STRESS MODEL of CRISIS
Baseline behavior (Normal behavior) is considered Pre-Crisis. Pre-Crisis is normal behavior that is under control.
A person/client is triggered by an event, such as being told no, redirection, preferred activity to non-preferred activity, transitions, etc.
Now, triggers can be good or bad. In this model, we can assume triggers are bad.
Triggers are where the escalation begins. Think of an escalator going up. We don’t have to get on it to go upstairs, but we choose to. The main feeling experienced here is agitation.
It’s a choice to become escalated, as I explain to my clients, this is the part of the model where the de-escalation techniques should be implemented. You will see why in a minute.
So let’s say our client is escalated, and won’t utilize any interventions. If interventions aren’t successful, and client isn’t following directions, client is headed toward outburst. We attempt to continue to de-escalate, curbing aggression. Aggression increases during this phase of the model.
Envision a volcano erupting, or the Incredible Hulk morphing into an angry beast. This is the apex of the crisis, where violence and destruction occurs. Windows get broken, staff get punched and kicked, and the volcano blows up. The client has become out of control. Something has to happen. This is the point of no return. Again, a choice has been selected here. There is still some control of behavior here, even in this stage.
Once the outburst has occurred, the client is moving toward Recovery, where you can reason with them and utilize interventions. What goes up, must come down.
That’s why it’s important to intercede and implement reasoning during the escalation phase rather than the recovery phase. When client deescalates, they are headed toward baseline (normal) behavior.
This cycle can repeat itself several times in a session, with a client or person fully recovered and can be triggered again in a matter of minutes if conditions are ripe.