The Mandt System®

About This Program

Target Population: Child welfare organizations and other human service programs concerned with the physical, psychological, and emotional safety of service recipients and service users

Program Overview

The Mandt System® is a relationally based program that uses a continuous learning and development approach to prevent, de-escalate, and if necessary, intervene in behavioral interactions that could become aggressive. The context of all behavior is relational. In human service settings, services are provided and received in the context of staff-to-staff relationships. When these relationships are characterized by words such as dignity, respect, trust, fairness, and integrity, the children, adolescents and adults will feel safer and their behavior will in turn reflect that safety. When service recipients can say that "In this place, and with these people, I feel safe™" they will hopefully be able to heal from the traumatic experiences many children and adolescents in service settings have experienced. The staff-to-staff and the staff-to-service-recipient relationships form the basis upon which children and adolescents will learn how to build and maintain healthy relationships. Children and adolescents will tend do what the staff do, not what they say to do, when relating to each other. The Mandt System® also believes that training is more effectively adopted by an organization if the leadership is informed and encouraged to support it. The Mandt System® provides a Letter to Administrators which highlights the importance of leadership and illustrates the key steps leaders can take to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint.

Family therapists have said that to be really good parents, adults must be really good partners. Children feel safe when their parents feel safe with each other. The Mandt System® has a version of the nonphysical aspects of the program specifically written for families. This empowers the certified trainers to not only teach the staff, but the families of children and adolescents as well, the skills needed to maintain the safety of all people. The Mandt System® also meets the '˜Character Counts'™ provisions in educational settings, and has been taught to students as young as 9 years old.

Program Goals

The primary goals of The Mandt System® are:

  • Build healthy workplace relationships between the staff of the organization to create a culture of safety
  • Build healthy relationships between the staff and the service recipients and their families to build upon the culture of safety
  • Increase the physical, psychological, and emotional safety of all people

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for The Mandt System®.

Essential Components

The essential components of The Mandt System® include:

  • Three Relational Chapters that are required to be taught prior to teaching any other chapters:
    • Chapter 1, Building Healthy Relationships, teaches what the components of healthy relationships are and how they can be built and maintained.
    • Chapter 2, Building Healthy Communication Skills, includes information on how communication, (verbal and non-verbal) is needed to build healthy relationships and how to de-escalate potentially aggressive situations.
    • Chapter 3, Building Healthy Conflict Resolution Skills, combines the concepts of healthy relationships and healthy communication to do more than anger management. By learning to work cooperatively, children and adults can resolve conflicts in ways that meet each others' needs and improve the relationship.
  • Four Conceptual Chapters that provide information in specific areas that increase the emotional, psychological, and physical safety of all people:
    • Chapter 4, Trauma-Informed Services, provides a sub-clinical foundation empowering people to be aware of the neurobiological effects of abuse and neglect, and how to respond in ways that minimize the potential for re-traumatization. Information from the Child Trauma Academy is incorporated with the permission of the author, Bruce Perry MD, PhD
    • Chapter 5, Positive Behavior Interventions and Support, provides an overview of what positive behavior interventions and support is and how to implement behavior change strategies in non-coercive ways.
    • Chapter 6, Liability and Legal Issues, provides a framework to understand the potential legal issues facing paid providers of services when faced with potentially aggressive situations.
    • Chapter 7, Medical Risks of Restraint, provides information on the medical risks of physical restraint and how to minimize those risks.
  • Three Technical Chapters that provide specific physical skills to provide safety for caregivers and people to whom they provide care:
    • Note: The skills are based on principles and applied in a way that treats all people with dignity and respect while also avoiding prohibited practices that have a higher risk of harm. The skills are arranged in a graded and gradual hierarchy of interventions. Each of the physical skills has an ergonomic assessment that describes how the skills provide safety for the persons performing the skills and the persons on whom the skills are being performed.
    • Chapter 8, Assisting and Supporting, provides the foundation for all the physical skills taught in The Mandt System®. Included in this chapter are skills to escort people away from danger and towards safety.
    • Chapter 9, Separating, provides the training needed to address situation in which service recipients may grab others.
    • Chapter 10, Restraint, teaches how to use provide restraint with the service recipient in a standing position. The Mandt System® teaches two restraints specifically designed for children, and two restraints designed for adolescents and adults. The Mandt System® does not teach any floor restraints.
  • An annotated bibliography of over 100 peer-reviewed articles and books relevant to the skills needed to build healthy relationships is part of the resources provided to certified instructors.

Program Delivery

Recommended Intensity:

Relational skills can be used in many situations. If physical skills are taught, contact sessions should be 30 minutes or less in length.

Recommended Duration:

Skills learned in training can be used as needed.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Foster / Kinship Care
  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

No resources are needed. The Mandt System® does not sell any items that would be required to perform skills taught in the trainings. Certified instructors are given access to electronically download all teaching materials including a Student Workbook, PowerPoint presentation, and resource articles at no additional charge. Copies of Student Workbooks can be purchased, if so desired, but are not mandatory.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

The minimum qualifications are set by the organization's program and procedures.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Training can be provided on-site or regionally. A minimum of 12 trainers is required to provide the train-the-trainer program.

Number of days/hours:

For a general staff member to learn the techniques of The Mandt System®, 16 hours is the average, with the range being from 12–24 hours depending on the number of chapters being taught. The Mandt System® has a modular design to provide flexibility to organizations in their implementation of the program.

To certify staff to be instructors, he length of time will depend on the length of the program in which participants wish to be certified. The hours are 8 am to 5 pm with lunch and breaks:

  • Relational (non-physical) – 2 days
  • Relational and Conceptual (includes Trauma-Informed Services, Positive Behavior Support, Liability and Legal Issues and Medical Risks of Restraint) – 3 days
  • Relational, Conceptual, and Technical (includes physical restraints) – 5 days

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for The Mandt System®.

Additional References

Alberta Initiative for School Improvement. (2011). The Mandt System®.

Huckshorn, K. A., Parhami, I., Trimzi, I., Holloway, S. W., Diamond, M., & Gallucci, G. (2013). Changing cultures of state psychiatric hospitals to reduce client seclusions and restraints. Poster Presentation presented at the meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

Contact Information

Dale L. Shannon, PhD (He/Him)
Title: Director of Instructional Design and Governance/National Faculty Member
Agency/Affiliation: The Mandt System
Phone: (800) 810-0755

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: April 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: July 2015

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: January 2011