Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nonviolent Crisis Training

By Meghan Huebner
Director, Residential Services

I recently spent a week training to become a certified trainer for Nonviolent Crisis Intervention. After years of being trained in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention as required for our residential programs, I finally had the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. In addition, I was able to attend the training with staff from hospitals and schools, giving me the chance to interact with professionals from across the youth and mental health spectrum.
Training for Nonviolent Crisis Intervention involves two days of training in verbal and physical de-escalation techniques, one day of "trainer training", and a day of teaching, exams, and physical competencies. At Alternative House, we face many crisis situations in our daily work.
Part of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training involves diffusing a situation so that no one comes to physical harm. If a youth is pacing quickly back and forth at the teen center while everyone else is doing their homework, or if a resident at the teen shelter is refusing to do their chores, staff is prepared to handle the situation using carefully selected words and body language. During my training, I leaned the reasons behind why these interventions are effective, as well as how negative reactions by staff can escalate a situation.
Although Alternative House uses no physical interventions, I had to learn them all to become a certified trainer. One by one, my fellow trainees and I pretended to punch, kick, and pull one another's hair. We then used the appropriate intervention for each "attack" under the watchful eye of our instructor. After a week, we all certainly felt much closer to one another!
Now that my training is complete, I am certified to train new Alternative House staff and provide refreshers for current staff. We provide Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training with the goal of de-escalating crisis situations before they become out of control, and with the safety of all clients, families, and staff in mind. I look forward to providing staff with new skills and tools to use, and to continuing to advance my training through Nonviolent Crisis Intervention.

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