Crisis Prevention and Crisis De-escalation

PCM starts with true prevention


De-escalation is a strongly emphasized aspect of many systems of physical restraint. Professional Crisis Management (PCM) includes a de-escalation component, but it places great importance on, and contains extensive information regarding the effective and complete prevention of aggressive behavior before it begins.

PCM emphasizes prevention and de-escalation because:

Preventing aggressive behavior before it occurs reduces risk of injury to students or individuals receiving services, as well as to staff. Although not every incidence of aggression can be predicted and prevented with 100% reliability, using pro-active prevention methods can greatly reduce these episodes.

Once individuals have started to become upset or agitated and are on their way to engaging in crisis behaviors, it is often very difficult to “turn around their behavior” at that point. Managing crisis behaviors begins when everyone is happy, calm and receptive to learning specific skills that will reduce the need for de-escalation or physical restraint.

Teachers and staff members who are constantly de-escalating individuals can become “burned-out”. De-escalation is hard work and if it continues on an on-going basis, it is an indication that there is a fundamental behavioral need that is not being addressed “up front”.

An important behavioral principle that applies to physical aggression is called “momentum”. Once behaviors have happened (like the mildly agitated and off task behaviors that result in de-escalation), the more they are likely to keep happening. Individuals who are repeatedly allowed to get to the point of displaying these behaviors (what PCMA refers to as “pre-crisis behaviors”) get into the habit of engaging in them regularly. By addressing them before they happen we not only avoid crisis, but also reduce these less serious, but still inappropriate behaviors.

Everyone wants to live, work and learn in a place where people stay calm, happy and productive!


PCM has the most comprehensive "true" prevention and de-escalation component of any crisis management training.