HSABC Webinar: Anti-Oppressive De-escalation Skills

September 12, 2023, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM




In this Anti-Oppressive De-Escalation Skills training, we explore ways to center clients and help them in ways that don't perpetuate or exasperate power inequities. 

We will look at ways to self-regulate, hold space for clients who may be displaying aggressive behaviours, and learn ways to de-escalate intense situations.

Approaching clients this way helps nurture and foster relationships where people feel safe, happy, and housed. This approach provides the stability and safety needed for clients to work on the areas of their lives they identify as needing work.

Some of the main things we'll cover include:

  • Centering clients
  • Low-intensity situations
  • High-intensity situations
  • Prevention of escalation
  • Relationship building
  • Self-awareness


Instructor: Alison Houweling 

Alison Houweling, based in Vernon, British Columbia, has been named among the Women of the Year by Best Health magazine for her outstanding contributions to the health and medical fields. As a harm-reduction worker in the field for over 15 years and a former residential worker in a homeless shelter, she has witnessed the devastating impact of the opioid crisis during the pandemic.

With a focus on helping others, Alison was inspired by her parents' commitment to supporting the less fortunate. Her dedication to the cause has led her to various roles in harm reduction and social work:

  • Regional Harm Reduction Coordinator at Interior Health Authority since Sep 2021.
  • Manager of Community Programs and Education at Turning Points Collaborative Society from Sep 2020 to Nov 2022.
  • Shelter /Case Manager at John Howard Society of the North Okanagan from Feb 2013 to Aug 2015.
  • Employment Counselor at Work BC/John Howard Society of the North Okanagan from Dec 2010 to Feb 2013.
  • Case Manager at Vernon Women's Centre from 2009 to 2010.

Alison's educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UBC-O and a bachelor's and master's degree in social work from UBC.

Throughout her career, Alison has remained committed to supporting individuals with substance-use disorders finding ways to help them during the pandemic while prioritizing their safety. She continues to impact her community significantly, bridging the gap between the opioid overdose crisis and a proactive response to address this pressing issue.