Crisis Intervention with the Hostile/Aggressive Individual

One or Two Day Program

About this Workshop This accredited 2 Day Program has been approved for agencies serving children, youth and adults. This workshop has been redesigned to address the recommendations arising from inquests surrounding the use of restraints (controls). The inquest juries recommended that individuals working in the field of human services understand the dangers of and the inappropriate use of restraints (controls).

CTI's approach to crisis training has always been focused on prevention. Our skills training program teaches the importance of (1) building relationships with clients; (2) understanding the clients’ intra and interpersonal dynamics; (3) enhancing the role of staff as facilitators of learning. Our program covers the following components:

Self Awareness and Self Management

  • Interpersonal Awareness

  • Intervention Skills that Focus on Defusing and Problem Solving

  • Self Protection and Team Restraint/Team Controls as a means to utilizing a Problem Solving Approach

  • Contra indicators to restraints including negotiating how you will work together if the client displays aggressive behaviour

  • Defusing and Debriefing, including Renegotiating New behaviours

  • Analysis of the Culture of the Organization

The Individual in Context Individuals in crisis who feel helpless and out of control may deal with this through withdrawal, depression, suicide attempts, angry outbursts and/or violent attacks. This workshop teaches staff to respond to clients by using enhanced personal awareness, appropriate verbal and non verbal interventions and active disengaging skills. Participants learn to utilize the principles of empowerment, clarity and coalition building to
defuse arousal, assist clients to regain control and work with them co-operatively through

Program Objectives

  • To explore the dynamics of anger and hostility

  • To increase self-awareness

  • To learn to utilize a grounded and centered approach in responding to clients who

  • overtly act out

  • To enhance interpersonal awareness and skills by employing techniques that reduce

  • physiological arousal during conflict situations

  • To develop effective verbal and non-verbal approaches for responding to anger, hostility

  • and resistance

  • To identify and explore challenging crisis situations and enhance personal and

  • interpersonal skills in simulations

  • To foster a holistic intervention approach, integrating the personal and professional self

  • when dealing with clients in crisis

  • To enhance staffs’ ability to disengage from attacks, by strengthening their self

  • confidence and their ability to focus on the dynamics that clients’ acting out behaviors

  • may be attempting to express

  • Using a trauma informed approach will grow to increase understanding of the application

  • of safe controls and to understand the contra-indicators to the use of controls including

  • the impact on the individuals quality of life

  • To enhance knowledge, skill and understanding for clients, staff and the organization

  • when debriefing an explosive incident

  • To assess the working environment in terms of basic safety and security

  • To analyze organizational policies, procedures and practices that may contribute to the

  • potential for aggression and acting out behaviors

This 2-day program is highly interactive and experiential. CTI uses the key Principles of Adult Learning with all of its training. In all settings CTI modifies its design to ensure that the organizational context and work is taken into consideration in the planning and development of the program.

Overview of Day 1

Day 1 focuses on the goals guiding our learning activities. We create an environment that supports participation, ownership and learning. Such an environment allows us to concentrate on what each person brings to the crisis situation. By exploring the participants’ experiences of crisis and their anger management styles, we come to a better understanding of the factors that influence crisis and anger. Through simulations of real life work situations we clarify understanding of the dynamics that contribute to the escalation of anger and aggression, and have the participants practice both defusion and disengagement skills. The final session teaches understanding of clients’ non-verbal cues and stresses the need to initiate early contact with the client in order to focus on empowerment, clarity and coalition building.


Structure of Day 1

  • Arrival, introduction, course overview, completion of pre-test

  • Crisis defined and explored

  • Personal challenges and goals for the workshop

  • Teaching staff awareness of their own anger and how this may influence their responses and reactions to angry and aggressive Clients

  • Factors and dynamics which affect crisis and anger

  • Impact of the social environment (empowerment, clarity, and coalition)

  • The spiral escalation model

  • Non-verbal cues and their importance in identifying and responding to client needs

  • Check-in on the learnings and experience of the day

Overview of Day 2

Day 2 focuses on client engagement, through the exploration of behavioural and physiological models of crisis escalation. Participants practice strategies and skills for reducing the level of arousal and utilizing a problem solving focus. Day 2 is a very intense day for participants, involving them in a number of simulations, designed by the participants during Day 1. These simulations allow them to practice intervention and to learn the skills of defusing. This day will also focus on defusing skills that work across different developmental levels that people with intellectual challenges may exhibit.


Structure of Day 2

  • Check in and review of previous day’s and evening’s activities

  • Frameworks for understanding crisis escalation

  • Precipitating causes of crisis escalation

  • An exploration of the agency cultures and their impact on participant behaviour

  • Practice in active listening skills and utilization of these skills in client crisis situations

  • Defusing hostility, setting limits and being assertive during conflict

  • Strategies for managing conflict, resistance and aggressive behaviour across differences

  • Practice of these skills in crisis situations; such as explosive outbursts and suicidal behaviour. Other situations have included working with clients who have intellectual challenges, dual diagnosis and other behaviors that may accompany these issues

  • Intro to self protection and disengaging skills

  • Practical skills teaching: how to centre oneself during a crisis through relaxation including the skills of deep breathing and release of tension from the major muscle groups within the body

  • Check in on the learnings and experience of the day

Training Request Form

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