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Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast ! We are continuing our conversation today with Andy Prisco, founder of Jumpstart Mastery . If you haven’t already checked out Part A of this show, be sure to do that first. Andy has had decades of experience in the psychological crisis response field and has coached conflict management and intervention.
Andy has worked with the National Anger Management Association in providing meaningful standards and oversights to individuals undergoing an anger management education. He has co-developed education programs that synthesize their core ideas in the crisis intervention space. The other certifications that the Association endorses are in domestic violence and anger management.
How does it work? Andy provides an example that if Nolan and he were to start an anger management counseling program in their state and a person has to provide their certification to a court in California, there might be questions about the legitimacy of the course material. An accreditation by the National Anger Management Association however would carry the stamp of authority and competence that the institution would provide. The court can reliably understand that there was a supervision or personal interaction component, that there was a competency exercise component, and that the individual in this example experienced the change state in their completion of the program.
Andy describes Jumpstart Mastery as his personal enterprise where the learning environment is epistemic. Behavioral health experts, law enforcement officials and private enterprises from all over the world get together to raise consciousness about anger, aggression and violence. Illustrious experts in the fields of negotiation, conflict resolution and mental health such as Gary Noesner, Pat Deegan, John Riley and many others give weekly lectures that are designed to engage a collaborative educational environment.
Domestic violence is particularly complex for a responder to handle because the behaviors which occur in the context of intimate partner violence can affect the acuity of the risk in the moment. However, tactics like the use of validation to start a negotiation has some effectiveness in stimulating the limbic system.
Andy’s work uses negotiation strategies tailored to disarm the active limbic state and get the individual to exercise their rational self. De-escalation principles such as the use of validation, active listening, minimal encouragers, etc., are extremely useful in navigating domestic aggression. Helping the individuals identify the shared values in a relationship can also be a useful tool to engage reason and diffuse tensions. The best way to do that according to Andy is by employing the services of a “shadow coach”.
Andy is a big believer in Carl Jung’s concept of the Shadow-self where negative emotions are hidden behind the unconscious mind. A shadow coach helps to find that dispossessed part of the self where an individual’s formative experiences have created the filter through which they observe behaviors that incite reactionary feelings of anger, disgust and agitation.
An internal crisis can occur when a triggering incident undermines or challenges these formative experiences where these ideas and beliefs were born. The solution in shadow work is what’s known as integration or the idea of adapting the initial or formative belief that occurred so that the individual is constantly the force that transforms from what they perceive themselves to be.
Human beings pay attention to what arouses the serotonin and dopamine centers. Andy’s work with interpersonal violence in the public safety apparatus has shown that there is a lot of violence and unresolved anger out there in the real world. And according to his friend Laura Moss, this is an indication of a national empathy crisis, with people across the country expressing anger at the circumstances around them. While there is a desire to change the world, the evidence suggests that an individual with a disordered personal life will have a limited ability to effect meaningful change in the world around them.
Unfortunately, much of today’s politicization of these circumstances are all about environmental changes while not enough people are talking about the personal changes that are necessary to make the world a better place. That’s why at Jumpstart Mastery, Andy wants to make sure that the negotiation, self-regulation and mental wellness principles discussed here are taken “upstream” into our families, businesses and youth services organizations.
Andy shares that at home, he is grateful for the peaceful environment that his family has been able to cultivate. Arguments and agreements are listened to and negotiations take place that resolve potential flare ups with humility and maturity. He is proud of the fact that his kids can express gratitude for their admittedly strange and unique father who is different from the dads they may have encountered in their friends group.
Nolan, Aram and Andy discuss a lot more about empathy and shadow work on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you have anything to add to the conversation!
Thank you for listening.
Nolan Martin : Hey everyone. Thanks for joining us on the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Andy Prisco, founder of Jumpstart Mastery. If you haven't already checked out Part A of this show, be sure to do that first. And let's jump into the conversation with Andy.
Aram Donigian : You know, the national anger management association that you're a part of, and maybe even Jumpstart Mastery- can you talk a little bit about both of those- are both of those certification programs helping companies get credentialing? Why is that important to whether it's professional health professionals, behavioral health, even private enterprise? Maybe say it in a little more detail yeah.
