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15. Dangerous Behaviour - Three Rules!

The point of these postings is not simply to develop a better understanding of dangerous behaviour but to use that understanding to identify how we can respond most effectively. I will return to the underlying theory, but for know I want paint some very broad brushstrokes that might help guide our explorations.

 

These rules, in my view, are inviolate and the consequence of breaking any of them can be catastrophic. Dangerous behaviour is also hugely complex, emotionally overwhelming and fast moving – it takes away our ability to think before we act. As a consequence, we need simple rules to guide our quasi-automatic responses.

 

Unfortunately, the “rules” we are often offered prove to be false Gods. Take, for example the most often heard advice when faced with dangerous behaviour – “Stay Calm!” That’s what as professionals we should do, obviously. None-the-less, this is poor guidance.  There is nothing wrong with being calm – if you are! If you are not calm, however, telling yourself to stay calm (when in crisis) just leads to panic. Furthermore, if you are not calm and you try to hide it you become unreadable or misread and this may provoke escalation rather than containment. It also diverts all your energy into battling with yourself, when that energy would be far better used to respond to the crisis in front of you. Finally, our bodies are not stupid. They react the way they do for good reason – in this situation, for you and now.

 

There are far more problems with “rules” like “stay calm” than there are benefits. I will be challenging the received wisdom about how to respond to immediately dangerous behaviour, and I invite readers (if there are any) challenge (improve) my three rules.

 

In the following posts I will develop these rules and then move from guidance to specific and detailed practice. Here we go, blandly and without explanation:

 

1.        Do something

2.        Keep it simple

3.        Trust your body

 

Doesn’t sound impressive? Over-simplistic? Let’s see …

 

Stay safe

Iain



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