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De-escalation: Effective Communication to Manage Distress

Gain the skills to identify and de-escalate an agitated person while keeping yourself and others safe. Gain confidence in managing distress and aggression, and strategies for self-control. Learn the role of communication and the importance of debriefing following a challenging situation.



This workshop will equip you with the skills to identify and de-escalate an agitated person while keeping yourself and others safe. Gain confidence in managing distress and aggression while maintaining self-control. The ability to calm and de-escalate a situation is an essential skill for every person and is important in many work environments.

Overview and Learning Intentions

  • Understand why people become angry or defensive 

  • Recognise early warning signs

  • Learn a range of assertive techniques to help people regain control

  • Understand the role of communication

  • Develop strategies for self-control in the face of aggressive and or distressed behaviour

  • The importance of debriefing following challenging situations

Let's Get Real

1. Working with people experiencing mental health and addiction needs

2. Working with Māori

3. Working with whānau 

4. Working within communities

7. Maintaining professional and personal development

Facilitated by Dr Chris Taua 

PhD, RN, BN, MN(Distinction), PGC(MH), CAdTch, FNZCMHN

Chris Taua is an educational specialist deeply committed to mental health, cultural safety, and disability advocacy. Drawing from her extensive experience as an experienced mental health nurse, she brings a wealth of practical and research informed insight to her teaching and research pursuits. Her doctoral studies were centred on enhancing nursing care for individuals contending with intellectual and developmental disabilities alongside mental health challenges, a journey that earned her recognition with a prestigious Fulbright award, where she presented her work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

As the Director of her own organisation [Pumahara Consultants] specialising in professional development, workplace consultancy and professional supervision, Chris is unwavering in her dedication to supporting staff, teams and services as they endeavour to assist individuals with multifaceted health and social needs. Her teaching portfolio spans vital topics including mental health, disability, de-escalation techniques, safe practice, effective communication, and the significance of maintaining safe boundaries and culturally sensitive approaches. Chris supports a team of Associates who offer a varied range of topics as well.

Through her holistic approach to teaching and learning, Chris aims to empower professionals and support staff with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complexities of caregiving in an inclusive manner. Beyond her organisational commitments, Chris remains actively engaged in academia, contributing as a sessional lecturer at various universities in Aotearoa NZ and Australia. Additionally, she serves as an Accredited Mental Health First Aid Aotearoa Instructor, furthering her impact in mental health education and support initiatives.

 Workshop Type: Introductory | Workshop Level: Four | Catering: Refreshments and light lunch provided

Terms and Conditions

  • Cancellations made up to 10 working days before a workshop will incur a $39 service fee.

  • Cancellations (or non-attendance) made 10 working days or less will not be refunded and the full workshop fee will be charged. 

  • No fee applies if you are able to find a replacement participant.

  • MHERC reserves the right to cancel a workshop at any time due to unforeseen circumstances or insufficient registrations.

  • Only one person may view a webinar session per registration.

Please read our full Terms and Conditions before registering.


You will need

• Headset and Microphone
• Built-in laptop camera or attachable webcam device (for laptop or PC)
• Stable broadband connection 

Minimum System Requirements
• As a guide, if you are able to Skype or watch online videos (eg: YouTube) from your device, your system requirements should be capable.

Operating System

Windows 7 and above
Mac OS X 10.6 and above

Internet Explorer 7 and above
Firefox - Latest version
Chrome - Latest version
Safari - 5 and above

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