Escalating Interventions for
Destructive/Harmful Behavior in Relationships

Clarify the limits and requests in the area of dangerous behavior.


Clarify accountability.

-Make sure each person is held accountable for his/her actions.

-Clarify the boundaries for acceptable behavior in videotalk.


Change the patterns around the problem.

-Any of the people involved may make changes in the pattern, but make sure the person who has been doing the destructive behavior continues to get the message that he/she is accountable for the destructive behavior.


Help the family or the person set and apply consequences.

-These consequences may be escalating from light to severe, including involvement of the legal authorities and severing the relationship.


Get the boundary violator to make amends and to reaffirm his/her commitment to staying within the limits.

-Often this involves actions more than words. The boundary violator must show consistent trustworthy behavior over time to reestablish the others' trust in the safety of the situation. Find out how long the person has gone in the past staying within limits and use that as a yardstick to measure progress. You may have to arrange for regular long-term follow-up to ensure that the destructive behavior is not recurring.


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