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Calming the Storm: Foundational Skills in Verbal De-escalation



This training was presented on
February 21, 2023




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It is inevitable that, as helping professionals, we encounter individuals who are frustrated, angry, and dissatisfied and who unleash these emotions onto us. These interactions can range from uncomfortable to frightening and can leave us feeling frustrated, fearful and “on edge.” Without the skills and confidence to handle these situations, we run the risk of damaging our relationships with others as well as contributing to our own emotional exhaustion and burnout. Verbal de-escalation is a set of practical skills that reduces the level of emotional and behavioral agitation, leads to a safer workplace, and results in less emotionally damaging outcomes.


Learners will:

  • Understand the psychological & behavioral aspects of emotional escalation (Escalation from the Inside)
  • Learn how to implement the four critical components of verbal de-escalation (The Four Cornerstones)
  • Learn how to identify common challenges and how to avoid them


Who should attend:

All staff of family resource center (FRCs), child abuse prevention councils (CAPCs), and other child- and family-serving organizations. 


  • This is a webinar-style training. This means that you will not be on camera and will not be able to see other learners. This training will not include breakout rooms. Opportunities to interact with the presenter(s) and other participants will be included.
  • A pre-recorded version of this training will be available for 1 year following the webinar.
  • By registering for a CalTrin training, you consent to be added to the CalTrin mailing list. 




John Borthwick is an ordained minister in The Presbyterian Church in Canada. He is an experienced teacher and facilitator, specializing in the areas of trauma, resilience, and compassion fatigue, as well as conflict mediation, coaching skills, and leadership development. He has worked with non-profit boards, universities, faith communities, and emergency and police services.

John has a BA in History from McMaster University and a Masters of Divinity from Knox College. John holds a Certificate in Conflict Management and Congregational Leadership from Conrad Grebel University College and has been trained in several other crisis and mental health certifications.


John Borthwick, BA, MDiv

Associate, TEND Academy