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An experienced corrections officer, Rory Miller, taught a class on threat evaluation Jan. 15 in the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) auditorium as part of Walter Reed Bethesda’s Stages of Healing (SoH) series.

Miller, also a tactical team leader, crisis communicator and master of Sosuishitsu-ryu Jujutsu, a traditional Japanese martial arts, explained his goal for the class was to teach simple, yet practical safety skills on how to restrain, identify a threat and how to recognize abnormal, predatory behavior.

“Appropriate levels of response vary by situation,” Miller said. He explained a goal of his presentation was to have people make a conscious recalibration of threat assessment. “I have a hard time saying there is something wrong with mindset X if it gives you an edge surviving situation Y. The skill of reading the situation and opting between mindsets might be the way to go,” he added.

Robin Berenstain a social worker at Walter Reed Bethesda who attended the workshop, said, “It’s always helpful to add to one’s ‘arsenal of information.’

“I’m glad to have gotten some current information on [what to be] on the lookout for a threat. I will certainly assess situations with more information and better skills than before the presentation. I am glad to have had the opportunity to attend Rory Miller’s workshop,” said Berenstain.

Also, during the workshop, Miller discussed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, stating that human motivation can be based on people seeking fulfillment, and that motivation, be it survival, esteem or self-actualization can spiral out of control. This is when threat evaluation can be effective, he added.

Dr. Micah Sickel, who coordinates the Stages of Healing series, explained the events normally showcase poets, musicians and singers, displaying their therapeutic talents, but this particular event was clinician focused.

“As a psychiatrist, sometimes my interest is in subjects outside of typical psychotherapy,” Sickel explained. “I think if we can have someone like Rory come in and show us the signs to look for in someone who might be escalating, it will serve us well as clinicians, and can also be helpful for our patients,” he said in explaining the departure from the usual SoH event.“

For more information about Stages of Healing, call Sickel at 301-295-2492.