Psychological Aspects of Crisis Negotiation, Second Edition: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Psychological Aspects of Crisis Negotiation, Second Edition

By Thomas Strentz

© 2012 – CRC Press

367 pages | 29 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781439880050
pub: 2011-12-01
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pub: 2011-12-01
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While there are many books on crisis negotiation, most of the current literature focuses on the history and mechanics of this dynamic process, leaving out critical elements that are required for a successful encounter with a hostage-taker or other malfeasant. Psychological Aspects of Crisis Negotiation, Second Edition explores the methods and strategies for confronting the nine types of subjects typically encountered in hostage/suicide sieges by correctional staff and law enforcement crisis negotiators.

Drawn from articles published by Thomas Strentz while serving at the FBI Academy* along with written versions of lectures developed and delivered since his retirement, the book highlights psychological dynamics of negotiations as they apply to the negotiator, the hostage, and the subject. It discusses the predictors of surrender versus the need for a tactical intervention and examines the phases of a hostage crisis and the changing focus as the crisis develops. Referencing historical events such as The Bay of Pigs invasion and the Challenger and Columbia incidents, the book demonstrates how faulty group decision making can spell tragedy.

Enhanced with case studies to put the material into context, this second edition also includes new chapters on the first responder, hostage survival, and the Islamic belief system and culture. Steeped in sage advice from a national expert, this volume arms those tasked with confronting dangerous offenders with the knowledge and tools they need to subvert disaster and ensure the preservation of human life.

*Articles were reviewed by the Academy Editorial/Review Board and approved by the Bureau for publication. 


" … an extraordinary overview of a major area in crisis/negotiation and a true on-scene reference manual for the crisis/hostage negotiator. … an inclusive, targeted, and comprehensive work … . Highly recommended."

—John D. Baker, Ph.D., Editor, The Negotiator Magazine

Praise for the First Edition

"Strentz combines a wide range of hands-on experiences, respect for the wisdom of some psychological concepts, and knowledge of psychopathology to give some valid, helpful advice to those who are faced with a precarious hostage or other crisis situation. He has been there and "done it." Yet he has also, through graduate work and expert coaching, learned to use psychological insights to determine an appropriate course of intervention and attain a successful outcome."

—Charles Bahn, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 51, No. 45

"…very insightful, and comprehensive. It is a great book to "carry in your CNT bag" as you give excellent recommendations on strategies to utilize when negotiating with disturbed individuals. [The author's] sense of humor throughout the book is priceless."

—Sandy Terhune, Ph.D., Santa Monica Police Department

"…a long overdue reference book for crisis negotiators. …Psychological Aspects of Crisis Negotiation should be mandatory reading for any crisis negotiator who considers him/herself a professional."

—Russ Moore, Sergeant, San Diego Sheriff’s Department

" … gives the reader confidence that they know where to go for answers if ever they find themselves negotiating for the lives of others. … the real gem of the book, and the reason it can be seen as a manual to have at a hostage scene, is the second section. Strenz goes into how to negotiate and what to say to different types of hostage takers. … This section is worth its weight in gold because he not only gives you the rationale, he gives you lists on where to go with a negotiation and what to say and not to say. This is the brilliance of Strenz’s organization. … if you want a good read and a good reference in this area of operational work, order Thomas Strenz’s Psychological Aspect of Crisis Negotiation. You will not be disappointed.

—Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D., Executive Director, Society for Police and Criminal Psychology

Table of Contents

Basic Concepts

The American Psychiatric Association (APA)

Characteristics of Effective Hostage/Crisis Negotiators

Cross-Trained versus Cross-Qualified

First Responder Guidelines

Non-Law Enforcement/Correctional Crisis Negotiators

The Crisis Negotiation Team

Crisis Negotiator Stress

Dealing with the Other Victim

Negotiating with Normal People

Negotiating with the Adolescent Hostage Taker

Negotiating with the Inadequate Personality

The Antisocial Personality Disorder (It’s All about Me!) Hostage Taker

Negotiating with the Paranoid Schizophrenic Hostage Taker

The Bipolar Hostage Taker

The Suicidal Hostage Holder (Also Known as the Solo Suicidal Subject)

Police-Assisted Suicide

Crisis Negotiations in the Correctional Setting

Negotiating with the Extremist

Terrorism and the Tenets of Islam

Crisis Resolution Indicators

Indicators of Subject Surrender

Indicators of Volatile Negotiations

Group Dynamics

Group Think

Creative Criteria for Constructive Deviation from Crisis Negotiation Guidelines

Hostage Issues

Phases of a Hostage Crisis

The Stockholm Syndrome

What Do You Say to a Hostage?

A Hostage Psychological Survival Guide


Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science