Workshop – UN_ESCALATE May 2022

Why “de-escalate” when you can choose to UN_ESCALATE ?

UN_ESCALATE is different: starts in a different place and carves a different path.

These are difficult times and this is difficult work: how might we approach it first as human beings?


Many asked at the end of other workshops:
“Do you do anything on de-escalation?” My usual response was “no because I don’t think of it that way.” Then three years ago I took on the challenge and asked myself: “Ok,  so how do I see it and what might I offer ?” and this is it.

Most “de-escalation trainings” is focused on an assumption that a client is “escalating” and is thus “in-need-of-need-de-escalating” by an expert – a worker – who is expert in “de-escalating” clients who are deemed to be “in-need-of-de-escalating”.
And, if that sounds like circular logic, that’s because it is.


Different, and intentionally so.

Starts in a different place and carves a different path.

Shares ideas, tools from many sources including: systems thinking and relational dynamics, peace building, peer support, health promotion, generative somatics, and life.

Focused on ways we can critically examine how services are designed and operated , to not do – or to undo – some of the many things that get done to people who access services that lead them to react in ways that get called “escalating” and results in them being deemed a “person in need of de-escalation”. 

If we do this then, maybe, we’ll find ourselves thinking that we need to “de-escalate” another  person less often.

“Yeah, we do things round here all the time that ‘escalate’ people, then when they tell us we suck we ban them.”

UN_ESCALATE : Some basic assumptions.

No individual escalates all by themself. We each “escalate“: in response to something in our environment, and in context of our whole life experience.

Whatever a person is doing is both an expression of a deeply felt need, and a survival response.

Whatever survival response we tend to fall back on is likely one that we’ve learned from how life has treated us and one that’s worked so far… but is also not the only one and may not the best one for this moment.

The only person I can “de-escalate” is me. None of us can “de-escalate” another.

We can though, act to de-escalate the situation in which we both find ourselves.

We can also critically examine how we design and deliver services so we can generate environments that are less likely to drive people to “escalate” so that we will think we “need to de-escalate them” less often.

Some Questions...

  • Q. How might we draw upon experiences of being in the role of  worker required to “de-escalate” a person said to be “in need of de-escalation”?
  • Q. How might we draw upon experiences of having been that person said to be “in need of de-escalation”?
  • Q. How might we go beyond the operationalization, steps, and rules-based approach of  “de-escalation” and instead UN_ESCALATE?

This is a one-day workshop in three parts, offered here over three half-days, three Monday mornings in May 2022.


a WORKshop for WORKers…

Sharing ideas, thinking tools and practical stuff you can use so you can suck less.

This workshop is designed to share some ideas , tools and approaches we can use to examine how we can change the way we approach situations in which it is usually said that an individual is “in need of de-escalation”.

Part One shares and examines some ideas on how we might look upon and understand how escalation works and how power plays out in that.

Part Two creates opportunity – after a few days reflection- to explore using some of these ideas, individually and or in combination, to examine how we work in services in ways that lead people to “escalate” and generate practical ideas for changing how we work in these situations, including systemic changes and also personal choices we make in how we go about the work.

– including generating ideas for change in our own work and practices and also: different choices we can make starting from our next shift.

Part Three: Skills Practice. Working in small groups, you’ll create real scenarios you come across in your work and want time to practice: thinking, doing differently, using the ideas and tools shared in parts 1 & 2, feeling how it feels in your body, reflecting and building confidence.

  • Designed as small, interactive, participatory workshop .
  • Spaces are Limited [20 spaces]. 



Part 1: Monday  9th May  2022 9:30am to 1:30pm

Part 2: Monday 16th May 2022 9:30am to 1:30pm

Part 3: Monday 30th May 2002 9:30am to 1:30pm

Also includes ongoing support by email.


Some concessions available.


Register online now. Through Eventbrite


Kevin Healey


Church of The Holy Trinity,
10 Trinity Square

[next to Eaton Centre]

Poster pdf:

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