Posts tagged Life Space Crisis Intervention
In Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) training, professionals who work with challenging students learn specific skills for understanding the dynamics of conflict and de-escalating student crises. What sets LSCI training apart from other in-service programs is its focus on the adult’s role in conflict and the opportunity professionals have to turn a crisis situation into a learning opportunity.
This video, featuring real-life footage from a high school in Boston, is a great example of how adults can sometimes escalate conflicts with students. LSCI teaches specific skills that help professionals understand the dynamics of escalating power struggles with students and control their responses to students so that all-too-common situations like this can be prevented.
For more information on LSCI training, please visit the LSCI link on this site or the LSCI Institute’s home page at www.lsci.org.
For those who have completed LSCI training and learned about how to help kids who have a pattern of justifying their aggressive or antisocial behavior, here is a hilarious example of a woman in desperate need of the Symptom Estrangement Reclaiming Intervention:
For the past several months, I have been working with my colleagues at the Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) Institute to develop a training series that helps parents understand and successfully manage conflict with their kids. Based on world-renowned LSCI principles of helping adults turn conflict situations into learning opportunities for kids, the curriculum is designed to teach parents skills for effectively tuning in to kids, listening, de-escalating conflict, and relationship-building. Parents learn about the six most common patterns of self-defeating behavior and gain skills for helping their kids overcome troubling patterns.
The LSCI Skills for Parents curriculum will be formally available in the Spring of 2012, but check out the great work that LSCI Master Trainer, Dr. JC Chambers, is already doing while piloting the course. His work is featured in the Madison Daily Leader:
For more information on the LSCI Skills for Parents training, please contact me at Signe@signewhitson.com or complete the Contact form with the details of your request.
The Conflict Cycle™ is Life Space Crisis Intervention’s (LSCI) major paradigm for understanding the dynamics of escalating power struggles between adults and children. In our training courses for parents and professionals, we explain that in times of stress and conflict, kids can create in adults their feelings, and, if not trained, adults will mirror their behaviors. In the heat of the moment, when adults do what comes naturally–what thousands of years of evolution have prepared their bodies to do–they often only make matters worse. That is why understanding the LSCI Conflict Cycle is the first line of defense against fueling further conflict.
This clip from NBC’s Parenthood is a perfect example of how Kristina gets caught in a Conflict Cycle and inadvertently mirrors Max’s behavior, thus escalating their power struggle. Ultimately, both mother and son lose out. The look of defeat on her face at the end of the clip says it all.
For more information on the LSCI Conflict Cycle and training for parents and professionals, please visit the LSCI link above or visit www.lsci.org
Usually, when I’m at the pool with my kids, my attention is focused on watching dives, adjusting goggles, and re-applying sunscreen. Last week, however, I had the great pleasure of talking to a teacher while we watched my 5-year old perform a series of Lemon Drops and Cannonballs into the water.
The conversation started because my little pool jumper is a total extrovert and has never met anyone who wasn’t a friend. She introduced herself to the adults around her, including to the teacher with whom I then began a conversation. In the course of talking about the joys of working with young kids, the veteran teacher shared with me many of the challenges she has faced over the years. One story, in particular, reminded me of the truism we always teach in Life Space Crisis Intervention training:
“The problems kids cause are not the causes of their problems.”
The story went something like this: (more…)
Last weekend, my daughter, her best friend, and I had a full day’s worth of activity and adventure, enjoying thrill rides at a local Summer Carnival, eating cotton candy, throwing darts at a balloon board for prizes, and following it all up with a late afternoon movie. It was Girl Time at its best!
Which is why I was totally blown away when, after dropping off her friend, my daughter’s answer to my innocent inquiry of, “So, what should we do for dinner?” was met with a raging, “Nothing! Can we just go home already! I think we’ve bonded enough for one day.” (more…)
I am spending my week with 150+ Trainers from the Life Space Crisis Intervention Institute, for our organization’s Trainer re-Certification Conference. You can not find a more dedicated group of educators, social workers, counselors, or mental health professionals anywhere. What an honor to be spending my days this way.
To celebrate, I am posting an article I recently wrote about using LSCI principles in parenting:
This morning, my 7-year old daughter was playing a game on one of her favorite child-friendly websites, when all of a sudden, the computer froze up. She tried practicing patience, assuming the squirrels who power our older machine were running slowly. She attempted a re-start—Mama’s trick for fixing any piece of technology. She even walked away for a bit, in an effort to soothe her frustrated nerves. Nonetheless, when I came downstairs, fresh from a shower and ready to start a great family weekend, her answer to my question of, “What would you like for breakfast, sweetpea?” was an angry “Nothing. I’m not eating. I don’t like anything we have here! Why can’t you ever buy waffles?” (more…)
Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) is an advanced, interactive therapeutic strategy for turning crisis situations into learning opportunities for children and youth with chronic patterns of self-defeating behaviors. LSCI views stressful incidents as opportunities for learning, growth, insight, and change. (more…)
6-year old Ian’s parents are going through a bitter divorce. With his estranged mom and dad still living under the same roof, Ian experiences a chaotic home environment that includes domestic violence and inconsistent care. At school, Ian often has unexplained meltdowns and major over-reactions to simple requests by his teachers. This morning, when his first period teacher asked him to take out his math homework, he called her a “Bitch” and kicked his chair to the floor. (more…)
What Are You Really Mad At? Using Life Space Crisis Intervention Skills to Help Kids Understand & Manage Anger874
This morning, my 7-year-old daughter was playing a game on one of her favorite child-friendly websites, when all of a sudden, the computer froze. She tried practicing patience, assuming the squirrels who power our older machine were running slowly. She attempted a re-start — Mama’s trick for fixing any piece of technology. She even walked away for a bit, in an effort to soothe her frustrated nerves. Nonetheless, when I came downstairs, fresh from a shower and ready to start a great family weekend, her answer to my question of, “What would you like for breakfast, sweetpea?” was an angry “Nothing. I’m not eating. I don’t like anything we have here! Why can’t you ever buy waffles?”
