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Case Management Strategies for Workplace Threats of Violence: An Interactive Session

This presentation will focus on three commonly encountered workplace threat scenarios; the paranoid employee, the romantic triangle and the aggressive and/or disgruntled employee.  Strategies to assess and manage these cases, and key intervention decision points will be discussed.  The audience will participate in a structured small group exercise to address and respond to real cases.  Each scenario will be debriefed by the presenter.  The goal will be to demonstrate reliance on empirical information regarding different "perpetrators" in the context of applying careful judgment and necessary multi-disciplinary collaboration, resulting in an improved understanding of risk potential and management of these difficult cases.

  • Stage-setting, brief summary of intervention principles
    • Dynamic interplay of assessment, response, re-assess, response, etc.
    • Intervention dilemma
      • Any intervention can make matters better, worse, or have no effect: think first
    • The Workplace Assessment of Violence Risk (WAVR-21) Short Form
    • Employer/Campus common mistakes
      • superficial assessment component
      • well-intentioned misguided responses
      • responses driven by a single discipline, e.g. legal
    • Violence risk assessment principles should guide intervention decision making
  • 3 succinct case presentations of workplace threat scenarios
    • Common concepts for each scenario:
      • do's and don'ts
      • interview strategies
      • discerning whether the individual is on the pathway to violence
      • steps in the response
      • resolution options
    • The paranoid employee
      • a serious case management challenge regardless of violence risk
      • the paranoid’s inevitable course, management issues
      • identify different varieties and causes of paranoid behavior, response/treatment options
      • assessing violence risk in paranoid individuals
      • the highly litigious persistent paranoid: special considerations
    • The romantic triangle in the workplace
      • issues of domestic/intimate partner violence risk
      • interviewing and collaborating with the female target
      • strategic issues with each of the parties
    • The aggressive and/or disgruntled employee
      • a current look at the marginal member of society, "circling the drain", with financial problems, suffering “unbearable losses”, angry at institutions and specific targets, entitled and grandiose and coping poorly 
      • assessing risk: to self only, to others or to both?
      • Whether an insider or outsider, a very common problem to organizations in the recession economy

Objectives: At the end of this program, participants should be able to:

List at least two common mistakes made by employers or campus personnel in risk assessments
Identify at least three common concepts in workplace violence threat assessment
Describe several management challenges to having a paranoid individual in the workplace
Demonstrate through practice cases the ability to accurately assess risk of violence

Presented by

Stephen White, Ph.D.
Stephen White, Ph.D.Dr. Stephen White is a psychologist and the President of Work Trauma Services Inc., a consulting group he founded in 1982 to assist employers with serious workplace crises. His extensive work in organizational trauma reduction led to his specializing, since 1989, in the assessment and management of workplace violence risk. Dr. White has consulted on over 4,000 threat cases for numerous Fortune 500 companies and private or public organizations of all sizes throughout the United States. He has designed and provided detailed employer threat management team training for responding to a wide range of potential risk scenarios. Dr. White has testified before the California State Legislature on behalf of workplace violence prevention legislation, and has published in the areas of workplace trauma management. He is the co-author of Threat Management of Stalking Cases in The Psychology of Stalking: Clinical and Forensic Perspectives (Academic Press, 1998). Dr. White, along with Dr. Reid Meloy, developed and published in 2007 The WAVR-21, the first scientifically based structured guide for assessing workplace violence risk. Dr. White was among invited experts of both the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime and the American Society of Industrial Security to participate in their development of online and published guidelines for the prevention of workplace violence. Since the events of September 11th he has worked with corporate business continuity teams to integrate human resilience planning into disaster recovery efforts. Dr. White is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, where he currently co-facilitates a professional development group for medical students. He is a frequent guest lecturer at local, regional, and national forums for human resource, security, and line managers, employment law attorneys, and employee assistance professionals.