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

L.C. Support Worker

Support Worker

This course was an eye opener. It tested me, put me out of my comfort zone and challenged long standing beliefs about the care I provide for the better. I cannot recommend this course nor its trainers enough.

M.S. Support Worker

Support Worker

I personally have been receiving De escalate training from Des for 8 years, and it has radically changed how i work with people, behaviours, and my own family.

Before I was sent on a deescalate course, i was trained in [[..redacted..]] and the service that I worked in had padded rooms for ways to help children who were dysregulated.

On the first D8 course I learnt the most important lesson for myself which was i don't have to win, and that it was ok to give something to stop a behaviour so you could go away and plan for another day.

Physical interventions halved almost straight away and over time have become a very rare experience done only as a last resort for when there is Imminent danger and everything else had been tried and failed.

I view behaviour more holistically and look for the communication and function in it. This over the years has been one of the greatest changes to my personal development with working with children with additional needs and more generally people.

The Ethos of what de-escalate gave me is what all carers need to be effective practitioners.

S.W. Manager


All staff in my service have been De escalate trained for several years now but we asked Des to attend my service for a bespoke course to help us refresh the way we were looking and understanding behaviour.

Des gave a very insightful and in-depth course which helped refresh the teams understanding and functions of behaviours and what part we play in that.

The whole team were engaged and interested in the content and were able to go away straight away and used the refreshed techniques that we discussed.

Des has a way of giving the information and ideas so that everyone can answer there own questions themselves.

We would not use any other training or trainer for our service.

S.W. Manager


I just wanted to message to update you as I have been back in work for a week or so now with Descal8 training. I feel compelled to message actually because I have really noticed the benefits. Both working with the new service user in our care and with service users I have worked with before who are exhibiting new behaviours. The simple approach of being understanding and offering rewarding solutions to avoid extreme incidents is not necessarily revolutionary, but I can’t stress enough how the message being reiterated makes understanding and respectful care feel so much more natural. Everything has worked so far and even though I have never used physical intervention, I now feel like there might not even be a need in 99% of the situations. Again just thankyou so much and I can’t wait for you to meet the rest of the team

C.W. Support Worker

Support Worker

Thankyou again for a brilliant training course, I have been on other training courses before that are focused on reducing behaviours that individuals may find challenging. But this particular course with D.escal8 exceeded my expectations and left me feeling more informed and confident than I did before with my previous training. The training was so much more focused on the reasoning behind behaviour rather than attempting to control behaviour. I feel that this training highlights the complexities of behaviour and helps people to develop a better understanding for the people they are caring for. I would definitely recommend D.escal8 to others in the future.

C.W. Support Worker

Support Worker

I attended Des's 3 day de-escalate training 28th,29th of Feb and 1st March 24. This was a real eye opener and I can honestly say one of the best training sessions I have ever attended, that our company has organised. It put the previous training of dealing with individuals with challenging behaviour to shame. It's started from the begining by having a much better name which was " Developing Positive Relationships with individuals in Distress" and only got better. The information was clear and very informative and was explained with various real life examples and stories which really helped me to understand everything that much easier. It was a good mixture of theory and practical and went at a pace which kept everyone intrested and infocus at all times. I have only scratched the surface of an exceptional trainer, his excellent training and his course. Can't wait for the rest of our staff to experience this themselves. Many thanks again Des.

T.K. Senior Support Worker

Senior Support Worker

I have just attended a bespoke training course which included discussions, situation analysis, the latest thinking on the holistic approach to what and why certain behaviours can occur. This training has led to continued talks at work and sensitivity to possible behavioural triggers. So valuable.

R.C. Support Worker

Support Worker

I just wanted to email to say it's not very often I go on a course and I talk about it so much to friends and family and I rarely feel so many positive feelings about it.

Not only have you built my confidence with working in this sector but you've helped me as a person develop.

I have had a very negative view of learning due to past experiences of the old school teaching methods.

These methods for a long time after did tend to make me feel very anxious prior to any course and then I would make excuses and not do things I really wanted to achieve.

When you spoke about all these feelings it really helped and then I didn't feel as anxious and I started to enjoy learning instead of worrying about failure or making a fool of myself, hope that makes sense.

So I just wanted to say I appreciate that and I should have said that at the off load stage but I didn't.

You are very good at what you do so full credit to you.. I know this because it's left that positive vibe.

Anyway I'm glad it's off my chest now though.

Look forward to another course soon

S.R. Support Worker

Support Worker

After having just one shift as a support worker, I felt pretty overwhelmed and out of my depth. Luckily, my company booked me in for the deescal8 course and after completing it, I feel much more able to care for the person that I'm supporting. The course emphasises treating the person you're caring for as you would like to be treated, with dignity and autonomy. It also teaches you physical skills in a safe and relaxed environment, and that is in the best interests of your safety, your colleagues and that of the person that you're supporting, in a way that's least distressing. Des would remind us that "when you have the assurance that you can use these skills, it increases your confidence and therefore less likely to need them". I'd recommend this course to anyone already in the care sector and to people interested in working in the care sector.