Andy Prisco : More. Yeah, it's a wonderful question. Thank you. So first I'll say that the National Anger Management Association is a professional mental health association that has at its core, a calling to provide some kind of meaningful standards and meaningful content oversight on essentially the practice and industry of people pursuing anger management education. There are states in our country whose court systems routinely require people to pursue anger management education and come back to the court to demonstrate that they've complied with the order. This is a huge enterprise in California, huge enterprise in California. The National Anger Management Association learning programs that are part of the National Anger Management Association contemplate a level of sophistication, meaningfulness and accreditation that like-
Let's say Nolan and I just wanted to start our own anger management program and we create some videos and put 'em out there and we don't interact with someone, we just did some presentation videos together. Someone who needs to demonstrate to the court that they've gone through an anger management program may not have the Nolan and Andy program be recognized. Okay. If a program is recognized by the National Anger Management Association, the court can reliably understand that there was a supervision or personal interaction component, that there was a competency exercise component, and that at some point, someone experienced the change state in their consumption of the program. It's also an organization where people come from all over the world and there's an annual conference and, and so forth. So, it's a mental health association that's influencing the work of anger management and my work with them regards those core ideas in the crisis intervention context. So the National Anger Management Association offers and endorses three certifications. One is in domestic violence. One is in anger management and one is in crisis intervention. And the education program that meets those criteria I co-developed.
AD : Okay.
AP : Jumpstart Mastery is my personal enterprise of an epistemic environment, a learning environment where at jumpstartmastery.com, a membership base represented by public safety police from all over the world, behavioral health practitioners from all over the world and private enterprise people who you know that come into that environment and we have the kinds of discussions that we're having right now, gentlemen. And every week we'll have a Gary nener, we'll have a Pat Deegan who created the Hearing Distressing Voices Simulation, and for the past 35 years has been a champion of recovery for people with lived experience developing tools and personal medicine. We'll have people like Julia Youer we'll have people like John Riley, who is an expert on de-escalation in the worship space. Like there's a need for de-escalation in worship spaces. John's whole practice is that! This guy's running around with church security all over the place. I never would've thought that. And there are three events that every church experiences or place of worship experiences for crisis intervention that are consistent, like he's got his finger on the pulse of that data. So this is the environment that we, we collaborate in Jumpstart Mastery, and it's just fantastic. Just like we're doing now guys, just like we're doing now.
AD : No, that's fantastic. How accurate is the anger management training from the old movie Anger Management?
AP : Oh gosh.
AD : 😀
AP : Yeah, like there's no modality inside of meaningful anger management curriculum that requires you to go into a hardware store with a sledgehammer and, you know, take out a bunch of TVs or fight with Bob Barker, you know, although that was a great scene
AD : Goosefraba or whatever
NM : Hey Andy. So you had mentioned domestic violence. And I know with the pandemic that we've seen an increased number of domestic violence- people working from home, just being together with their significant other more. So how can de-escalation skills be applied to someone in their personal life, any recommendations or tips?
AP : I'll just simply say that domestic violence is among more of our complex problems because there are behaviors that occur in the context of intimate partner crisis and intimate partner violence that can make responder work particularly challenging depending upon the acuity or the risk at the moment. But here's what I will say. The kinds of things that we've been talking about over the past hour work in intimate relationships. The use of validation to start any negotiation so that we can stimulate- relationship occurs in the evolved brain in the limbic state, me versus you. An experience of being punitive is absolutely the light on the dashboard that your limbic system is active. So if we wanna disarm that and negotiate problems in our intimate relationships, the de-escalation principles of the use of validation, active listening, minimal encouragers, all of those things are extremely useful in navigating those tough circumstances.
And then identifying shared values, shared values where we can connect. Do we both agree on safety? Do we both agree on respect? Do we both agree on that we need to pay our bills on time? Identifying what those are in the relationship are very useful in the de-escalation context. And then I would say to the extent that intimate partner relationships can become complex, understanding ourselves and what triggers us is fundamental to being of deescalating value to another person. And the way to that is through what's known in the Jungian context as shadow work. And I would encourage anybody who wants to better understand what triggers them and why they are triggered. The analysis in that is done with someone who's skilled at shadow coaching. And I have a shadow coach because I'm interested in a student of this craft of being the best me that I can be, where you can't trigger me.
