Closure as an essential component of Conflict Management

In Vistelar training we talk a lot about the six Cs of conflict management. The six Cs stand for first of all context, what we know about the situation when we get there. Contact, our initial contact. Sometimes it moves from there to conflict, to crisis, to combat, but it always end up with closure, the ending. And we talk about the law of primacy and the law of recency. People remember what happened first, that’s why we spend a lot of time on the universal greeting, and what happened last, why we spend a lot of time on closure.

In closure, we want the situation to end up the best possible way we can have it end up, the most positive way, even if it was a negative contact. But also we want to set the foundation for the next contact – when we meet this person again to have another interaction with them we don’t want to start round two!

But sometimes these things get pretty heavy duty, sometimes they become physical. So we want to expand closure to talking about what happens if you have to have physical intervention, in the case of healthcare, or maybe physical combat, in terms of having a police officer getting involved and having to stop a violent suspect. What do you do then?

Often those times are going to be pumped up with adrenaline on both sides, and when you look at closure we want you to think of a sequence to follow, and the sequence we suggest goes like this; first thing we’re going to do after we stabilize the individual and get them safe and us safe is we want to go ahead and check on their emotional stability, and we usually do that by telling them they’re going to be okay.

“My name is Dave Young, I’m here to keep you safe, you’re going to be fine.”

But then we want to go ahead and we want to confirm their mental levels of alertness. Are they really aware of what’s going on? We don’t want to be asking them detailed questions, but we’ll say, “What park are you in? What’s the colour of your shoes? What’s today’s date?” Really trying to get them to calm down as well, and those questions are calming you down as the person who made the intervention.

Then of course, we want to take care of their physical wellbeing, so we’re going to check and confirm for any physical injuries they may have. So, we’ll look for any bleeding, we’ll look for any broken bones that may be protruding through the skin, we’ll look for bruising. We’re going to give a nice visual assessment, we’re going to make sure they’re physically safe, asking them some questions like, “Does is hurt when you breathe? Can you wiggle your fingers? Can you get up on your own?” When we tie those things in together emotionally, mentally and physically, closure’s going to help us tie that at the end, so we keep everybody safe all the way around.

And one of the things we’ve found out in doing training around the world is that a lot of times people relax too soon. Once you have the person stabilized, whether that be verbally or physically, it’s not time to take a break. We have to make sure that they’re safe, and a lot of people when they react too early, we have people in our care and custody that die tragically, because we’re not watching them carefully. So, do that at the end, that’s all part of closure.

If you can, even in very difficult situations, leave the person better off than they were when they got to you, we’re doing our job as a professional, keeping them safe throughout the whole encounter.


Team Dynamis Ltd. is the UK representative for Vistelar Conflict Management Training since 2014.

To learn how your organisation can benefit from this modern, evidence-based approach to learning how to professionally manage conflict, please visit: www.dynamis.training/vistelar to learn more.

Train-the-Trainer opportunities may be coming up in the near future which would allow you and your organisation to bring these leading Conflict Management, Crisis Intervention and Personal Safety concepts and practices into your organisation.