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November 23, 2023

How to Use Change of Face Effectively in Your Setting

Safely transferring the support of an individual to a colleague.

Sometimes, for various reasons, we’re not always the right person to support an individual, especially if they’re in crisis. We may know ourselves that we’re not the best person to be involved, or it might take a colleague to recognise it and guide us out of a situation.

In Team Teach, the term ‘Change of Face’ refers to the support of an individual transferring to somebody else. The change is in the best interests of the individual, those around them, and ourselves, and aims to redirect and defuse behaviours.

When to use Change of Face

We all have some behaviours that personally challenge us and push our buttons more than others. This can lead to us reacting to situations, rather than responding to them. Change of Face is a useful strategy when we feel overwhelmed or frustrated, or can see a colleague in need of our support.

Recognising you need to use Change of Face

Previous personal experiences and our current state of mind can influence how we respond to and support situations in the workplace. It’s important to understand what we’re bringing to a situation, both mentally and physically. We can remember to have emotional check ins with ourselves so we’re aware of anything that may influence our response.

Small things, like a dreadful night’s sleep or a challenging journey to work, can significantly affect how we respond to something in the workplace. And we all have enormous pressures on us, both professionally and personally, that affect how we’re feeling.

As professionals, we can develop intense bonds with those we care for. Along with the highs, we’re likely to have situations that make us feel frustrated or angry. We all have our buttons pressed by different things and it takes professional strength to recognise that we need to take a step back in the interests of ourselves and the individuals in our care.

Recognising when a colleague needs to use Change of Face

Not only are we reading the behaviours and body language of the individuals we support, but also those that we work alongside. It’s important to know what pushes the buttons of our colleagues and what they may bring to a situation. In a positive, supportive culture, colleagues can act as critical friends to make the best choices for the individuals in our care.

Sometimes, it’s easier to see from afar when a situation is escalating and when Change of Face is necessary. For example, you encounter a colleague supporting a child who you know struggles with lengthy demands and loud noises. You can see that your colleague is using excessive verbal communication to list a series of instructions. When the individual doesn’t respond, your colleague repeats the instructions in a louder voice and moves closer. Your experience tells you that your colleague’s actions are causing increased stress, and anxiety behaviours are escalating.

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