My self-respect is far more important than you telling me to go F myself. And can I get to a place where I'm almost like Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul is in front of me. And I'm in the kneeling position between the shields and I'm in a meditative state because when this shield goes down, I have to get into the fight again with someone who's better than me. That image is what drives me to keep learning about all of this, because I think at the end of the day, the jury is back. The only thing we can control is us. Yeah. And the more that we can control, even our triggered states and better understand why when someone says something or does something, I feel anything, the more that we can understand that the better we can negotiate.
AD : It's a wonderful what first there's a wonderful analogy with Obi-Wan coming out on Disney Plus here so I love that.
NM : Thanks for the sponsor, Disney
AD : Can you tell us just a little bit more about what the shadow work coach. What does that do?
AP : Sure. So, the shadow is the dispossessed part of self where, when we observe behavior in another human being that causes us anger, disgust, agitation, when we observe that in someone else; there is a relationship somewhere in our history and formative experience that has helped create the filter through which we see that behavior and perceive it to be frustrating, disgusting. And we're feeling that way very often because we do it, but we don't say that we do it. This is something that is dispossessed. We don't want to admit it. So the way that we express our self-frustration when it happens out in the world is we observe it and feel triggered. And this is why it requires someone to, um, I'm gonna give you an example. I'm gonna give you a concrete example.
A person with whom I work, went through a horrific experience of identity theft. Horrific. Had a lot of money taken from them. They work in the money environment, in the money world. So there's a sense of identity in that world. Think of how- not just beyond the loss of the money, think of how personally assailing it is to be a money person to have your identity taken, because the things that you've invested your sense of identity in were removed. How do you break down? Well, if you were to die with someone else having taken your identity, opening lines of credit, using your money to spend it elsewhere, causing others to think that they are you, if you were to die that way, what's so bad about that? Let's explore that. What are you attached to that is so upsetting to you? Now, I'm not here to propose that identity theft isn't supposed to be upsetting, right? But if we wanna understand why it's upsetting, this is the kind of exploration we're interested in.
And when we get to the bottom, all the way to the bottom, we identify almost invariably: formative experiences early in the childhood where these ideas were born, where beliefs are born and that when something happens out in the world that challenges that or undermines it, internal crisis occurs. The solution in shadow work is what's known as integration. This idea of adapting the initial or formative belief that occurred so you are constantly the force that transforms from what you were. So this person with whom I work, who, where we did a little shadow exercise after the identity theft issue, was able to begin the process of getting to the bottom of why it was so disturbing and what can they take away from this event should it ever occur again, to deprive it of its power over their emotional state later? That's fascinating. That's heavy. So is it possible to have everything stolen from you and for you to still be okay and not have your sense of identity threatened by that? Even if someone is out there engaging in unjust behavior and mimicking you, can you Qui-Gon that? Right?
AD : Well, that's heavy.
AP : Yeah. And listen, I'm not here to say that anybody under the same circumstances in isn't entitled to their anger, but if we're all after and in this pursuit of our best selves, this is the stuff we gotta go after
AD : Slightly different question. I lo I li love that because that, that gets to how we show up. And, uh, what a challenge I'm taking that as a personal challenge right now, as I wrestle with some things in my own life. So thanks Andy for that. Slightly different question would be, how do we apply this work outside? Very specifically, going to the mass shootings we've seen recently in California, New York, Texas- without making it political, are there things we could be doing kind of from your professional perspective, to get ahead of these tragedies and possibly stop the driving anger or the hatred that seems to be at the source for these individuals from manifesting itself into these murders?
AP : Aram, that's such a great question, and I love the way that you articulated it because you know, I've been around- as I know that you gentlemen have in a different context, I've been around a particular kind of violence for a very long time. Interpersonal violence in among people living with houselessness and homelessness, interpersonal violence between people living with disabilities and mental illness, either within that cohort or between that cohort and the community. Interpersonal violence in the public safety apparatus and people served, I've been in a lot of those environments a lot. Jumpstart Mastery is very interested in getting these principles that we know work (in the words of my friend, James Sporeletter), upstream- to get trauma informed principles and self-regulation principles and wellness principles upstream in our organizations, in our families, in our youth and family services organizations. Because I don't know if you guys are seeing it too, but our information streams and even the algorithms that drive what we see are very, very organized for the serotonin and the dopamine centers and the limbic hijack.
