evaluations & post training comments


developing positive relationships

It is very common for people to assume they know what we do - people say:

I have been on a course like that!

However, we do things differently …

D.ESCAL8™ (pronounced de-escalate) was formed in 2013.

While it is easy to say we are different, don't take our word for it - the following testimonials highlight the differences and the positive impact of our training.

Online Workshop Testimonials

I highly recommend this superb training provided by Des Cooke of D.ESCAL8. Having attended various forms of PBM and PBS training during my 20 year career in the Social Care sector, the Supporting Individuals in Distress course was by far the most impressive and useful I have received. The content and delivery was challenging, motivating, inspiring and fun.

Feedback from staff is that Des’s training has made a significant difference to the way they work, more so than any other training they have received. There has been a significant decrease in serious incidents and when these happen they are managed well.

We at Freeways have developed an excellent working relationship with Des which goes beyond the training session. The training he provides is second to none and is delivered with a good understanding of the complexities involved in supporting people who communicate through their behaviour. Training is paced to meet the learning needs and styles of each and every course participant and there is a healthy balance between theory and practice. I would recommend D.ESCAL8 to any organisations who want to ensure Positive Behaviour Support is an intrinsic part of their approach to enable people to live full and meaningful lives.



After attending the three day course run by Des, I was found the course enlightening, person-centred and I felt that it has brought PBS into the modern day care system. I have previously attended PBM with my previous organisation and upon comparing that to Des PBS, I found PBM outdated and all about taking control away from the individuals I support. For that reason alone i think PBS needs to be industry spread within the care sector.



The course was absolutely fantastic it has really changed my approach to behaviour management and had lots of practical ideas to implement in school. Being given background information/knowledge has enabled me to further understand how and why my pupils may be in distress and how to prevent situations escalating to crisis point. I have been using the low level interventions such as distraction techniques and this really works!!

Thanks so much, what a brilliant 3 days



The course provided me with essential skills that has improved my knowledge. Gave techniques and information that was relevant and could be applied.


Attended Descal8 training 12-14th November 2018. Having attended many PBM training course over the past four years in previous organisation, I was amazed at the detail and delivery of the training. I thought that the training brought PBS, into the modern age and it is great to see that there is training out there, that is designed to keep the individual in distress in control and not designed for staff to take control away from said individual. I feel that this course needs to be wide spread across the entire care sector and not just individualise organisations.



Just to say the last group have been buzzing about the training ‘the best I’ve ever received in 30 years’ was said by 2 members of staff!



A course full of content. Realism, dramatic with interaction. A course to take forward and use as a working tool.



This week I attended the 3 day DPR course with Des and thoroughly enjoyed the whole course.

The practical side of the course really gave me the chance to put into practice things I may have to carry out in my line of work.

Learning all the background information into developing positive relationships I found extremely interesting and learning techniques to keep myself safe whilst at work will be extremely beneficial.

I would love to be able to attend more courses with Des in the future. Des really knows his stuff and I enjoyed learning from him.



The training that you provide is to closely resemble the actual scenarios that they will come into contact with during their work. The issues we have had previously with other providers is that practise has taken place in such calm conditions that the staff have not been able to apply their training in real life scenarios because their training has not occurred under conditions anywhere near those of real life.

The training you provide enables people to learn the skills to a level they can fluently use them under conditions that are as close as possible to the conditions in which they need them. Practising the techniques in any other way does prepare people to use them correctly, fluently in the circumstances they need them.


R.S. Director BCBA

The Building Positive Relationships With People In Distress was the best training I have ever been on! Over 3 days I felt like I absorbed so much information and actually retained it, something which is a lot harder to do in a regular one day of training.

Each day builds on the concepts Des talks about, whilst constantly revisiting and linking them all together. It was great to see how everything intertwined and it made the bigger picture a lot clearer. It also gave me a stronger understanding of what individuals in distress are experiencing, and how we as staff influence this. Des used situations in our own lives to bring this home and help us see things through their eyes even more. This theoretical background and understanding is vital when considering learning physical intervention, something with Des makes obvious and clear throughout his training.

I was not entirely sure what to expect when starting the course, and thought I would simply be learning how to get out of wrist grabs etc. However the depth of knowledge and experience that Des shared blew me away, and I can honestly say it was an absolute privilege to learn from him. He was patient, thorough, approachable and you could tell he had the utmost respect for the people we support. Des’ passion for the work we do and willingness to share this was inspiring and uplifting. I could not recommend this course more!



