What is De-Escalation?
What is De-escalation?
When confronted by aggressive or violent behavior, de-escalation can be used. De-escalation is “transferring your calm and genuine interest to what the patient has to say by using respectful, clear, and limit setting boundaries.
De-escalation techniques are used to calm people down and reach a solution. If someone is truly upset or acts irrationally, the second purpose of de-escalation techniques is to prevent a potentially violent situation.
Aggression is a common occurrence in all workplaces. Aggression can cause injury to staff members and customers, and can negatively impact staff performance and well-being. Although de-escalation is an effective and widely recommended method of managing aggression, many people do not understand the effectiveness or specific techniques. We do have some guiding points below.
A verbal loop is a common method of de-escalation. The staff member listens to the person and finds a way for him to respond in a way that validates or agrees with his position. Finally, the person states what he wants the person to do. As the patient responds, the loop continues.
With a little extra time, even the most complex cases can be handled. If a single interaction between listening and responding takes less that one minute, then repeating the message would take at most 2 minutes. When de-escalation is effective, complaints and unhappy customers can be avoided. It is much easier to take the time to calm the person and work with him/her. This requires additional skills.
Two important concepts are worth keeping in mind.
- It is impossible to reason with an angry person. You should only aim to decrease the level of anger in order to facilitate discussion. All of us are driven to fight, freeze or flee when we feel scared. To calm someone who is upset or angry, you need to appear calm even if the situation is not.
- There is a level of natural skill in verbal de-escalation. If a person is skilled and well-trained, they can learn and apply de-escalation techniques. A positive attitude and empathy are the most important skills. These techniques can be used to calm down someone who is upset or angry.
- Be compassionate and non-judgmental. Respect the feelings of the individual, remembering that it could be an important matter for them.
- Respect your personal space. When interacting with someone in distress, be aware of your posture, position, and nearness.
- Use Nonthreatening Nonverbals. Pay attention to your facial expressions, gestures, movements and voice tone. A neutral tone and body language will help to diffuse a situation.
- Maintain a healthy emotional brain. Positive thoughts such as “I can handle it” and “I know how to” will help you keep your sanity and calm down the person.
- Be present in your feelings. While facts are important, how someone feels is what matters most.
- Avoid challenging questions. Refocus your attention on how you can all work together to solve this problem.
- Don’t make the person the issue, see the ISSUE as the issue.
- Make wise decisions about what you insist upon. When deciding which rules can be negotiated and which cannot, it is important to think carefully.
- For reflection, silence is a good option. It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes silence is the best option. Silence can allow people to take stock of what is happening and reflect on how to move forward. Silence can be an effective communication tool.
- Give yourself time to make decisions. Stress levels rise when people feel rushed. Relaxing allows you to feel calm.
Listen. Listening is an effective way to purge anger.
- Acknowledge. Acknowledgement is when you can legitimately understand the anger of another person. The goal is to help the person who is angry realise that anger is not the problem. It is how they choose to express their anger.
- Agree. It’s important to agree and find the truth when trying to calm someone’s anger. It is important to confirm the truth and to agree with it when you are trying to diffuse anger.
Summary For De-Escalation
In emergency situations, de-escalation techniques can be used to reduce agitation and the risk of violence. The use of verbal techniques and a few simple tips above can make all the difference in the conflict that you approach. To learn more about conflict or communication contact our team for a tailored approach to training your employees.