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 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.



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 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 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.

Board Certified Behaviour Analyst - BCBA

A.I. Board Certified Behaviour Analyst

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.



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.



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!!



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.



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 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!!! 🎉🎉🎉”

Board Certified Behaviour Analyst

V.D. Board Certified Behaviour Analyst

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!



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.



It was a great day!! I wish we could have attended all 3days. Explained very well, easy to understand, very practical and useful. It's a complex course that has given us a hand in need. Thank you, Des!!


A.C. - PA

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!



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.

Board Certified Behaviour Analyst & Director

R.S. Director Board Certified Behaviour Analyst

Great mix of cutting edge behaviour support and if all else fails gentle physical skills that are designed explicitly to avoid escalation, aimed at restraint reduction. A thought provoking experience containing many insights that challenge prevailing negative perceptions, scientifically grounded and with a healthy dose of philosophy. Anyone working in care or supporting someone cannot afford to miss this course.

Physical Intervention Trainer (for another company)

B.E. PI Trainer

This training provides not just some fantastic techniques to use but a value base that fosters positive professional relationships with those that you support.  A must for any organisation that wishes to ensure that their training fosters a positive culture of respect and dignity for the people that they support.

Director & Physical Intervention Trainer (previous company)

M.B. Director & PI Trainer

I have been to many courses with regards to least restrictive techniques but this was by far the best one I have attended, the course content and delivery of training is so interesting and Des is a fantastic trainer. I found the role play the most effective and literally came away from there wit more skills and knowledge!

Assistant Manager

K.D. Assistant Manager

The Training was very different, not what we originally expected and quite thought provoking, very in keeping with the principles of restraint reduction which was very good.


M.D. Manager

I have found aspects of this course extremely useful in my work with young people. Practical as well as theoretical advice and strategies to use if necessary.  Incidents  have been avoided and resolved calmly and staff have understood the importance  to take the time to de brief and off load.



I have attended physical intervention courses in the past but this was by far the best training course.   The trainer was very good by making it very realistic and providing theoretical information so that there was a rationale for all of the actions.  The techniques were very different to my previous training but the trainer explained why they would be more effective and safe.  There were many demonstrations and modelling before we practiced the techniques.  The final day involved some very realistic role play performed by the trainer - it was invaluable.   Having been involved in a few incidents in the workplace, I wished I had access to this training course before! I left this training course feeling more confident and knowledgeable about being involved in a range of potentially difficult scenarios.  Everyone working in learning disabilities and SEN should do this training.

Speech and Language Therapist

E.K. SaLT - Speech and Language Therapist

The course was very helpful; both for my professional life but also my personal. I found it pushed me physically, psychologically and morally. I really recommend that people have this training as it helps you to understand why people react to things in a certain way and how important it is to support an individual when they are in the green before you need to descalate the situation.

Support worker

D.L. Support Worker

I really enjoyed the course. I dreaded going at first because it was made out to be some sort of a traumatic experience; its not. I believe it truly prepared me for my line of work, yes in physical matters, but mostly in mental and emotional matters. The way i view situations and deal with them is completely different now. The course has shown me a new way of thinking and a new way of descalting behaviour before it gets into the red zone

Teaching assistant

K.P. Teaching Assistant

Having used the training many times over the last year, I have seen a significant change in behaviour in the children I support. All were experiencing frequent exclusions and staff were regularly injured. The children are now in school full time and staff injuries are at an all time low.

Support staff

S.M. Support Staff

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.



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!



The training was engaging and thought provoking throughout. Although I feel better prepared for any type of physical intervention, I also feel less likely to need it.


A.T. Teacher

Interesting and beneficial as a reminder and reinforcer. I was able to relate the strategies to my work and some to home. I take from the course different ideas and a continually changing and developing mindset.



Des shared extensive experience and knowledge whilst presenting information in a practical way which the family were able to understand. the course has had a huge impact on the parents which in turn will help the young person they care for.

behaviour specialist/therapist

S.B. Behaviour Specialist / Therapist

Found the course very helpful and responsive to situations we sometimes find ourselves in

Senior support worker

S.S. Senior Support Worker

Really enjoyed the course, having done several other ‘physical intervention’ courses this one has made me question my thinking when supporting people when distressed

Practice leader (Registered Manager)

L.T. Practice leader (Registered Manager)

I think the course was excellent, both theoretical and practical.Des is an excellent person with experience and understanding.This type of work needs courses with this intensity to prepare them for inevitable happenings.

Support Worker

J.M. Support Worker

I really enjoyed the course, Des was a fantastic trainer and knew how to engage the group well, theory side is very different from what we have known previously and practical was very interactive and engaging.

practice leader

K.A. Practice Leader

Course was fun and enjoyable and full of relevant information to use on the job

SEN teacher

R.E. SEN Teacher

Descal8 training brings care and support for people in distress into the 21st Century, by far the best training course I have ever attended, purely focussed on given control back to the people we support.

PBS Service Manager

J.S. PBS Service Manager

One of the best courses I’ve been on in a long time, interesting, informative and funny. Really makes you think about how to handle difficult situations.

Teaching assistant

S.P. Teaching Assistant

It was great to finally be equipped with a set of skills that can be used with a person in distress. I loved that the focus was on relationship and it has resonated with me on many levels. I look forward to the update!

Speech and Language Therapist

K.D. SaLT - Speech and Language Therapist


Behaviour Therapist

A.B. Behaviour Therpist

So much better than the old 'hands on' restraint training I've been on. Safer and less stressful for both employee and client.

Support worker

M.W. Support Worker

My experience on this course was one of intrigue and enlightenment. I was able to see through the different delivery styles how and where behaviours can stem from, how they can affect the individual, strategies to prevent distress from escalating and how to handle any situation that does arise, in a safe, dignified, positive and lawful manner.

Student Support Assistant

P.R. Study Support Assistant

The training was very informative and helpful. I really learnt a lot and enjoyed myself at the same time.


C.O. Teaching Assistant

This training programme was very full on with a lots of useful information which can become very useful if and when required and approved by our managers. I really enjoyed the journey on this training course.

Study Support Assistant

J.S. Study Support Assistant

very good course

student support assistant

C.O. Study Support Assistant

This course gives a self assurance and confidence to protect myself and the students in my care. I will surely recommend it to schools and colleges with challenging behaviour students.

SSA supported learning

M.A. Study Support Assistant

West Wales Open Workshop

May 30- June 1st

Narberth Area

Early Bird 15/4/23

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Bristol Area Open Workshop

13th-15th June 23

Bristol Area

Course Full

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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