I thoroughly enjoyed this three-day course Building Positive Relationships with people in distress. Des’ teaching methods are engaging, informative, clear, and fun.
He was able to put across complex information in a manner that was easy to grasp and remember. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the section on the law and how quickly I was able to remember the principal points through Des’ simple four point system designed to assist a worker assess a difficult situation quickly. I have
since used this quick method of assessment under stress and was able to remember and use it accurately and effectively.
Each of the three days builds one upon the other, and so it is vital to attend all three days. I was impressed by the manner in which Des structured these days to enable us to grasp not only his philosophy of how to work with people in distress but also how to take these principles and apply them more generally. Des’ teaching is all based around developing and maintaining a good and positive relationship with the people that we work with and how to maintain that even when things become difficult. I feel very encouraged and empowered by the techniques that Des has taught me.
On the last day we looked at physical interventions, the ‘last resort’ in a difficult situation. Des’ philosophy and method held true in these situations as well and we learned many useful ways of working and also looked at service structure and policies to help in these situations.
I have had a lot of training throughout my working life and I can honestly say this was by far the best that I have received.
Thank you, Des!



When a new company is looking for the right training providers it is like a minefield. I decided to contact you as I had done this training before and was determined to find a training provider who demonstrated knowledge and understanding of why people behave the way they do and how to de-escalate situations before needing to resort to physical intervention instead of just rushing in.

I would like to thank you for the fantastic training you invited us to as guests. The Managing Director was so impressed with the delivery and content of the training that he has decided to use De-escalate for the entire company.

I was particularly impressed with the way you were able to engage with the people on the training and revisited area’s when people were unclear. Using simple gentle and unobtrusive techniques and giving explanations and examples.

It was also great seeing the whole group gel as a team and help each other.

Once again thank you so much and I look forward to working with you in the future.



I recently attended the 3 day DPR course ran by Des. As somebody who has worked in the special educational needs and care sectors for 15 years and delivers physical intervention training for another company myself, I have seen some excellent and some not so excellent courses and trainers.

I have to say it was a privilege to watch Des work. Things that stood out for me were the passion and positivity he has for his work in developing confident and competent staff, to ensure the best outcomes for the people that we support; the attention to detail when delivering the physical skills elements of the course and the intensity that he maintained throughout, ensuring we were always focused and engaged.

Many of the participants were very experienced staff members and all commented that it was the best training they had ever had. I certainly will be taking things away that I believe will improve both my own working practices and my training delivery.



Des. Thank you for the training course, it was outstanding. There are 2 things that really stood out for me. The first was that you are “not just another trainer”. You visited the home of our resident. You observed, met and interacted with the residents and the staff alike. You got to know the home environment and then tailor made the course for us based on your gained knowledge. I have not heard of this before.

Secondly you have a background in health and social care and therefore have an understanding of the situations we may face. This for me made the whole training experience more real. You were leading by example.
For me the training has not finished for me after 3 days, because of the after care and continued support you offer.
Des- you are a knight in shining armour!
Once again, thank you!



All the staff have improved their knowledge and understanding of positive behaviour support. The course has increased their confidence in managing behaviour which is then, replicated in their practice throughout school.
Once again, you have delivered an excellent and interactive course!



I have attended a follow up training run by Des Cooke on how to efficiently support people in distress today and it was so refreshing to be able to revise all the techniques we learnt.
Des training focuses on teaching carers and staff working with clients who can become distressed at times strategies that are much less invasive as usual restraint procedures. It places emphasis on de-escalating situations whilst ensuring that both clients and carers are safe.
It’s all focused on keeping carers calm during such situations, showing real care for the individual whist they apply techniques (when needed), backing off when both are safe rather than on trying to overpower and control the individual as we sadly see in so many types of training.
It also takes into account that at times individuals use touching, pulling a person by the arm and approaching as a way to communicate a message or show something to someone and it uses an individual’s preferred items so they can be redirected to those when applicable.
Des not only offers courses for professionals but he also runs parent workshops and assists individuals on a one to one basis.
Please like his page and share with your contacts!!!
Highly recommended course!!! 🎉🎉🎉”



I just wanted to send you a quick email to thank you for the fantastic course last week. I genuinely mean it when I say it was the best course I have ever been on. In my line of work I am used to going on many courses and usually come away feeling like my time has been wasted and completely bored. Not this time. I would recommend your course to anyone.