We pay attention to what arouses us. And there's a lot of violence out there guys, that's occurring every day. There's a lot of anger. And as my good, friend and partner, Laura Moss says, we're in an empathy crisis. There is a national empathy crisis underway where everyone is feeling so angry at the circumstances around them. And the effort seems to almost universally be: we have to change the world. And I think there's plenty of evidence to suggest that if things in your personal life are in disorder, the likelihood that you're gonna effectively change the world around you and somehow make the things in your personal life more in order as a result of that, the jury is not back on that. There's no research that says that's what makes things better. And yet so much of our politicization of these circumstances are all about environmental changes. And nobody, nobody is talking about the personal, the personal change is necessary to make the world a better place.
You know, even Navy Seals figured this out a long time ago. You know, Chris Karachi used to say, when you make yourself a better person, you make the world a better place. And he was saying that in the eighties, from a discipline of operation that had nothing to do with psychology or philosophy. So we've lost sight of that I think. Everyone is interested in changing the world. And I don't know about you, but I work in secure settings where there aren't any firearms and people are bludgeoning themselves with all kinds of improvised instruments to carry out the violence and anger that's still there. You remove the instrument, it doesn't matter because we're not getting to the core issues. We have to get to what's happening in here, you know?
AD : Yeah. I like the analogy of moving that upstream. That's that's the yeah. End dealing. Yeah. The personal piece, boy, that's a challenge again, regardless of politics, red, blue, whatever. I agree. There's much focus on environment and we miss you missing the, the forest through the trees,
AP : Yeah. Response systems, more money, more vision, no plan and expectation that things are gonna miraculously get better, you know. In police reform, we see it all the time. We see, we see claims on reform initiatives working when in fact what's actually happening is less arrests are occurring because our public safety apparatus is deliberately engaging less because they've been restricted from engaging. So it's not the reform that's responsible for the reduction in the data. It's the absence of the actual activity. You know? So I don't know if that sounds vague and I guess I'm trying to be careful around it. But the point is: there are lots of claims being made right now that reforms to external circumstances are working and I'm calling BS on it because that's getting gamified and we're seeing way too much damaging anger and aggression and violence coming from human beings in the world that I've seen in care settings that we manage that differently. When the rubber really meets the road, when people act that way, we're working with them to engage their capacity for wellness. We're not changing the world around them. So that they're okay. Right? Like that whole proposition just doesn't hold water.
NM : Hey Andy, as a practitioner, has there ever been a situation that you could share/you'd be willing to share where it was probably deemed a failure. And you may have taken away some life lessons from that or changed, you know, how you did something differently inside the program? So I don't know if you'd be willing to share with us a negotiation failure.
AP : Yeah. Happy to. So the acronym that's used to describe psychiatric emergency response team is PERT. Okay. That's the acronym for it. Right. So, I'll give you a funny failure. So I don't know if your consumers see the podcast. Do they just hear it or do they see me animating myself?
AD : They're gonna see you too.
NM : Too. They can see you as
AP : Well. Okay. So, you know, you, you guys have figured this out. I'm, I'm kind of an animated personality and
NM : One second, YouTube plug, go to our YouTube channel and you'll be able to watch this
AP : Okay. Yeah. Watch Andy. Yeah. So I have a way about me and not everybody likes it. I'll just tell you, I went to a- I'll save that for another day actually. I'll tell you this first failure. I have two funny ones, here's the first one. I'm in an acute care admissions unit working, you know, and I'm the team supervisor, you know, and I've created this team. So there's an expectation that, you know, I'm good at this and I'm not saying I'm not, but, you know, I seen someone kind of like cruising around, stalking and you know, the staff have been watching him and he's got a history of assault and violence and, you know, “Hey, Mr. PERT, why don't you go over there and try to deescalate him?” [laughs] okay. You know, so I strut over there and I'm big on nonverbal communication and physicality and gestures that confer that people are safe.