Each complaining sentence was louder and more irritable than the one before it. The lingering coolness of my shower quickly heated to a hot, red flush over my cheeks. My automatic reaction was to mirror my daughter’s temperature: “What are you mad at me for?” I wanted to shout. Some of the other involuntary thoughts that rushed to my mind included:
- Fine! Don’t eat. But don’t bother telling me you’re hungry in an hour.
- If you don’t like what we serve for breakfast in this house, you can go without eating!
- Why don’t you just go spend the morning in your room? I don’t deserve to be spoken to in that way.
There were a few other names and phrases that flooded my senses within the first five seconds of her Waffle Rant, but in what I would like to think of as a moment of clarity (though it was probably only a matter of me debating which unhelpful reaction to voice), I just stared at her silently. Fortunately for both of us, that moment of quiet allowed my daughter the necessary pause to regain control of her emotions and to softly say, “I’m sorry, Mama. I was just really frustrated at the computer and I took it out on you.”
From eagerness to start the day, to a flash of anger, to pride in my child’s emotional maturity (and relief that I had muted my own automatic thoughts), my emotions in that single minute of time took an intense roller coaster ride. I call it the Nothing Comes from Nothing journey.
Have you ever been in a situation with your child where “out-of-the-blue,” they seem to want to fight? You witness (and are often the recipient of) a spike of sudden and unexplained anger. Because the emotion seems unfounded (and since it is usually dumped out on you), your emotions are instantly triggered and you, too, are inspired to quick anger. A heated conflict ensues, a dent is created in your relationship, and both of you feel bewildered about the whole situation.
One of the most common self-defeating patterns of behavior among young people is this phenomena of displacement. Displacement occurs when a child takes out his anger on an unsuspecting, often undeserving target. Because the target is taken by surprise, he often reacts in a conflict-fueling way and the rest…is history. Opportunities for healthy self-expression are lost. Relationships are damaged. Both parties lose.
How can parents handle this destructive dynamic? Is there a “cure” for displacement? As with most effective parenting strategies, the answer is that management begins at a personal level.
When Your Child Explodes Into a Fit of Anger:
Pause for a Moment
Hold your reaction. The most human thing you can do is mirror his behavior and respond with equal anger, but this will only serve to escalate the conflict and miss an opportunity to teach your child something about effective anger expression.
Recognize that Nothing Comes from Nothing
Most people don’t spontaneously combust. If your child is having a big reaction, be willing to look beyond his or her surface behavior and figure out what is motivating it.
Drain Off the Emotion
The first stage of Life Space Crisis Intervention, a therapeutic strategy for turning crisis situations into learning opportunities for kids with chronic patterns of self-defeating behaviors, teaches parents and professionals that before they can rationally engage a child in a discussion about his feelings, they must first reduce the emotional intensity of the situation. “Drain Off” is accomplished through such de-escalation skills such as active listening, supportive non-verbal communication, and a whole lot of patience.
Understand the Timeline
When kids are flooded by emotions, often they lose track of what made them so angry in the first place. Once your child has calmed down to the point where he or she can talk about what is going on, ask open-ended questions (e.g. How were you feeling when you woke up this morning? What was going on before I came downstairs from my shower?) to encourage your child to recount the timeline of what led up to their outburst. This process of making a child feel heard and understood is relationship building — the precise opposite of what happens when parents allow themselves to be drawn into the conflict and to engage in relationship damaging wars of words.
Explain the Dynamic of Displacement
As you hear your child tell his story, you may begin to recognize a pattern of displacement. Continuing on with your use of questions, ask the child:
- Who were you really mad at?
- Who did you take your anger out on?
- Did that person deserve your anger?
- What can you do to mend the situation?
- What could you do to prevent the situation from occurring next time?
The use of questions empowers your child to develop insight into his or her self-defeating behavior and to feel competent in developing solutions for the situation. Role-playing skills for more effective emotional expression in the future is a helpful way to round out the process.
Management begins with us. As parents, we have the power to make a situation worse or better — a relationship damaged or improved. Understanding the dynamics of displacement and recognizing that nothing comes from nothing enables us to disengage from destructive conflict cycles and respond instead in ways that build insight in children and foster positive relationships with the ones we love.
This article was first posted in March 2011 on Mom It Forward:Life Space Crisis Intervention Skills: Looking Beyond a Child’s Surface Behavior.