Hillside of Atlanta

The Impact of CPI Training

  • Reduce challenging/disruptive behaviors
  • Increase staff confidence
  • Improve behavior management
  • Safer environment for staff and clients


Founded in 1888 in Atlanta, Georgia, Hillside provides specialized behavioral treatment and education to children and their families through residential and community mental health services. The residential program features seven cottages—five female and two male—with a population ranging from 12 to 18 years of age. “A typical stay is four to six weeks, with 24/7 supervision, safety, and structure at all times,” says residential program director Eddie Dowdell. Fred Holmes, a program manager, adds that “our clients all have mental health issues, mostly trauma, as well as borderline personality disorders. But they’re here for hope and healing. We take each day as an opportunity to help them grow and learn, so when they’re discharged from here, that they can cope in the community and have a healthy life.”

Prior to contacting CPI, Hillside’s crisis management program focused on reactive techniques. The result was that the 250-person staff experienced about 2,000 safety restraints, called Emergency Safety Interventions (ESIs), every year. Some of these ESIs led to clients and staff on the ground, which increased the risk of injuries.

Solution and results

The decision was made to bring in CPI and its Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Training.

According to program manager Andrea Pierce, the emphasis on nonverbal and verbal communication and being able to know where and how to intervene made it easier to get staff buy-in.

“Exhaust the communication. Sometimes just silence will get you what you need. And when we do physically intervene, we’re going in with the least restrictive and will work our way up if needed.”

The result has been a 60% drop in ESIs in the first year of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention®, and an 85% reduction in three years.

“[Nonviolent Crisis Intervention®] gives you the opportunity to be proactive instead of reactive. The crisis model, the defensive model, those things help the staff be able to recognize a crisis and deal with it accordingly without having to go hands on.

-Eddie Dowdell
Residential Program Director
Hillside of Atlanta


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