Darren Good is a Conflict Resolution Trainer of many years standing with a keen interest in personal safety for people working in public facing organisations and therefore vulnerable environments. Darren is a ‘graduate’ of the National Federation for Personal Safety (NFPS) and a follower of the ethos embodied within that organisation run by Mark Dawes.
GoodSense Conflict Resolution Training is dedicated to helping people in their place of work; under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 employees can expect their employers to exercise a duty of care for their Health Safety and Welfare, this duty of care extends to the patients and others in the care of those organisations, and of course the Human Rights Act 1998 maintains the right to Life (Article 2) of all parties concerned.
Conflict Resolution, then, pre supposes that a person is not seeing sense, for whatever, and requires to be dealt with in some way for the protection of his/her own life and similarly for the staff personnel who may have to deal with a disturbing situation. We recommend a process entitled ‘Polite’.
Where staff are positioned in relation to the would be aggressor, this is important as far as;
Being able to see clearly the dynamics of the situation e.g. where is the threat coming from, how many people are involved, can I observe the persons/peoples body language because that will tell me what their intentions are.
Looking for incongruent behaviour suggesting an altered state of mind, possibly caused by narcotics (or alcohol – or both) whether prescribed or otherwise.
It should be remembered that most body language is innate – not learned – and as such is automatic – we do not ‘learn’ how to blush for example, therefore by actively reading the protagonists innate body language we should have a clue to their pre disposition for violence.
There are five levels of listening:
- Not Listening
- Pretend Listening
- Selective Listening
- Active Listening
- Empathic Listening
By use of ‘open questions’ we can elicit a telling response from our subject/s but it is important that we use ’Active Listening’ in order to not provide our own answers to the question and that we actually treat our subject with the courtesy that they deserve by understanding what they have said. It may take some people a massive amount of effort to give their answer; it is no less valid and probably profoundly telling if only people would take them seriously.
Further; Empathic listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding … Combined skills of paying attention to the person in question and employing empathy allows us to ‘hear’ what the person is really saying. Empathy means putting yourself in the other persons shoes and provides a deeper level of understanding and rapport.
When your unconscious has seen something which you are not consciously aware of yet.
We have five senses plus 1 – our Instinct for survival keeps us alive – providing we listen to it ( we ignore it at our peril!)
Communication is about passing information to one another, through Words, Tone, and Non – verbal signals. It is important that in our talking we use empathy and build rapport, and it is vital that we match our body language to our words – otherwise we can say one thing and our body language will say something else.
Eye contact is a profoundly important communication skill, in that by reading the facial expression of the patient we may be able to discern much about their state of mind, their intentions, indeed the level of attention that they are paying to ourselves. There are cultural influences in which eye contact between participants is problematical; in some cultures no eye contact happens between men and women outside of their family networks and between young persons and elders of their respective communities. It must not be assumed, therefore, that someone who will not make eye contact is being disrespectful or untrustworthy. However, in the main eye contact can be a very useful tool in understanding communications between one another.
Using GoodSense Conflict Resolution Techniques the need for further restrictive action may be removed – nobody wants to use restraint techniques unless absolutely necessary – the last resort because of a perceived risk to life and limb. GoodSense decrees that such action is likely to cause damage to patient and staff alike. And there is also a risk of serious harm being done by the unwary – or the unprofessional! Whilst visiting a supermarket with a colleague I watched four Police personnel holding a ‘culprit’ down in a prone position on a solid floor. The young man, approximately 20 years old, was handcuffed and had an ERB (Emergency Restraint Belt) around his legs. The lad was unable to move, when I spoke to one of the officers about getting the lad onto his side ASAP I was told to **** off!
The Criminal Justice Act of 1967 states that one may use force against another if it is necessary, proportionate and therefore reasonable. Question, Is it necessary for four large men to hold down one skinny lad? Possibly – it depends on what the lad had been taking or was up to. Was it necessary to handcuff him? Yes, for his own and their protection. Was it necessary to restrict his leg movements by means of the ERB? Possibly because of the damage that could be inflicted by kicking and the risk of harm to himself and of course the possibility of him getting off the floor and running away – with handcuffs on? Unlikely. Was it proportionate? That was a judgement call on the part of the officers. However, had the lad suffered from positional asphyxia by being held (!) prostrated with weight on his limbs and back for an unreasonable period of time, then in a Court of Law I suspect that those restraints/actions would have been held to be unreasonable!
In conclusion, Conflict Resolution is NOT about knee jerk reactions! Conflict Resolutions is about using GoodSense methodology, by adopting a rational approach, by not opting for irrational actions but by selecting methods that are proven to be safe and by using self control and an empathetic approach to Conflict Resolution we act as professionals and not unthinking thugs.
Good Sense Conflict Resolution Training runs regular courses for Health Care Professionals, Education and Management Professionals and can be accessed by visiting www.good-sense.co.uk