Managing Volatile Situations - How to de-escalate situations and keep First Responders and their clients / service users safe 

Face-to-face and Online workshop series with
Edmond Otis and Emma Burns

*Contact us to register your interest. This training is also available as a private workshop series for organisations

About this Training

Many first responders find themselves in challenging situations when working hard to support an individual or whanau. The combination of stress, trying to make sense of a situation and the grief involved when a loved one is hurt. Add in misunderstandings, language differences or emotions like anger and fear – and we have a volatile situation on hand.

This workshop is aimed at giving those involved in responding to traumatic circumstances the advanced skills and understanding required in working successfully with people in volatile situations. The presenters have faced these circumstances themselves many times and supported first responders nationally and internationally to approach traumatic events wisely and graciously. By using the correct strategies and approaches, it is possible to improve the outcomes and protect everyone’s mana.

Whether you are working within a formal emergency services role or just want to achieve better outcomes in situations where emotions may be elevated – this workshop will help you build both your skills and confidence – and result in a better outcome for your service users.

Our Presenters

Both Emma and Edmond have worked extensively with emergency services personnel as specialist clinical supports. They are sought after speakers internationally. This practical exposure along with a comprehensive understanding of the impact that stressful and volatile exposure have on the responder and the public including onlookers allows them to provide practical guidance on what works, work with participants in brainstorming solutions and keep everyone safe. They are some of the most compassionate people we know!!!

Workshop Content

Through practical interactive activities, applied skills training, discussion, and presentations the sessions will cover:

Session One: First Responders Wellbeing - – Keeping Ourselves Safe

  • Understanding the essence of First Responder challenges and an overview of the skills and strategies needed to keep the public - and responder - safe in critical and volatile situations.

  • Responder mindset: The "Outcome focus" – reading cues and seeing opportunity for “the best possible” outcome.

  • Acknowledging and understanding ethical exhaustion, compassion fatigue, moral disengagement and the risks to wellbeing and ethics within teams.

  • Engagement and effective/persuasive communication: Transitioning from assessment, to analysis, to connection, to rapport, to persuasion - to alliance.

  • How to judge what’s possible – when.

  • Keeping each other safe: Listening and partnering.

  • Teamwork and the flow of the moment.


Session Two: The Situations 

  • Mindset: Responder headspace and resources, including the law

  • Skills: How to perform situational analysis in the heat of the moment

  • Mindset: Solution-focused outcomes: Reading cues and seeing opportunity

  • Skills: Accessing and using body language, positioning, and physical presence

  • Skills: How to achieve De-escalation. What to say, and when.


Session Three: Review and Analysis of ‘real-life’ situations (held 5 weeks after 2nd session)

  • Group review and feedback: Focused analysis of participants' application of the tools and skills presented in session two.

This workshop is designed to provide tools and skills that can be implemented immediately and tailored to each individual’s workplace.

Who Should Attend?

This workshop is for all roles that require individuals or teams to volatile situations or work with the public within potentially traumatic circumstances. This may involve those with roles in emergency services (Police, Fire, Ambulance, Civil Defence) including those in Coms Response roles, as well as, Corrections, Probation staff, Councils and Community Patrol units – in fact anyone in public-facing services. 

What others have said about our trainers

“Emma’s workshop has inspired to guide my clients to look at their strengths, rather than solely focusing on the problem or issue that has brought them to our service in the first place. Thank you for such a great day of training”.

“Thank you for such a great workshop. I found Emma very knowledgeable and genuine, with a natural warmth”.

“Emma was knowledgeable, responsive, genuine, and quietly passionate about her work. Very easy to listen to and engage with, with her hands-on experience putting into context the workshop material.

‘Edmond gave good practical examples, and easy-to-apply tools and skills for managing challenging situations”.

“Edmond's approach to relating everything to everyday situations and his easy step by step approach made this workshop one of the best I have attended. Thank you”.

