Written by Ethan Cameron
I attended a Crisis Intervention workshop on my campus provided by CTI for the Community Justice Service students of Humber Lakeshore. Upon starting, the trainer, Tom Fulgosi, was lively, charismatic, and engaging for the large group of 50 some odd people in attendance. He introduced himself and encouraged the group to do so as well. Tom started off by telling us that he works for Seaton House; an all-male homeless shelter in the downtown core as a supervisor. Tom goes on to highlight some moments from his 20+ years of experience in working with the homeless community of Toronto where he emphasized the importance of not only defusing a situation but taking the appropriate steps and precautions when doing so. Tom’s presentation consisted of an almost step by step method for defusing a confrontation at almost any level; anywhere from answering probing questions in a respectful manner to maintaining composure when faced with a hostile client threatening physical violence. The presentation heavily emphasized the importance of self-care and how the “inner voice” in all of us affects us as workers in the community when dealing with a crisis situation. Tom explained, it is important to remain grounded and mindful, especially when faced with crisis because by being mindful of seemingly unimportant factors such as body language and our own personal triggers, can de-escalate a situation or even avoid the crisis altogether. In my opinion, the most important aspect I took away from this training is the arousal cycle and how the cycle affects those with past trauma. The arousal cycle explains after a triggering event the body’s fight or flight response is activated increasing adrenaline while simultaneously decreasing a person’s reasoning and intricate thought ability; showing how the two are directly correlated. However, while most people start off in the middle of this scale, meaning they are relaxed and reasonable, a person with past trauma is more likely to be high within the arousal cycle from the beginning as to avoid reliving past trauma. This is helpful for a student such as myself, who hopes to work with individuals who have lived through trauma because it shows that what might seem like an unreasonably irritable or aggressive person can potentially be someone with trauma reacting to a triggering event. All in all, Tom put on an impactful and engaging presentation for the Criminal Justice Services students at Humber that showed everyone how being self-aware and mindful of both yourself and your client is the most effective skill in crisis intervention.