Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Concept of “Control” & How Lacking It Can Lead To A Crisis

How Successful Hostage Negotiators Help A Subject Regain Control & Achieve A Peaceful Conclusion

Often, when a person is in a crisis they feel like they have no control over their situation. Due to this perception of their life being out of control, it contributes to the person (or “subject” in crisis/hostage negotiation jargon) acting out of a combination of numerous negative emotions such as anger, fear, frustration, rage, despair and sadness.

These overwhelming emotions and sensing their situation is hopeless can prevent the person from acting rationally and being open to listening to others, being influenced by them or considering alternative options. 

For a suicidal person, the subject then might see completing suicide as their only option. For a barricaded perpetrator surrounded by police, they might believe their only option is to “never come out alive” or exiting their position in a hail of gunfire.

Not that crisis and hostage negotiators need a reminder but this line of work is not easy. The above description is intended to generate empathy with the subject. Being able to “see things” from the eyes of another person is critical to eventually influencing them to gain their voluntary compliance. Remember that is the goal, as the alternative is involuntary compliance and that more than likely will involve some sort of force being used. 

In crisis situations, emotions can dictate a person's actions at the detriment of rational thinking.

If the subject feels as if they have no control, in order to be able to attempt to successfully influence them to do what you want (while they think they are making that choice themselves), you must help them regain a sense of control over their lives and their current situation. The Crisis Text Line calls this moving a person from a “hot moment” to a “cool calm.”

So how do you help a subject regain a sense of control over their situation?

Read the full article at PsychologyToday.com [HERE].