Difficult, Disturbing & Dangerous Behaviour


Although actual violence is thankfully rare, staff often have to work in highly volatile, frightening and potentially dangerous situations. The "fear of the unknown" extends not just to how service users may behave towards us, but also to how we might react. What if our bodies rebel and our minds seize up?

Delivered in a dramatic "fringe theatre" style, this workshop prepares staff for those critical moments where there is little time to think and the margin for error is very small. Incidents are narrated and then dramatised by the trainer followed by critical examination and clarification of good practice.

This workshop is a stark contrast to the usual "Managing Aggression" courses providing a fascinating and practical journey through the world of violence and aggression. The training is supported by the book "Facing Danger in the Helping Professions" by Iain Bourne.


The workshop can be run over one, two, three or more days. As a rough guide:

  • The one-day workshop is suitable for staff who need to know how to respond effectively when faced with dangerous behaviour, but where this is not a major concern within the work setting.

  • The two-day course is for staff who are likely face dangerous behaviour within their work setting and knowing how to respond effectively is essential.

  • The longer courses are for staff where facing danger is a major feature of their work and where policies, procedures and skills need to be thoroughly integrated.



On this course participants will:

  • Develop a clear mental map of the different forms and levels of difficult, disturbing and dangerous behaviour

  • Become familiar with the Defusing and De-escalation Skills involved in containing difficult and potentially violent behaviour

  • Explore the relation between the brain and body during moments of acute stress

  • Discover how to harness their personal resources and bodily reactions when under threat

  • Learn how to use Rapid Reaction Skills in containing highly emotionally charged and uncontrolled behaviour

  • Explore how to assess risk on site while lone-working and undertake appropriate safeguards

  • Learn how to use Psychosis Containment Skills involved in responding to people whose behaviour is influenced by alcohol, drugs or florid psychosis


This covers everything on the One Day Course, and in addition course participants will:

  • Develop a fuller understanding of the skill sets involved in working with people in acute psychotic states

  • Identify skills and procedures for working effectively alongside colleagues to contain a crisis (Crisis Teamwork Skills)

  • Review issues relating to managing safety in the workplace

  • Explore the principles in dealing with violence that takes place in a variety of group settings (bystanders, gang, mob, classroom)

  • Consider good practice in relation to working with vulnerable adults in the community

  • Address issues relating personal threats, intimidation and coercion

  • Clarify post-incident support needs


The longer courses (3-5 days) cover everything in the one and two day course and in addition, depending on requirements, participants will:

  • Practice and refine their Defusing, Deescalation, Rapid Reaction and Psychosis Containment Skills

  • Critically examine a wider range of incidents occurring in the workplace and the associated skill sets

  • Review and revise local policies and procedures for managing interpersonal risk

  • Identify good practice involved in ongoing work with high risk service users

  • Prepare and practice cascaded training programmes for implementation within their own organisation

  • Explore the use of appropriate physical interventions