Managing Signs of Distress

Studio 3's Managing Signs of Distress (formerly Managing Challenging Behaviour or MCB) course is a three-day BILD-certificated programme which promotes a person-centred approach to crisis management. Our philosophy is to approach behaviours of concern in a gentle and dignified way by providing a better understanding and insight into what causes an individual to become distressed, and through the use of low arousal approaches and gentle physical skills. In essence, we provide de-escalation training which not only seeks to control crisis situations, but avoid them altogether.

We provide physical interventions training as a template on how to manage violence and aggression, whilst working to reduce the unnecessary use of physical restraint amongst carers and family members alike. Our trainers work with course participants to tailor the course to suit the needs of individual services, and to ensure the needs of these services are met. ​

Signe Lo Scott Larsen

on Low Arousal and Crisis Management

'The Low Arousal approach enables practitioners to avoid punitive consequences, and seek solutions that reduce high levels of arousal in the individual – i.e. strategies that regulates the person’s aggression or agitation in high-risk situations. It is argued that such an approach can improve functional assessment and positive behaviour support strategies in care settings'

Man struggling to manage a crisis situation

Physical Interventions Training During the Covid Crisis

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, all face-to-face training has been suspended. As a result, we have converted most of our training to be delivered online. This includes, on a case-by-case basis only and with a strict set of guiding principles, online physical interventions training. Our philosophy is to teach as few physical interventions as possible on all training courses. However, we accept that some staff and families may require specific training, particularly in the current circumstances. Our guiding principles are as follows:

  1. We will never give people videos or written materials to learn physical procedures themselves

  2. Live training can be given to small groups (4-6 people) in physical interventions by a Studio 3 instructor. This can be done online, and follows the essential structure of our Managing Challenging Behaviour course. This is offered on a bespoke basis only – please contact our office for more information at or call 01225 334 111.

  3. Face-to-face training in physical interventions can only be authorised after a Training Needs Analysis, recommended in the Restraint Reduction Network (RRN) code, has been carried out. 


Studio 3 have delivered face-to-face physical interventions training during the Covid crisis only in circumstances where it has been deemed absolutely necessary. In these situations, there would have to be a clear agreement between the respective organisation and Studio 3 for the training to proceed.

Crisis Management Training Objectives:

  1. To increase staff confidence in the management of behaviour of concern

  2. To instill in staff the principles and benefits of working within a non-aversive framework

  3. To demonstrate to staff the importance of understanding how their own behaviours can affect others

  4. To provide staff with the skills to defuse challenging situations with the aim of negating the need for physical intervention

  5. To provide staff with an understanding of some of the causes of challenging behaviour and that individuals are not always in control of their actions

  6. To make staff aware of the importance of working within the law and the need for and use of policies

  7. To emphasise the importance of de-briefing after incidents

  8. To provide staff with a range of physical intervention skills which are safe and acceptable to both staff and service users alike

But What If?

This course is designed to help staff cope with the vast majority of crisis situations, but there will always be incidents that fall outside the remit of the basic course. When there are individuals who are so distressed that additional support is needed, we are happy to make our trainers available to visit your service to work with the client alongside their carers. A major part of this work will include putting

together individualised plans to manage and prevent the re-occurrence of behaviour of concern.

Inquire about Managing Signs of Distress Training

Contact Us

Thanks for submitting!

Course Summary

The core 3-day training course has a number of different options. Some organisations we support chose to increase the elements of low arousal (de-escalation training) to 1 and 2 day modules. They may then choose to make the use of physical interventions on a prescription-only basis.

Some organisations apply our core training in its entirety, and all staff who encounter behaviours of concern take the core course. An increasing number of organisations, based on their incident data, will have a ‘bespoke’ or tailor made approach from Studio 3. The course content is as follows:


DAY 1:  The first day of the course goes into legal issues, understanding the nature of violence expressed by people with learning difficulties, and carers’ own reactions and tolerances to challenging behaviour. In addition, it seeks to provide a framework for understanding the causes of challenging behaviour, an introduction to low arousal approaches (including interaction, defusion and distraction strategies), an introduction to debriefing (why it is necessary and how to do it) and finally a section on managing versus changing behaviours.

DAY 2: The second day of the course combines gentle physical skills with the skills learnt on the first day. Studio 3 feel very strongly that physical skills are very much the last resort and no matter how gentle they are, we would prefer not to use them at all. However, being practical, there are times when they will be necessary.

DAY 3:  The third day of the course allows plenty of time for practising the low arousal approaches and physical skills together. The last element of the course is  learning to walk a client around in a safe way, allowing them time to calm down. This technique of using movement to defuse a situation has the added benefit of not employing any form of immobilisation which in itself can be highly arousing. We want to emphasise that the philosophy of the course is to use restraint as little as possible and that often, if we know what to do, we can back off and defuse an incident. Any time that we use restraint it is an admission that we have run out of other things to do. Finally, the trainers will role-play a client with each course member. These role-plays will test the various skills learnt on the course and necessitate the use of restraint.

All of our courses are BILD certificated. Please contact our office for more information

UKAS CYMK Product Certification.jpg