Why teach de-escalation in a worship environment?

We are hearing more and more of events where worship staff have had to deal with potential violent situations as a result of mental health or human brokenness. Examples include people with unstable mental health issues who are behaving erratically or a parent demanding to see their child during a mid afternoon preschool session, when they may not have the legal right to do so.

Staff are asked to assist with such situations and special skills are required to bring potentially violent or escalated situations to an end.

Human nature may urge us to intervene immediately, but that may not always be the best response. As long as there is no immediate danger to self or others, there is time to conduct a risk assessment and evaluate a person’s behavior before acting. We focus our training program on de-escalation techniques as a method of prevention.

What does the training contain?

Forming a plan, thinking quickly and being calm are the starting points to de-escalating disruptive behavior. Next comes learning how to use personal space, ask the most appropriate questions and apply effective listening. Our training focuses on the following areas:

  • How to develope a plan
  • Verbal de-escalation techniques
    • How to communicate
    • Holding someone’s attention
    • Addressing the persons feelings
    • Interpretation of body language
  • Recognizing your personal limitations
  • Scenario role play

What happens during the training 

Practice, practice, and more practice. The scenario training is designed to take students through a series of exercises to build confidence in responding to an escalated situation. With a maximum of 12 students per class, each student has the chance to participate in a safe, open and non-judgmental learning environment. The scenarios are filmed to provide individualized feedback which can be reviewed in a more private setting, allowing the student to critique their own work outside of the classroom.