So this guy's mean mugging and sharking as we would call it. And I go over there with my non offensive interview posture, my hands out in front of me and what Tony Blauer would call the half negotiator. And “Hey, Mr. So, and so it looks like you're angry.” Get that PERT shit away from me and he's walking away. And I was like, he totally hamstrung me. Like if he had a knife, it could come by Achilles heel and make me fall. If that was it, I was done because he was having none of it. So obviously, you know, and I say that to be funny, but yeah, there are those occasions where your use of validation, your use of reflection, your use of active listening. People are not interested in any of it. So I'm not the guy who's here to say that this stuff always works. What I am here to say is it's your best shot at making something work. [laughs] Because the alternative is less about collaboration and more about control. And we just spent the last 15 minutes talking about trying to control environment. Yeah. Look where that got us. Right.
AD : Well, I'm sure though, it always works at home, right. With, with your children. And we can certainly take the application there and know it's gonna hit a home run every time?
AP : Well, I'll tell you what, you know, my daughter has got me dialed in so if I start with…
NM : Get that PERT shit outta here.
AP : Yeah, exactly. So, you know, if I start with validation, like, “Hey, I see you're enjoying your Xbox in our home. We have an agreement that responsibilities are done before leisure activity. If you do your responsibility now, you'll be able to come back to the Xbox later.” That's what we would call IRPD: Issue a validation statement, Refer to a shared value, Propose a choice, Describe a desirable outcome. I can't do that with them because they're like the knock the PERT shit off guy. Dad, stop. So, but I try to live my message. Like if I say, knock it off, go do your homework. I wanna practice doing it in a way that I wanna really do it under pressure. Cause if I say knock it off to someone I don't know, this could be a fight.
AD : Yeah.
AP : Whereas if I take the longer, more challenging road of moving them through a sequence, the likelihood of me influencing that is greater. But I will say this though. There is a lot of peace in my home and there's a lot of peace in my home because there are core commitments to shared understanding and listening and agreements that we make with one another on what the priorities are and, in that way, I could say that negotiation has influenced a very desirable and meaningful home life where we know what our shared values are. We know what the shared rules are. We know what the shared commitments are, and we give people an opportunity to correct themselves before correcting them. I don't do it perfectly. I myself have struggled over the course of my life and probably inherited it from my dad, a short fuse. It's been a long journey of Qui-Goning that through shadow work, through understanding my own suffering and through experience in teaching others and helping others engage in capacity for self-regulation. So I'm very proud of my kids. And my kids are very open about their gratitude for their strange, unique father who's unlike other dads they've observed in interacting with their friends.
And in that way, I have a pretty, if I were to die right now, I’d die grateful that I've had that experience and time with them and that feedback from them, I would die, satisfied that I did something right.
AD : That's great. Beautiful.
NM : Yeah. Well, Andy, I just wanna first say that. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. I really appreciate it. This is a podcast that's all about elevating your influence through purposeful negotiation. So I'll turn it over to Aram for some key takeaways from today's episode.
AD : Yeah. First of all, I wanna say, thanks, Andy. Echo what Nolan has said, which is we know you're very busy. Appreciate the great honorable work that you are doing before I get into my takeaways. Do you have a final thought that you would share with our listeners?
AP : Be the change you want to see in the world. I don't mean to plagiarize Gandhi, but I can tell you that that works in the highest risk, most violent situations. You're not gonna influence someone away from anger if you're not at peace yourself. And the work of being the change you wanna see has nothing to do with a controlling environment. It's gotta do with the far more fascinating journey of self-understanding.
AD : Well that really hits on the takeaway that I was gonna hit on is, and maybe a little different from what we've had in past podcast. But my takeaway is really for myself or Aram to be willing to be a little vulnerable and dig into that shadow work that I know I need to do as I look at, just relationships and how I show up in the world, if I want to have a greater impact. And I just want to go back to one of the first though, I'm gonna take that on that’s bringing peace to the house as you describe Andy, and also one thing that you said earlier, which are, you know, words are the requirement. And I think to own our language, own our words, and to treat more situations as if there's, Hey, I'm gonna exhaust the use of words and how I'm showing up using them up until that point when you know, threat is presenting itself, right? To really be patient there.
NM : It's beautiful.
AD : Thanks.
NM : Well, that is it for us on the podcast for today. Appreciate you listening. If you haven't already, please rate review, subscribe to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. It gets this podcast in front of other leaders, and hopefully we're starting to make a little bit of a difference in how at least you look at the negotiations or think about your leadership and how you can actually apply these skills in your life. So greatly appreciate it and we'll see you in the next episode.
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