How CPI Training Made Us Confident Crisis Managers
“Crisis manager” is often just one part of a Certified Instructor’s job description.
At CPI, we love to celebrate the outcomes our clients experience. Measurable risk reduction. Improved staff morale and retention. Better patient satisfaction scores. More direct instruction time in classrooms. Less conflict in environments of care. Sizable cost savings and ROI.
But if you’re new to CPI’s person-centered approach to crisis management, you’re probably wondering, “How do I unlock these results?”
CPI Certified Instructors are people just like you. They work around the world in a broad spectrum of roles, and they’re chosen by their organizations to take on the responsibility of on-site crisis management. The most essential step to becoming a confident, competent crisis manager is completing the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Instructor Certification Program.
From nurses to teachers to social workers to security officers to bus drivers to retail staff to librarians—and that’s naming only a handful—Certified Instructors commit to teaching colleagues within their organization safe and effective crisis management techniques that can help reduce risk and support well-being.
The most essential step to becoming a confident, competent crisis manager is completing the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Instructor Certification Program.
Crisis managers who become CPI Certified Instructors are the critical link between a philosophy of strategic violence prevention and a safer, more caring world. And they’re the best evidence that personal, professional, and organizational transformation through training are not only possible, but highly achievable.
These crisis managers also face a daunting task when they return to work, newly certified. Empowered with new information, practical skills, and a proactive approach to reducing the risks of violence and harm, it’s up to them to successfully empower their colleagues as well.
(And they’ve also got to keep doing their day jobs at the same time!)
One of the ways CPI gives ongoing, strategic support to Certified Instructors is through our online Instructor Community. Created for Certified Instructors, and sustained by Certified Instructors, it’s an exclusive network where crisis management experts from around the world can connect.
So naturally, it’s the first place we went to ask Certified Instructors:
How did you go from a brand-new Certified Instructor to seasoned crisis manager?
Confident crisis managers rely on an open mind and a supportive stance.
Certified Instructor Charles remembers that nervous feeling of returning to work after first becoming certified in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® techniques. “I felt like everyone at work now thought I had gained superpowers,” he says. And almost right on cue, he was summoned by his staff to manage a crisis involving a distressed client. He says that debriefing was an especially valuable practice during those early days, because it helped his team identify areas for collective improvement to affirm their crisis management approach.
Certified Instructor Kelly had a similar recollection: “It felt a little strange being considered an expert in a field I only knew in theory. After bringing back this knowledge and sharing with others, I began to realize the information resonated with them. Then I witnessed the truth coming out from what I learned. CPI is not about learning restraints. It’s about the de-escalation of a crisis. It’s about staying connected with an upset child until there is this beautiful event called Tension Reduction. As I learned these truths and modeled them for others, we all moved closer to being skilled ambassadors of care, welfare, safety, and security.”
Kelly adds that nearly a decade later, “What I have learned about the importance of this training and about the children we serve is priceless.”
Because they lead by example, crisis managers shift organizational, professional, and personal paradigms naturally.
Certified Instructor Everett was first trained in the 1980s, when physical restraint was more of a default de-escalation tactic. He found that becoming certified empowered him to help shift the paradigm within his organization to one of proactive, nonviolent crisis de-escalation.
Everett says: “I spent my first year as a trainer role modeling a supportive approach, and modeling limit setting techniques. The attitude in trainings shifted, and staff felt like they had tools to prevent behaviors from escalating.” Over time, the team’s new perspective on crisis management started reflecting in organizational performance and patient safety. “Staff and client injuries dropped—physical incidents when down because staff were de-escalating situations, rather than falling into power struggles.”
Everett adds, “Be the model, live the model. De-escalation works.”
Certified Instructor Mark finds that taking a supportive approach as his organization’s CPI trainer is the key to sustaining staff confidence. “As a more experienced staff member, I tend not to take things as personally as some might. I find that I got to the front of a situation to role model, to help train, to observe…I am still responsible for everyone’s safety. Safety is non-negotiable.”
Because CPI training is learned and then lived, Certified Instructors find common ground with their colleagues quickly—and find new purpose and joy in their careers.
Certified Instructor Tanya first participated in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training in college, and later had the opportunity to become certified to train her peers. When it comes to making training stick, Tanya points out: “I think the main thing to remember is that you have to practice the skills constantly. That way, your reaction to fear and anxiety will be on point. Even as a trainer, you have new situations and moments to learn from.”
She also notes that making your trainings personal is a surefire way to build credibility with your colleagues who are learning CPI techniques for the first time. “Participants really buy in when I share my experiences as a college student working my job, being a special education teacher, and being an administrator. They see that I’ve learned along the way, and I share with them so they know they’re not alone.”
Certified Instructor Adrian advises that the best way to hold on to that rush of excitement and empowerment you get when you first become a Certified Instructor is to not reserve it for crisis management exclusively. This energy can fuel every corner of your career. Prior to becoming certified, “I think I would have fallen into the ‘burned out’ category. CPI reawakened my love for what I do. It got me self-evaluating and forced me to take a good look at my thinking process, why I responded to different situations in the fashion that I did.”
That renewed perspective, Adrian points out, isn’t just professionally transformative, but personally life-changing. “I love CPI training because of how it makes me feel. It made and continues to make me feel like I am a good person.”