This course truly is the gold standard, encouraging participants to reflect upon their own practices and experiences, to expand upon their understanding of ‘duty of care’ in their chosen field and that there is always another way to handle difficult situations. I have been on several courses and this is the first that focuses entirely on the individual in distress and how to support them in the best way possible. If you have the opportunity to attend, take it as you and your practice will benefit greatly.



I really enjoyed this course, for years I have always felt that there were more positive ways out there to deal with these behaviours. Des made the course interesting and I used some of the things I was taught on my next day at work and saw some big improvements over the next week.



Having worked in education, care and special needs for over ten years I have been on many intervention courses. The one constant between all of the courses has been a large gulf between the training and the real world application. The D.ESCAL8 is, by a large margin, the course that has closed this gap to what I would consider the smallest possible. This allows it to be as useful and informative to both experienced professionals, and someone brand new to the field.



It was very interesting to be invited to attend a course in something I teach myself. The first thing I noted was a welcome recognition that any form of physical intervention should be the last possible resort, when everything else has failed. It was very clear that this was a bespoke course tailored exactly to the students and their workplaces.

The students were learning a new system, replacing one from another provider. No time was devoted to denigrating their previous training or trainers even though the previous system used included types of restraint that are now considered dangerous.

Skills were layered on each other in ways that made it easy for students to learn. Techniques were not overtly complicated making recall under stress conditions is more likely. Students were mildly stressed in training, simulating real life conditions.
Demonstrations were clear, practice sufficient. The pace was exactly right, neither too fast nor too slow.

All in all, this is one of the better systems and more competent trainers in the market today.



The course was absolutely fantastic and I believe everyone in the care industry should receive this training as standard. I felt particularly empowered by the whole philosophy of de-escalate and its client centered approach. The course encourages you to challenge personal beliefs and societal presumptions which could be unhelpful when assisting an individual in distress. Instead it allows you to develop confidence in knowing how to act in a high arousal situation which you may find challenging, this confidence then in turn assists you
to respond in more helpful low aroused ways rather than resorting to touch and restraint which is likely to distress clients further.

Des is a fantastic trainer who delivers course content in an engaging way which meets all learning styles. His knowledge of the subject was above and beyond including psychology, law, case examples, research and much more! I particularly enjoyed the role plays which was an invaluable way of learning, I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say the pressure you’re put under compares to VERY realistic situations which was an invaluable learning experience!



I found the course to be invaluable. I particularly appreciated that the techniques and philosophy behind de-escalation are very focused on the individual in distress. Helping our clients in distress should always be the main priority.

The course was delivered fantastically, with a very realistic approach & Des was incredibly engaging. Unlike other courses of a similar nature that I have attended previously, the philosophies and techniques were taught and then finally put into practice during a very realistic roleplay. I found this to be very beneficial in that the roleplay helped to consolidate everything we had learned during the three days and really highlighted how stress & arousal levels play a part in determining an individual’s behaviour.



I was very pleased with the training that you provided for us. it was very professional, you were interesting to listen to and the role play sessions certainly kept our attention. It gave all the staff food for thought and led to a lot of deep discussion. I will certainly be making sure that all staff access De-escal8 training with you.



Training was amazing! The most person centred training I have ever attended.
Learnt a lot. The course gave me a confidence to work with clients in distress, to look for simple but effective solutions to support individual.
It has changed both my work and personal life in such a positive way already. I have been able to employ the skills and tips I learnt, with great results almost immediately.
Would recommend!!



It’s been a term since we received training in De-escalate and the impact of the training is really showing in a number of areas. The whole Inclusion Centre feels calmer and our staff are more confident in dealing with difficult situations where pupils are displaying distress. All staff are being more proactive and creative in trying to de-escalate situations before intervening physically.

We still do have situations where staff need to intervene physically but by using De-escalate the interventions are much shorter and don’t tend to intensify as they often have done in the past. Staff also report that they are able to work with the pupils involved much more easily having used De-escalate instead of our previous methods which often led to upset and anger.

