A problem that sometimes comes up during crisis intervention, is competition. (try our cpi training online or our crisis intervention certificate) Competition among staff. As responders, we need to consider how much of a negative impact our “competition” might have on our ability to handle a crisis. I believe it’s huge. Let’s say, for example, I’m going in to de-escalate little Johnny, and you disagree with the way I’m doing it. You think maybe I’m being too soft, you may think I’m not enforcing a limit well enough, or you may think that I’m being too hard on him. Yet in that moment, as long as I’m not doing anything that is putting him at risk of harm, when do we talk about it? When are we going to work it out? In that moment? Should I stop you mid crisis, in the middle of your de-escalation effort and say, “I’ve got this. Let me handle it.” No. I believe this comes after the fact.
You and I need to talk offline about where I was going with my actions, or what I was thinking, so that you understand more about the situation, and perhaps see it from my perspective. The problem develops when you’re off to the side watching me de-escalate little Johnny, and I say something you disagree with. I can see you, or out of the corner of his eye Johnny sees you, and knows you disagree with how I am handling things. Now there’s a divide. Now you and I as coworkers are visibly on different sides of the fence. The last thing we want is to appear divided, when someone is in crisis becoming verbally hostile and aggressive, and potentially threatening physical harm.
No matter what I may be thinking at that moment, my responsibility is to back you up, and support your efforts. I may not agree one hundred percent with the way you’re going about a successful resolution to the crisis, but if you’re being effective, and that individual is de-escalating, I’m going to back you up. Afterwards, I’m going to pull you aside to discuss my concerns so I might better understand your perspective, offer some positive feedback, or give some corrective criticism. It’s always vital in helping to build comradery and teamwork, but we have to know that competing against each other, especially in front of a patient or aggressive person, is absolutely the wrong thing to do.