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Restraint Reduction

Whilst we accept that there may be some extreme circumstances where people may be need to be restrained to keep them or other people safe, there are so many times where restraint becomes part of an established routine and people accept it as a practice. One of our major goals at Studio 3 is to reduce and eradicate the use of all forms restraint. We passionately believe that in order to manage challenging situations we must first look at our own reactions to crisis situations, and what we could do to prevent them from re-occurring. 


The following outlines the Studio 3 approach to restraint and its reduction:


1. Restraint should only be a last resort. People often say this, but in reality the last resort can  often become the first resort ( Deveau and McDonnell, 2007).

2. Always teach alternatives to restraint.

3. Never accept restraint as inevitable

4. Restraint is never therapeutic


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If you are interested in reducing your own or your staff's use of restraint, take a look at our training and coaching options to learn more effective and humane ways to de-escalate challenging situations.


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We are supporters of the Restraint Reduction Network, and actively work to reduce restrictive practices in the UK and beyond.

Freedom from Restraint and Seclusion: The Studio 3 Approach

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The restraint and seclusion of vulnerable people is a pressing issue in the care industry. Whether you are a parent, professional or practitioner, it is important to dare to dream, and focus on making these practices a thing of the past. Many vulnerable people do not want to apply coercive methods, but can often struggle to see an alternative. For 30 years, the Studio 3 organisation, led by Professor Andrew McDonnell, has championed approaches that not only reduce the practice of restraint and seclusion, but also aim to eradicate it.


This book is for any practitioner or family member supporting individuals in crisis. The Low Arousal Approach, designed and implemented by Studio 3, has been applied in a variety of different care settings, and is also becoming more popular in schools and classrooms. Applying the Low Arousal Approach to behaviour management and crisis situations is a complicated process. This book is full of honest examples about how to achieve restraint and seclusion elimination goals. This is a difficult and emotional subject, and readers may feel challenged by some elements of this book. The Studio 3 approach to crisis management described in this book focuses on changing supporters’ own behaviour rather than the behaviour of often vulnerable and distressed people in crisis. The Studio 3 approach has been successfully applied in the area of restraint and seclusion de-compression and eradication in a variety of settings across the UK and Europe. Hopefully, this book will help readers to think about their own approaches to crisis management, and encourage them to support the restraint elimination movement in our care industries.

"This is a philosophy and an approach that is at the spine and the heart of our organisation."

Restraint Reduction Resources 

Lived Experience Account of Restraint in Schools

This short video contains the real lived experience of a young person who has witnessed and been a victim of restraint in a school setting. Listening to the voices of people who have experienced restraint and seclusion is a key part of the change process. At Studio 3, we do not believe in using aversive consequences of any kind.

Understanding the Studio 3 Approach to Physical Interventions - Terminology

This article is the first in a series of discussions around physical interventions training in the crisis management industry, and Studio 3's approach to physical skills. In this article, Professor Andrew McDonnell discusses the issue of terminology.

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Is Physical Restraint Ever Justified?

Educational Adviser and co-director of the Studio 3 LASER programme Gareth D. Morewood tackles the question of whether physical restraint is ever justified in schools.

Understanding the Studio 3 Approach to Physical Interventions - Listening to Our Consumers

This article is the second in a series of discussions around physical interventions training in the crisis management industry, and Studio 3's approach to physical skills. In this article, Professor Andrew McDonnell discusses the importance of listening to the consumers of services, and people with lived experience of being restrained and secluded.

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