S.J. - Support Worker

Support Worker

I'm so glad that this was the first training course I've done for supporting people in distress. I've been reflecting on the course since and everytime I do I learn something new. The course teaches you how to support an individual in the least restrictive way possible but more importantly it teaches you about how to manage your emotions and perceptions so that you can reduce the need for restraint in the first place. Thank you for an amazing learning experience!

C.C. - Speech & Language Therapist

Speech & Language Therapist

Thank you for the 3 day Supporting People in Distress training. The training is completely different from any other training of this nature that I have done previously, in the best way possible. The training is engaging and thought provoking. It really does make you think about interactions with people. The training is also made to feel real, and not forced or unnatural as other training can be. The training felt very safe and felt that all on the course where able take it at their own pace but feel including in the course. Thank you again and look forward to my update day!

L.M. Deputy Operations Director/Regional Lead

Deputy Operations Director/Regional Lead

Hey Des hope you're well,just wanted to reaffirm how game changing this training is compared with any other training I've done before.

The least restrictive methods always first and foremost.

All of the techniques taught were techniques I've not seen before and worked so much better and were tested in very realistic scenario's during the training whereas the different maneuvers I've been taught before weren't tested and easily forgotten.

To sum it all up, an amazing 3 day training course I for one suggest the whole of the sector uses because it is by far the best training out there! And will greatly benefit the incredible people we support, ourselves and our co-workers.

E.B. Support Worker

Support worker

I felt this course perfectly balanced, both the theory and law, focusing on ACEs and how this affects a young person’s behaviour then going on to cover de-escalation techniques that historically staff have maybe not had when working with young people.

Also, the physical side of the training, with the trainer giving us a list of profiles to choose from which give an overview of a young person before acting this out and expecting us to work through what we had learned while under pressure.

I found this to be the most realistic training I have been on, and it really put you in the type of situation that staff find themselves in while working in the services.

D.B. Responsible Individual, Childrens residential services

Responsible Individual, Childrens residential services

In my 20 yrs in the industry and 100’s of courses I have attended this was by far the most thought provoking, relevant and realistic approach to supporting individuals. This course could make an unmeasurable difference, not only to the individual’s you support but to staff moral within your team. Couldn’t recommend highly enough.

S.C. Support Worker

Support Worker

D.ESCAL8 helped me feel confident and safe in the most distressed state that service users could find themselves in, but more importantly opened my eyes to the sheer amount of things we can do before we have no choice but to physically get involved. I would recommend to anyone who wants to protect and improve the lives of those we care for.

M.A. Support Worker

Support Worker

I have attended many types of intervention training over my 25 years working in health and social care, DESCAL8 is the first training I have attended that puts the focus on the individual as the centre of the process, the focus on working with the individual to ensure everyone is kept safe whilst anxiety is high but without the need for force and control to ‘manage’ the risks. The psychology behind the theory gives a strong thought structure to ensure application of physical practice is applied with the right value basis attached. I have completed the 3 days walking away with a fresh perspective, with the right value basis and knowledge that I can support myself/team to stay safe without the need to control individual when they are experiencing high levels of distress- ensuring that the support they receive is build on trust and respect that is not broken at these times. Absolutely amazing!

A.M. Director


I have been working with individuals who display behaviour that may challenge for about 6 years. In this time, I have completed various types of physical intervention training from different providers.

Although these were good, I have found the D.escal8 training to be significantly better at helping me understand and consider the reasons behind challenging behaviour. The interventions were taught in a way that made them both memorable and adaptable. In addition, the positive impact on my confidence and attitude has extended beyond my work life.

Des is very knowledgeable. His qualifications and experience speak for themselves.

K.S. ABA Supervisor

ABA Supervisor

Hi Des trust you are doing well. On Monday while on duty with another member of staff we had a major incident in the community that lasted for nearly thirty minutes.

I thought you would like to know we used the De-esculate techniques you taught and they worked extremely effectively.

Nothing like proving something works well when in a real life situation.

S.W. Support Worker

Support Worker

The training is very informative and challenges expectations about challenging behaviour. It encourages it's participants to think in a more person centred way than they may be used to from other training. The practical aspects of the course are vital for improving form and building confidence

C.P. Board Certified Behaviour Analyst

Board Certified Behaviour Analyst

The experience was incredible I learnt so much as a support worker. I feel as though after taking this training I can be so much more confident and so much better at my job . Des is incredible he teaches you so much and gets you to really think outside the box!

L.F. Support Worker

Support Worker

Des course has provided me with so many pro-active strategies and taught me that there is so much we can do before we restrain a person. The compassion, trauma informed and focus on dignity and respect really came across to me during the course. He is extremely interactive and we feel we have had the opportunity to practice well and receive feedback. Highly recomended!

