Some Myths about Studio3


The Studio 3 approach means that you always have to 'give in' to people

It is true that we recommend that in conflict situations it is better for staff to 'give in' if the alternative is physical aggression. However, we do not advocate 'giving in' all of the time, because in the real world this is not always possible.

In extreme situations Studio 3 methods are not enough

This is most definitely a myth. We are not supermen or women. There is a myth that any training can equip staff to deal with every situation. Even advocates of extreme physical approaches cannot claim that they can deal with ALL challenging situations.

Studio 3 methods imply that you can never change behaviour

Strictly speaking the approach suggests that behaviours (especially in adults) are extremely difficult to change. Indeed, most meaningful behaviour change usually takes months and years as opposed to weeks and days.

There are no alternatives to the physical skills taught on Studio 3 courses

In very rare situations trainers and clinicians have taught physical methods that go beyond the basic training courses. We have taught procedures that clients have been used to in the past. This has been time limited, usually as part of what we call a 'restraint decompression plan' literally, this involves phasing out old behaviour management practices over time. In other cases service users have become almost addicted to intense physical contact.

Low arousal approaches make clients worse in their behaviour

Most of the research in behavioural psychology implies that behaviours often get worse before they get better. Low arousal approaches are not excluded from this. In some cases a person's behaviour will improve and others may get worse, but, we have to be clear what we define as 'worse' or 'better'. Some of our clinical work demonstrates that physical aggression can rapidly decrease over time. However, verbal aggression often increases. This is because we are often removing restrictions from people. It is our experience that people often expect too much from interventions.

Studio 3 is about physical methods only

The training emphasises the use of physical skills as a 'last resort' Often people state that they are not using Studio3, and what they mean is that they are not using the physical skills in practice on a 'day to day' basis. Research suggests that physical management skills are unnecessary in most challenging situations. One of our major problems involves staff becoming less confident in using physical skills as their use of low arousal approaches becomes more effective.

Studio 3 methods are ineffective

The Studio 3 approach attempts to focus staff on their own behaviour. We often find that staff can 'scapegoat' the approach, this is any easy target as blaming an approach avoids blaming service users. When a person states that the approach is not working it avoids people looking at their own contribution to the challenging situation.

Studio 3 is good for service users but not for staff

Studio 3 is about valuing people, all people. We often attempt to control situations that can make us afraid. For this reason staff can often control behaviours by imposing rules and sanctions. The Studio 3 approach does often require staff to give more (not all!!) control. This can be an extremely frightening process.

Studio 3 involves no structure for service users

Routines are important for people and meaningful activities can help to change peoples' lifestyles. People need some structure and some boundaries. The Studio 3 approach requires people to question WHY we impose boundaries on individuals. The more boundaries we have, the more points of conflict we place in a person's behavioural plan.

Studio 3 (Physical Intervention) doesn't work

This is an emotional response to the situation. The staff member is in a highly aroused state and wants to feel in control. To achieve this the staff member wants to stop/suppress the outburst and therefore in their perception - have control. Our methods give more control and choice to the resident and therefore provide scaffolding for a win/win scenario - if the resident feels like they are winning they do not have to outburst as much or for as long. The staff feel that this is a loss and emotionally respond with "Studio 3 doesn't work" when they mean "I did not feel that I had won" or "I could not get it to work". In reality the post incident de-briefing is key in understanding that staff will respond like this to the emotion. If they do ironically it means they are probably managing the person well. It is only after debriefing that most staff can recognise this.