On the 17th of January, there was a de-escalation training held at St. Peter and Paul Episcopal Church, where Rev. Sara Fischer is the rector. For those of you interested, yes there was coffee and snacks.
The training was given by two women who had worked together as part of Portland Street Response’s Crisis Response Team. One was still with the CRT. Their training centered around what situations volunteers may experience while offering services to unhoused people, or people who otherwise may be in a crisis situation.
The primary focal points included introducing yourself, and remaining calm, remember the talk was geared to de-escalation. Building rapport with the client was also strongly recommended by the instructors. Another of the suggested strategies was to offer choices to the upset individual. For instance, would you like to move out of the doorway and talk? Whatever choices are offered, keeping them simple and concise while talking with someone who is in an agitated state helps them to focus easier on the options available to them.
There were practice groups, and also an opportunity to rephrase common statements to be less commanding, and offer choices. For those St. Philipians who participate in the Deacon’s Dining Hall, or the Coffee Hour, there was a lot of good information shared. Since most of you reading right now are Christians, there were several parallels to the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the meek, blessed are the merciful, and blessed are the peacemakers are the first which spring to mind.
As St. Philips continues to grow spiritually, having the opportunity to share Christ’s love, as well as being prepared with skills of how to show that love in less than optimal situations is a way to build faith in ourselves, and in Christ’s body, the church. Even if the words don’t reflect scripture, they definitely reflect spirit, and hearing government employees talk about how to treat people with compassion was a blessing in itself.
— Yohaan Hall, member, St. Philip