R.D. Director


I have been involved in care/ support work for over thirty years and this was the sixth provider of this type of training I have attended. I was also a company trainer for several years as well.

I really wish I had recieved the D.ESCAL8 training many years ago it is way beyond any other training both in practice and theory.

The practical is so hands on and in the past I have left training with doubts that it would ever work in practice. The role plays on the third day left me with no doubt this training is extremely effective and works.

There was a real focus on the relationships with clients and supporting people in distress when everything else has tried and failed involving discussion that really encouraged the whole group to contribute.

We were told at the beginning of the course we would not hear the words "challenging behaviour" but focus on supporting people in distress and I that was just they way the course was presented.

If you have had doubts in the past about training then I would strongly recommend you attended this course as I believe that you as I was will not come away disappointed.

In one word "Brilliant"

S.W. Support Worker

Support Worker

The course is a real eye-opener. Not only does it holistically make connections between theory and practice, it allows the practitioner to unpick their own understanding around matters such as ACEs and trauma, and helps us to understand why we see the world as we do, and why our practice is as it is.

There is time given for meaningful introspection, which makes D.Escalate more than just a behaviour tool, but an integral part of one's modus operandi.  Once you've been on the course, you really cannot see the concept of 'behaviour' as a single entity, an unattached reaction or simply a negative response to an unwelcome instruction or set of rules again.

The course affords the opportunity to see behaviour as an integrated and connected part of so many other factors developmental and social factors in the life of a child. It helped me to realised that when we see behaviour as the whole story and not just as series of inconvenient parts, we can see ourselves, and the part we play in the whole process - recognising that behaviour is a multifaceted thing to be acknowledged, deliberately thought about, sometimes taught or modelled, and definitely nurtured from beginning to end;

Behaviour is not just a single word, or an interesting chapter in a child's life-  it's the whole book.

S.N. Deputy Head of School

Deputy Head of School

I just wanted to take the time to thank you and say how much I enjoyed the D-ESCAL8 course.

I truly felt it provided so much engaging and interesting information about the different levels of mental states people can find themselves in when they are distressed. The course has equiped me with the tools needed to be able to recognise and understand the different degrees of distress and then assess and deal with the situation effectively dependent on the actual level of intervention needed.

With the focus being on changing the way WE work and think as opposed to changing the individual and their behaviour, I can see why some of my colleagues didn't get on with the course as they couldn't escape the mindset of "this is rewarding bad behaviour." I can understand this being a struggle for them as we ourselves were taught under the guise of you do what you're told when you're told and you don't answer back, and even though we ourselves often disagreed with this way in our youth, the idea of well it's how I learnt so they have to learn the hard way too is still our go-to. This course shows you that this isn't the only way and is often not very effective as it creates counter control. However, if you can get over that way of thinking, look past your own perception of individual's intentions and are able to reliquish the desire for control then you will open yourself up to be more flexible not only with the people you support, but with all people you interact with through your life.

Again, thank you for providing the course to us, I really feel it has had a major positive impact on the way I will work and interact with all people. It pleases me to know that some of the thoughts I have had before regarding punishment and learning weren't actually far off and that there is someone out there who has thought and developed on those ideas and has effectively and successfully put those into practice.

J.C. Learning Support Assistant

Learning Support Assistant

I recently attended the 'Descal8' training with Des and I am really impressed.

I have attended a few [other company name removed] training courses in the past and thought this would be similar. However it was not.

There are two aspects that really stood out to me:

1. The course is cleverly designed to increase your confidence over the course of 3 days, using techniques such as role play and practice sessions that slowly increase in intensity. This is great as it can feel like a real representation of a situation that can occur and gets you thinking fast! - By day 3 I definitely had more confidence and do feel I could implement what I have learnt should a situation arise (which, of course, we always hope it won't).

2. This was the most important part which stood out to me.  This course taught me the least restrictive practice I've ever come across! Previous training programs I have attended, taught maneuvers that were very hands on and in some cases restricted the movements of the service user, which has the potential to cause more distress. Descal8 shows you ways that help you gain control over the situation and not the person. And that, to me, is perfect.

Thanks again - It's definitely a course you will remember! :)

A.C. Support Worker

Support Worker

Thank you so much for the training you did with me & the other staff at my work place.

I found it very interesting & relatable. Your training is very informative & true. The way you deliver the training is so good as it makes you think about why am I doing this. Should I be doing this at this point.

It has also given me confidence to know when to interven & when to not. So Thank you so much and I look forward to a refresher session when it is needed.

V.A. Learning Support Assistant

Learning Support Assistant

Bristol Area Open Workshop

4-6th June 2024

Bristol Area

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West Wales Open Workshop

Autumn 2024 TBC

Narberth Area

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Restraint Reduction Network

  • Research Based
  • Physical & Emotional Safety
  • Behavioural at the core

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