Introduction to Stress and the Private Investigator

Accepted in: NC, SC, TN, KY, NM, KS, GA, IA, MN & OK (approved for 2 hours)

Private investigation is a stressful job. A private investigator can be exposed to a large number of traumatic situations and incidents during the course of their normal duties such as abuse, neglect, or death. Continued exposure to these scenarios can lead to feelings of anger, depression, and stress. Stress narrows your ability to think clearly and make important decisions. Knowing how to process these emotions is an essential skill to prevent oneself from unknowingly escalating a situation or exacerbating a tense situation.

It is also important to recognize the signs of stress in others. Knowing how to defuse hostile situations and deal with people who are in emotional distress will improve your ability to communicate with others and effectively resolve a situation.

Purpose and Goals of Stress and the Private Investigator

The purpose of this course is to teach students how to recognize popular de-escalation techniques and when to utilize them. Students will also learn how to manage stress. Stress management is essential both inside and outside of the workplace. The goal of de-escalation training is to teach private investigators and officers to rely on communication and negotiation tactics rather than physical force to persuade a subject to refrain from physical violence or self-harm.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Identify behavioral patterns
  • Self-regulate their own emotions
  • Recognize common signs of emotional distress in individuals
  • Understand various ways to de-escalate a situation
  • Communicate effectively with somebody who may be emotionally compromised
  • Practice stress management skills

Checking Your Emotional State

  1. Recognizing when you are emotionally compromised.
  2. Considering outside factors before engaging in a potential confrontation. Avoid bringing personal drama or emotions into the conversation.
  3. Adrenaline. Fight or flight response & what to do when you recognize the signs of an adrenaline rush.

Identifying when De-escalation is Needed

  1. How to know when a situation needs to be deescalated
  2. Recognizing the early warning signs of an argument

Speaking with People Who are Emotionally Compromised

  1. Tone of voice
  2. Avoid sarcasm
  3. Calm demeanor
  4. Be compassionate
  5. Find a common ground. You and your client are on the same team – make sure
  6. The Broken Record Technique


  1. Don’t match their energy
  2. Tactical breathing
  3. Focus on thoughts, not feelings, for both yourself and your subject. Ask yourself: “What is the root cause of these hostile emotions?”
  4. Transparency – clearly communicate and make your expectations clear. Do not mislead your subject
  5. Effective communication
  6. Don’t take things personally
  7. Know when to back off. If you feel like you are losing control of your temper and fear you may not be able to remain calm, allow someone else to take over for you. Step aside and remove yourself from the situation.

Reading Positive, Hostile, and Aggressive Body Language

  1. Positive Body Language. Eye contact, smiling and nodding,
  2. Hostile Body Language. Crossed arms, clenched fists, bared teeth, sneering, scowling, furrowed brow, pointing, excessive gesturing, hiding one’s hands,
  3. Aggressive Body Language. Combative, threats, making physical contact

Dealing with Stress

You may be called upon as a private investigator to aid your client in several ways before the court date.

  1. Recognize your emotions
  2. Practicing self-care
  3. Recognizing your own habits
  4. Practice regulating your emotions and responses to high-stress situations
  5. Monitor your physical response

Case Studies / Articles

  1. Three case studies: When police untrained in de-escalation shoot unarmed people | Not Trained to Not Kill | APM Reports
  2. 3.Abanonu.pdf (
  3. Defining De-escalation | National Police Association


  1. What do you do if a conflict is not resolved by the end of a conversation?
    1. Do not dwell on the conflict

Talking to Children

  1. Get on “their level”/match their eye level. Try to avoid “towering over” an individual when speaking with them.
  2. Show empathy
  3. Use positive words when communicating

The Line / When is Force Appropriate?

  1. Verbal restraint
  2. Physical restraint
  3. Non-lethal force
  4. Lethal force
  5. Excessive force
  6. Context counts

Course Information

Adult Education Methods Utilized

  • Downloadable handouts
  • Narrated slides
  • Case studies and articles

Textbook and Course Materials

  • Articles
  • On-demand video
  • Downloadable materials
  • Certificate of Completion

Course Requirements

  • Internet connection (DSL, LAN, or cable connection desirable)
  • Access to the internet
  • Ability to use a personal computer

Course Offerings

  • Certificate of Completion
  • 60-day unlimited course access

Course Structure

This course will be delivered online, webinar or in person through the website. Participants will use website credentials to log in and access their accounts. Participants will access online lessons, course materials, and resources. The course will be broken down into modules for self-paced learning. Access to the course is limited to 60 days. Following the completion of the course, students will receive a certificate of completion for Continuing Education Credits and licensing renewal.

  • This course will be delivered online through a course management website
  • To access this course online, you will need to access the Internet and a supported Web browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.

Technical Assistance

If you require technical assistance at any time during the course or to report a problem: