De-escalation in mental health care: a review of non-physical conflict management techniques

Richter, Dirk
January 2007
BMC Psychiatry;2007 Supplement 1, Vol. 7, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Until present, conflict management in mental health care relies much on physical techniques. Not surprisingly, research literature on interpersonal de-escalation in medical sciences, social sciences and psychology is rare. This presentation reviews rules and techniques that are applicable to mental health care. Based on empirical data and theoretical models on the emergence of violence in psychiatry, following issues are discussed in detail: stress and anger management of staff, basic de-escalation rules, body language, facial expressions, verbal interventions. It is concluded that de-escalation in mental health care is still in its beginnings.


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