The following peak bodies and organisations recognise that the training we offer is of a high quality, evidence based and relevant for their members CPD.

This 1-day workshop is worth 20 points/6.5 hours CPD

Our Presenters

Edmond Otis

Edmond Otis is a licensed psychotherapist, specialising in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Brief/Strategic Therapy, and an internationally known speaker and performance coach. He works with professionals, public and private organisations, athletes, sport teams, health practitioners and everyday people – to increase resilience, perform well under intense pressure, facilitate change, and dramatically improve outcomes and results.

Edmond and his family moved to New Zealand in 2008 and became citizens in 2015. He is a senior lecturer in Health and Sport Science at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), and prior, a Senior Lecturer in Humanities, and Director of Martial Arts in Athletics, at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), where he coached several national and international champions and teams. He is twice recipient of the University Distinguished Teaching Award.

Emma is a registered psychologist who was introduced to the Solution Focused in 2011. She immediately fell in love with the approach, and has been a passionate advocate for it ever since.

Emma has worked in mental health, education, traumatic incident response and was the national clinical advisor for suicide bereavement. Since 2010 Emma has been working within the justice field, supporting families experiencing violence and abuse, and has a special interest in suicide prevention. She is the President of the Australasian Solution Focused Association, and has a small part time business delivering training, supervision and counselling.

Zoom Information

The Online sessions will be hosted on the Grow professional Zoom account.

This workshop has been designed for participants to do exercises in virtual break out rooms, as well as participate in group discussions. We therefore recommend all participants to have their own computer / laptop as this makes interaction with the breakout room activities and discussions easier and enhances the learning for all.

The online sessions will not be recorded.


Public Workshops - 3-Part Workshop Series
$550.00 inc GST


Payment online is by Debit or Credit Card: VISA, Mastercard or American Express only and there are 3 easy steps to complete the online booking process.

Our registration platform is hosted by Lil Regie, our NZ based booking agent. Upon completing your registration by hitting the blue 'Confirm Booking' button, you will receive an automated email confirming the booking and amount paid by credit card. A GST Tax Invoice showing your payment in full will also be emailed to you.

If you have any issues or questions about your booking, please contact Faye Johnson on 027 607 3000 or email:

Invoicing Information

We work hard to ensure that all workshops are cost effective by automating our systems. If your organisation is unable to use our automated booking system and pay by credit/debit card and therefore require an invoice instead to pay by direct bank credit, there will be a $25.00 inc GST surcharge for this, and you will need to supply the following please:

  1. The full organisation name and postal address required to appear on the invoice.

  2. The contact name and email of the person(s) responsible for authorising this expense and approving payment.

  3. Any purchase order references required on vendor invoices.

Please email this information to Brian - and , and along with the Invoice we will also send you a special booking link which will come up as free of charge. Through this link you will need to complete your registration. 

Our workshops fill quickly so if you would like to reserve a place, please contact

What happens if you have to cancel?

We know that sometimes your plans can change for many different reasons. Should you be unable to attend, a substitute delegate is welcome to attend at no extra cost. If a substitute delegate is not available and you need to cancel your registration, please be aware of the following:

Up to 7 days prior to the event you will be provided a refund of your registration cost, less a $60.00 inc GST per attendee service charge

If you cancel within 7 days of the event, you are not eligible to receive a refund. Please note: should your registration not be paid by the time of the event, you are still liable to make the payment. Unpaid accounts may be passed over to our debt collection agency and additional costs may be incurred. 

All cancellations must be received in writing (email). 

Training is cancellable by GROW with 3 days’ notice if a minimum number of attendees is not met and full refunds will be provided.

Please note: GROW Ltd reserves the right to make any amendments that we may deem to be in the best interest of the forum – it is however very unlikely and we will notify you as soon as possible should this occur.

For more information see our full Terms of Trade.

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For further details, please contact:
p: 027 607 3000


For further details, please contact:
Faye Johnson at or
Phone: 027 607 3000