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Fri Aug 28, 2020, 01:03 AM

How Social Workers Like Me Can --And Do -- Deescalate Dangerous Situations Every Day

One meme I saw showed a naked man standing on the roof of a building with his fists in the air, captioned with the words, “Can’t wait to see how the social worker handles this one.” But when I looked at that picture, I knew exactly how a social worker would handle that situation.  

Even as a novice, I managed to do this by remaining calm and engaging on a human-to-human level, showing respect and care for my clients, no matter how difficult their behavior. That meant that even if a client was being disrespectful or yelling in my face, I ignored that behavior and engaged him. Then — and now — I utilized open-ended questions, asking the client to tell me more about what upset them in the moment. I empathized and validated the client’s feelings by saying something like, “I am so sorry this is happening to you. I understand why you are so upset.” Sometimes I asked the client to take a few breaths or a moment to calm down, so that I could find the best way to help in the situation.

I would stress that I wanted to minimize any further consequences due to the disruptive behavior. At Covenant House, I would explain that I wanted to make sure he did not get discharged for fighting. When a client would see that I was genuinely interested in helping, he would generally calm down.  

So that meme asking how a social worker would handle a naked man on the roof? Well, I’d do what I was trained to do: I’d respectfully engage him using a calm voice and relaxed body posture showing sincere empathy. That’s how you help a vulnerable person during a crisis.   

https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5f3fdb20c5b6763e5dc27c90

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Reply How Social Workers Like Me Can --And Do -- Deescalate Dangerous Situations Every Day (Original post)
SunSeeker Aug 2020 OP
Devil Child Aug 2020 #1
SunSeeker Aug 2020 #2
Devil Child Aug 2020 #3
SunSeeker Aug 2020 #4

Response to SunSeeker (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 01:57 PM

1. I am a social worker with a license to practice in two states.

With 10 years experience in acute suicide prevention and crisis mobile team field work. We often staged with PD if there is any question of active threats of danger to self or danger to others. I would refuse any call in which I wasn’t able to coordinate with PD, FD, or EMS if ANY concern of safety presented.

I have been bit, punched, spit on, kicked, shoved, and called every nasty word imaginable by clients in crisis. Part of the job I but not something I would want any of my peers to experience. I am eternally thankful for the professionalism I have seen daily in the first responders I worked with daily. YMMV.

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Response to Devil Child (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 02:14 PM

2. Have you or the first responders with you ever had to shoot someone? nt

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 02:19 PM

3. Thankfully, no.

But I have experienced coworkers and social worker peers who have history of being assaulted by clients in the course of their work. A highly traumatic event that has contributed to some seeking career change.

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Response to Devil Child (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 02:56 PM

4. Kinda makes the point of the article.

As dangerous as your work is, in 10 years you've never had to shoot anyone.

Thank you for serving people in need.

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