The Mandt System utilizes Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to help caregivers understand the impact unmet needs can have on how individual’s use their behavior. One area that is sometimes overlooked is that the need for safety and security includes the need to feel control over one’s life and the decisions made on a daily basis.

When individuals live in a setting where their sense of Liberty has been restricted their behavior will demonstrate that sense of frustration and often resistance. In working with individuals who are have been involuntarily committed by a court of law, or are housed in a juvenile justice or criminal justice setting, despite the fact that the person’s basic human needs are met, the lack of ability to make the most simple decisions, i.e. climate control, making phone calls, visitation will often manifest in the person exhibiting their anger and frustration.

Caregivers should not be surprised when individuals exhibit anger and aggression about their inability to get a coke or snack when they want. What caregivers may consider to be “little things” are in fact symbols of the overall lack of control and the behaviors exhibit the anger and frustration about the inability to make those decisions. We need to remember that it does not matter if the “incarceration” was justified or not because it is the feelings not the facts that move people through the the crisis cycle.

The best response from caregivers is to be empathetic, understand where the frustration is coming from and to be flexible whenever possible.

Aaryce Hayes – SVP Operations