Crisis Prevention, De-escalation and Recovery

Workshop Description:

People with histories of trauma are likely to have internal and external struggles that can interfere with communication, impede follow-through and generally frustrate those trying to help. In this very interactive workshop for first responders, front-line staff and social service professionals, we cover the impacts of trauma on behavior, learning and communication; trauma-sensitive relationship and rapport building; working with distressed individuals and conflict, and how to support workers in the aftermath of a traumatic event. Our very experienced trainers use scenarios, small groups and practice activities designed to support self-reflection and regulation and to gain skills in assessing and responding to a variety of escalated situations. Participants share and learn tips and techniques they use in their work at great benefit to the whole group.  Participants are encouraged to bring their questions and concerns as well as stories of working with individuals in crisis and to explore situations and circumstances they feel unprepared to handle.

Topics will include: Crisis prevention, philosophy and basics of person-centered communications, scene safety, crisis de-escalation strategies, rapport building, the role of self in any intervention, and the importance and practice of reflective debriefing.


Learning Objectives:

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe typical survival responses and triggers observed in community settings
  2. Use self-reflection and grounding processes to support emotional regulation
  3. Identify and apply practical strategies for setting limits and maintaining healthy communication with emotionally distressed people
  4. Describe verbal and non-verbal strategies to use in a crisis situation to help keep themselves and others as safe as possible
  5. Utilize grounding techniques for remaining emotionally regulated during an emotionally charged intervention or conversation
  6. Demonstrate ways of interacting with people in crisis that communicates empathy, validation and concern
  7. Summarize helpful tools for assessing a person’s well-being and need for further support or resources


Elaine Walters is the founding Executive Director and lead trainer at the Trauma Healing Project, an organization that provides professional and community training, workforce support and direct healing support for survivors. Prior to this position she coordinated the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program for the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force in Oregon. For the last 30 years she has been a consultant, trainer and community organizer working to address and eliminate intimate violence. She has designed and facilitated workshops and trainings on many related topics and has provided direct services and support to youth and adults impacted by violence, abuse and other forms of trauma and oppression. She is involved in the effort to expand accessible trauma healing and restorative resources and practices and to implement trauma-informed care locally, regionally and state-wide.

Ben Brubaker has worked in the mental health field for over two decades, having held positions such as: Crisis Worker, Mobile Crisis Worker, Hurricane Katrina Relief Operational Site Coordinator, Day Counselor for youth, AmeriCorps Team Leader, and Direct Care Provider. Ben has dedicated his life to serving disadvantaged and underserved populations.  He worked at White Bird Clinic for 15 years starting as a Crisis worker on their 24/7 Crisis Line and Walk-in Center.  Later he joined the mobile crisis intervention team (CAHOOTS) as a Crisis Worker and begin presenting internal and external trainings for the agency.  Most recently he served as the CEO/Administrative Coordinator of White Bird Clinic before stepping back to further his work training and supporting other groups who are pursuing similar mobile crisis intervention models in their communities.

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