Volume 7 Supplement 1

World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Thematic Conference. Coercive Treatment in Psychiatry: A Comprehensive Review

Open Access

De-escalation in mental health care: a review of non-physical conflict management techniques

  • Dirk Richter1
BMC Psychiatry20077(Suppl 1):S146


Published: 19 December 2007

Until present, conflict management in mental health care relies much on physical techniques. Not surprisingly, research literature on interpersonal de-escalation in medical sciences, social sciences and psychology is rare. This presentation reviews rules and techniques that are applicable to mental health care [1]. Based on empirical data and theoretical models on the emergence of violence in psychiatry, following issues are discussed in detail: stress and anger management of staff, basic de-escalation rules, body language, facial expressions, verbal interventions. It is concluded that de-escalation in mental health care is still in its beginnings.

Authors’ Affiliations

Westphalian Hospital Muenster


  1. Richter D: Non-physical conflict management and de-escalation. Violence in Mental Health Settings: Causes, Consequences, Management. Edited by: Richter D, Whittington D. 2006, New York: Springer, 125-144.View ArticleGoogle Scholar


© Richter; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.