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The Balance of Guilt & Shame

When we conduct an interrogation with someone, there has to be some reason that we believe the individual is not being completely honest, trying to mislead us, holding back some information or maybe outright lying to us. If that was not the case we would simply be conducting an interview with them. The main difference between interviewing and interrogation is that during an interview we are trying to gather information from a cooperative individual, wherein our main concerns relate to communication and memory issues. During an interrogation we are dealing with a resistant individual and our main concerns relate to the motivational issues of the person we are communicating with.

The motivational issues means that the person appears to have more relevant information to provide you regarding the incident under investigation or their involvement with it, but they are not willing to tell you everything at this time, or they are not comfortable doing so for some reason. For each case and each person, that motivational roadblock will be different. To get you thinking, here are some roadblocks people may have. Some may be concerned about getting caught and all of the fallout from that like getting arrested, going to jail, fines, etc. Some may be concerned about losing their job, getting fired, not being able to support their family, losing their home, etc. Others may be fearful of retaliation from other people involved, embarrassment with family, letting other family members or friends down, guilt or shame about their actions, etc. In some cases they may simply not trust you.

During the interrogation we want to reduce their resistance to confess while at the same time increase their desire to tell the truth. Now, reducing their resistance to confess does not mean excessively-long interrogations trying to wear them down, tricking them, putting them in uncomfortable positions, denying them food, water or sleep, or making them listen to Michael Bolton songs for 12 hours straight! That is coercive and unproductive.

We can reduce their resistance to confess ethically and effectively by developing rapport and trust with the individual and addressing their concerns upfront with them. Sometimes that open and honest discussion with them is enough to break through their resistance barrier. If they are still holding back or are not comfortable, we can use persuasive triggers such as reciprocity, conformity, scarcity or contrast. You can build up their character by highlighting the good in them. You can try to empathize and rationalize why this could have happened, or why the individual may have made the decisions he/she did based on the circumstances at the time. You can point out that things could certainly have been worse, or that other people have done much worse things, or help to displace some blame, etc.

The goal is to try and reduce the shame that they may be feeling while at the same time increasing the guilt. Shame is the internal pain that often comes with doing something wrong, while guilt is a feeling a responsibility for their actions.

Guilt & Shame

To do this, we don’t have to get the individual’s will to confess to 100%, we simply need to move the needle past the 50% mark. Once the person has more of a desire to tell the truth than to hold back, we will be on our way to effectively and ethically persuading them to be truthful. We just have to get them over the hump to tip the scales toward truth! 

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Our primary purpose is to enhance the investigator's ability to develop rapport, facilitate communication, extract more accurate information, detect deception and obtain the TRUTH from every investigative inquiry.

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Here is an overview of some of the available training courses through LIES, LLC. Click the link at the bottom of the box for details on the courses

Training Courses for Investigators:

  •  Investigative Statement Analysis for Patrol & First Responders
  • Witness Interviewing for First Responders
  • Foundations of BELIEF; Proper Framework for Effective Interviewing
  • Situational Awareness/Mindfulness within Investigative Interviews
  • Intelligent Interviewing; Social & Emotional Intelligence within Investigative Interviews
  • Investigative Statement Analysis Workshop
  • Interviewing Psychology; Deception, Persuasion and Interrogation Strategies
  • Investigative Statement Analysis; Truth through what they S.A.I.D.
  • BELIEF Interviewing Model
  • Cognitive Interviewing; Improving Witness Memory and Recall
  • Tactical Interviewing & Detecting Deception
  • Interviews of Post-Shooting and High-Stress Events

Corporate and Business Training:

  • Truth, Deception & Effective Communication
  • Language & Lying
  • Bodies & Baselines
  • Communicate to Connect
  • Custom training programs available as well to meet specific needs!

We can conduct our training classes on-site to minimize travel expenses for attendees and to maximize the amount of personnel available to benefit from training. Agencies who host training courses receive FREE training for their officers! Contact us for details on setting up training at your agency. Click "Read More" to learn about our training programs and to see upcoming training courses. 
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