Having worked as an Educational Psychologist for 10 years I thought I had a good knowledge and understanding of positive behaviour management and reinforcement theory, however, this course challenged my beliefs and those of my colleagues. As a team we have spent the last term reflecting upon and changing our practice for the better of our students as a consequence of this high quality training. We are gradually changing the ethos of how we perceive and manage the behaviours of the young people within our centre. We work with pupils aged 11 to 19 years with a wide range of abilities and needs including ASC, SLD and PMLD. In the current financial climate it is difficult for many organisations to find the funding to pay for training. I would highly recommend this training to any school or organisation that work with children and people who have learning difficulties, the impact measured against cost is well worth it. I would be happy for other schools and organisations to get in touch to discuss De-escalate and how it has helped both staff and pupils within our Inclusion Centre.



Reading the Testimonials from other course participants I thought Des had cherry picked the best for a positive opinion. Having been on the course I know that the Feedback is genuine and if you are in doubt go and see for yourself, you will not be disappointed !

Having been an instructor for another Physical Intervention Method for many years . I approached the course open to suggestions and methods to improve the quality of care given to pupils and to provide a positive outcome for the individual. I attended the course with an open mind and hopeful to pick up one or two points to help staff and pupils alike. I have re-evaluated my whole approach to physical interventions and feel that all the staff I work with would benefit from attending the D.ESCAL8 course. The course would provide an up to date method to develop future relationships with pupils in our care and a less restrictive option if physical intervention is needed.



I have just completed the 3 day D.ESCAL8 course. I am a BCBA who currently works both in the U.K. and abroad. I cannot recommend this course highly enough. For me, this course provided the missing piece of the puzzle. I would encourage all ABA practitioners, and indeed all others involved in the care or education system in general, to attend this course. It encompasses the ABA approach whilst providing valuable crisis management techniques.

Des as a trainer is engaging, knowledgable and compelling. He challenges preconceived ideas and provokes mind set change with astounding efficiency. I have attended other “physical intervention” courses in the past. D.ESCAL8 provides an alternative so far superior you will wonder why it isn’t the only option.



I was pleased that all of the staff members attending the course with me understood and appreciated the different approach offered by D.ESCAL8. The focus on positive relationships rather than on managing challenging behaviours complemented the core values of our organisation while ensuring skills and knowledge were appropriately delivered to all.



I thought as a refresher course the content was absolutely spot on. Des was able to adapt to the specific needs and queries of the group very easily and I felt that the staff all had positive outcome from the day.



If there is one word I would use to depict this course it would be REAL. Being occasionally put in a high stress situation, slightly outside your comfort zone, makes it not only real but also more likely you’ll remember the experience and retain the skills later on in your job. I feel that having experienced the course whilst I’m still relatively new to the industry gives me a great start. Having learned the right mindset and belief systems gives me a solid understanding how to develop and maintain a positive and supportive relationship with any future client in distress.


N.R. - RBT

I found my training experience with De-Escalate to be extremely valuable. It is evidence based, clearly explained and taught and the situation is always seen from the point of view of the distressed person as well which really helps. I would very much like to do more of this training and if I can I will definitely be back. Thanks so much.



I have just attended the 3 day course with Des Cooke. I walked in thinking I have done this before and won’t get much out of the course, how wrong could I be!

Des was so receptive to our needs and provided useful information that applied to our setting and didn’t just deliver a syllabus.

The course really focuses on a child centred approach and gives you the confidence to not use physical intervention! A lot of the previous courses I have attended focus on the use of physical intervention and restrictive practice, not D.ESCAL8! To be honest this is the only one that I can be confident it will do what is best for the children I work with. There are no restrictive restraints used and that has to be good for our relationships with the young people we work with.

Des used his extensive knowledge and not just from books, but from practical application in front line roles. He has done what he teaches and knows it works. That knowledge gave me the confidence to really engage with and learn throughout the course. I have had very similar training from Des’ previous work place (Studio3), but Des has taken his prior knowledge and improved the whole course content. He has thought about the impact of even the slightest movement and how it can impact negatively on the people you work with and changed it for the better. Relationship between staff and pupil has to be the most important element of this kind of intervention, with D.ESCAL8 and Des it is. I know as an organisation we will be working closely with D.ESCAL8 and Des to ensure all staff have the benefit of the training I have had.



