“Everybody was so worried about making mistakes that they weren’t growing.”

If faced with just one opportunity to help redirect somebody in crisis—how confident are you that you would know what to do? How skilled are you at de-escalating challenging behavior consistently? Do you feel confident that your approach will minimize trauma and maximize safety? Can you say for sure that your intervention strategy won’t have a ripple effect of adverse outcomes down the road?
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.
“We don’t hire people to be knuckle draggers or the enforcer. We hire you to build relationships.” -Stan Granger, Ingham County Youth Center #DeEscalation

Guest Biography

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.