive, they don’t hear what we say and actually respond more to our tone, volume, and cadence.”
You can also help bring calm to a situation by watching where and how you behave. “Personal space and body language are also highly important. Being mindful of someone’s need for personal space helps them calm down when they’re upset. And using respectful, nonthreatening gestures, facial expressions, and movements have the same effect.”
Important paraverbals to be aware of:
- Tone: Make sure your tone is understanding, even, and calm.
- Volume: Do your best to keep from raising your voice during difficult moments.
- Cadence: Speak evenly and use empathy when talking to another person.
Important nonverbals to be aware of:
- Facial expressions: Do your best to remain supportive and understanding in your facial expressions.
- Posture and proximity: Check to see how you are standing and how close you are to the other person. CPI’s Supportive StanceSM is one way to ensure you are giving enough space to support the needs of another person.
- Body language: Our posture can communicate a lot. When dealing with challenging situations, do your best to stay open, calm, and relaxed. Just doing this can help lower a person’s anxiety.
By employing these paraverbals and nonverbals, you can help infuse calm and positivity into a difficult situation.
Adopt a Positive Mindset for an Impactful Integrated Experience
The way you see the world also impacts how you respond and behave during difficult or challenging moments. But by working to cultivate and adopt a positive mindset, you can improve your ability to bring those beneficial emotions and behaviors to someone in need.
Former Certified Instructor and Behavioral Health Intervention Specialist D.C. Foster experienced the impact of a positive mindset and shared his story with us. He shared that,
“I undertook a personal campaign to make my responses more affirming, positive, and inclusive. When my department was called upon for an update I announced, ‘we’re good’ instead of saying ‘nothing to report.’
At first it didn’t catch on, the majority of attending staff continued to say ‘nothing.’ I realized that the term was ingrained in their vocabulary, and that I needed allies in this effort to successfully flip the script. Before the next meeting, I shared my observation with three colleagues in separate disciplines. When they were called upon, they repeated after me, ‘we’re good.’
Just as my other colleagues had echoed the term ‘nothing’ in previous meetings, they started to echo the ‘we’re good’ update. This helped shift the overall tone of our morning meetings and they became more positive and uplifting.”
You can adopt a positive mindset by:
- Starting your day off by listing ten things you are grateful for
- Being conscious of the words and tone you use in everyday conversation
- Looking for ways to support and encourage others
- Giving yourself time to practice self-care and things that bring you joy
By intentionally bringing good habits into your life, you can help bring positivity to those who need it most.
Include a Trauma-Informed Mindset for an Impactful Integrated Experience
The Integrated Experience has the potential to help diminish the lasting harm done to others by including a trauma-informed care approach. Certified Instructor T.D. Loftus shared a few ways he has incorporated a trauma-informed care mindset to better support his patients and clients.
By adopting a trauma-informed mindset, you can develop meaningful connections with others and create a safe environment.
T.D. Loftus explained, “One way trauma-informed care can help is that it increases empathy and understanding. It helps people remain in their logical, rational brain instead of being pulled into our emotional one. Trauma-informed care also helps build trust in the relationship between the client and clinician. Clients with a history of trauma often do not have a history of strong or healthy relationships. But staff consistency and reliable care helps to create opportunities to begin to develop healthy relationships.”
T.D. Loftus takes a trauma-informed approach to CPI’s Crisis Development ModelSM to inform how he will use a trauma-informed approach to support his clients.
- A trauma-informed mindset gives you the tools to help another person identify and develop positive responses to their anxiety.
- A trauma-informed mindset equips you to see defensive behavior as trauma-reactive behavior, not deliberate outbursts.
- A trauma-informed mindset helps you discover triggers for a clients’ risk behavior by remaining rationally detached.
- A trauma-informed mindset paves the way for positive recovery during tension reduction.
It’s clear that our interactions with others have the ability to lower stress, reduce anxiety, and create environments of calm. By taking ownership of our own behaviors and understanding the various ways in which we can positively impact others, we can create more positive situations and reduce crisis escalation.
See how CPI training can help provide you and your staff with the skills to successfully implement positive Integrated Experience moments:
Originally published April 20, 2021.