Responding to Agitated People: making volatile situations safer 

An online 2-part workshop series with Edmond Otis and Emma Burns

14 August, 9 am - 3 pm - Session 1
18 September,  9 am – 9.45 am - Session 2

The dates for this training have changed from the April and May dates previously advertised.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

People from almost all professions are finding themselves in more-and-more challenging situations when working with agitated members of the public. The range of people experiencing difficult interactions in the workplace is broad. It ranges from; teachers, to doctors and nurses, to hospitality workers, to service and delivery people, to office workers, to social service providers, to trades people, to managers, to public transport and delivery people – and beyond.

The combination of stress, dealing with the unexpected, trying to make sense of an unexpectedly explosive situation, and figuring out the right thing to do – and say, to help yourself and those around you can be daunting.

This unique workshop is aimed at giving those who find themselves responding to agitated, and potentially traumatic circumstances, the practical skills and understanding required to bring these interactions to a safe conclusion.

The presenters have faced these circumstances themselves many times and supported both, first responders, and everyday people, nationally and internationally to approach potentially traumatic events wisely and with a useful skill set. 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!!! (See below for their Bio's)

Workshop Content

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

Session One: The Challenge of Working with the Public – Keeping Ourselves Safe

  • Understanding the essence of the public service challenge and an overview of the skills and strategies needed to keep the public - and responder - safe in potentially critical and volatile situations.

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

  • Acknowledging and understanding ethical exhaustion, and when, and how, to get the assistance you need – if and when you need to.

  • 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.

  • Mindset: Desired outcomes: Reading cues and seeing opportunity

  • Skills: Accessing and using body language, positioning, and physical presence for safety and de-escalation.

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

Session Two: Review and Analysis of ‘real-life’ situations

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

This workshop is designed to provide tools and skills that can be implemented immediately and tailored to each individual’s workplace. It takes into account the NZ cultural context and includes an emphasis on self-awareness, unconscious bias, worker wellbeing and organisational teamwork/culture.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone who works with people – anywhere!

If your organisation is interested in having a personalised workshop with Edmond and Emma presenting this to members of your team, please contact Faye Johnson for more information.

                                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 Burns

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 Meeting Dates & Times

1st Session 
14 August - 9 am - 3 pm

2nd Session
18 September- 9 am - 9.45 am

You will be sent the details to access ZOOM after you have registered. 

This is an interactive workshop with breakout room activities and we therefore ask all participants to have their own computer / laptop with a working camera and mic as this makes interaction with the breakout room activities and discussions easier and enhances the learning for all.

We also encourage participants to email their questions to us prior to the workshop, or via the chat at the meeting - email

Please note this webinar will not be recorded.

Price & Registration

$425.00 pp inc GST

Multi-attendee discounts available. Contact us.

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 from Lil Regie confirming the booking and amount paid by credit card. This will appear on your statement as from LIL REGIE LTD WELLINGTON.

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: 

Can't pay online and require an invoice?

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:

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

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

  • 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