Really excellent course and Des is an exceptional Facilitator and Trainer. The three days were extremely challenging and thought provoking but also really enjoyable and clearly vital for anyone working with vulnerable individuals. Des puts the relationship first and his techniques help to question established approaches where the needs of those in the care of others is sometimes lost due to behaviour or environments that can be challenging. Highly recommend it to any employer providing care services to vulnerable individuals.



The course was everything I expected and more. We have previously used a different company, however we decided to change providers because following the previous training, on the rare occasion a team member had needed to use the techniques, they had been unable to remember them. Following this course, all staff felt confident they would remember the procedures! This was mainly because they had actually practised all of the techniques during ‘as close to real life as possible’ role plays. I highly recommend this course!



I have had the opportunity to attend courses that updated me on current legislation of managing individuals with challenging behaviour. These courses told me how to respond to negative and unwanted behaviours. Whilst protecting myself from physical harm. Information outlined enabled policies and procedures to be reviewed and updated. If this is what you are looking for Descal8 Training courses are NOT for you.

However, if you want to experience an enthusiastic, positive, supportive and effective approach to supporting behavioural issues, then I recommend you find time to spend three days in the company of Mr Des Cooke. Descal8 developed my confidence to change my way of thinking; question my actions and alter my working practice when faced with an individual who had the need to communicate their emotions physically. I learnt how to be proactive rather than reactive to a situation, and learnt strategies that I have found effective and can implement in the commotion of a heightened situation.

Des provided me with the insight to support my colleagues and reflect on each incident with an objective, practical resolve. Enabling me to examine each event with the team, using the key principles to reduce physical interaction and significantly reduce the stress that physical engagement incurs along with the risks faced by clients, colleagues and myself.

The passionate presentation was refreshing, engaging and memorable. Descal8’s ethos continues to have a positive influence on my working practice 6 months on. I have recommended this training to professional colleagues on several occasions because of the positive behavioural changes I have experienced as a direct result of the training. If you have any doubts in your current management of behavioural issues, then you need to complete the three-day training course as soon as you can.



Fantastic 3 day workshop! Learnt many new skills, strategies and different approaches, enabling people to work more effectively in supporting the varied needs of students. Very knowledgable course tutor with a person centred approach, that made each step of the course entertaining providing unforgettable experiences!



Having recently taken part in a Descal8 training I am astounded by what I gained out of it. Des made the training so much fun and delivered it in such a way that it was remembered. Only today myelf and a colleague choose subconsciously to use what we had been taught and just as in the training ————————- it worked!!!!. Brilliant (if exhausting) training course, I am happy to recommend it to anyone who thinks or feels that they need this knowledge.



I was quite enthusiastic about the school adopting the de-escalate approach to managing our behaviour after the training as I felt the training for me had quite an emotional impact on the way we as a school manage our pupils.

When attending the training the 3 days with all the written, law and practical elements I felt that our County as a whole should adopt the approach as it not only managed the behaviour of pupils but also had an emphasis on the impact that dealing with these behaviours can have on staff and quite often this is forgotten.

The pupils are supported by our staff very well I feel but quite often I don’t think there is time spent with staff members after dealing with these behaviours and incidents properly. This training gave clear strategies for dealing with them and during the training It was also beneficial to role play active and non-active listening... a method which can be adopted in all areas of the school not just with the behaviour side.

The role play was extremely powerful and again put you in the situation many of our pupils feel daily. I felt the training tied in nicely with our attachment and nurture elements that we are leading in and by combing the two can only continue to hopefully improve our practice.

The course was delivered very well and covered all areas of behaviours that we experience in school therefore being extremely relevant.



v refreshing and relevant training for my role. Really enjoyed the experience, thank you

Registered Manager

S.D. Registered Manager

Well presented and informative.

SSA / Job Coach

S.P. SSA / Job Coach

West Wales Open Workshop

DATE: 7-9 December 2020

Narberth Area

This course is FULL - Register for the waiting list

Register here to reserve your place for the next course
  • Research Based
    Relax in the knowledge this is our specialty
  • Physical & Emotional Safety
    Provide a safe environment for your staff and those they support
  • Behavioural at the core
    Delivery and content matches behavioural science

Restraint Reduction Network

Our Foundation course, 'Supporting Individuals in Distress,' is Certified by the Restraint Reduction Network Training Standards that are administered by BILD - they can be found here

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