Conducting an intervention can often be the difference between life and death for those struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism, yet interventions are not limited strictly to chemical dependency. The scope of interventions covers a wide range of addictive behavioral compulsions ranging from gambling, eating disorders, sex, and other metal and physical health diagnosis. The
basic concept of an intervention is creating a ‘rock bottom’ experience faster that an individual will on their own, ultimately leading to treatment entry. completion, and long term recovery. Those in the midst of their addiction will often experience a period of time where their addiction is a solution to the way they feel, but over time, they reach a point where it is not working anymore. Usually, at this point, individuals may want to slow down, decrease, or stop, but they either don’t know how, or have tried and failed on their own. A common misconception of those struggling with addictive behaviors is that they are only affecting themselves, yet they are blind to the reality of how they are affecting their relationships with their friends, coworkers, and families. Addiction is a family disease and needs to be treated as such. Therefore, though the main priority in the early stages of an intervention is to engage the person of concern into either detox or residential treatment, long term recovery is dependent on a continuing care process which involves the whole family system.
As an interventionist, I am always trying to learn how I can be more effective when working with families of loved ones who struggle with addictive behaviors. Often times, the family history of trauma, physical and mental health issues, divorce, drug addiction and alcoholism is very complex. As I begin to gain first hand experience working with families, I know that I do not have all the answers. Sometimes I feel inadequate to help a family in crisis, but it is helpful to remember that my responsibility is to to the best I can with what I know, and God will take care of the results.
In an effort to expand my knowledge and resources, I went to a intervention training in Atlanta, Georgia where I had the opportunity to learn from some of the top interventionists in the
industry about the Johnson model. The Johnson model is the model of intervention most people are familiar with on TV. The main difference between the Johnson model and the ARISE model of intervention is: ARISE is a invitational intervention while the Johnson model is a surprise intervention. The Johnson model involves getting the family together, having them write personal letters to their loved one struggling with addiction, presenting those letters, and making a request for treatment entry. Though it sounds simple, the process is often very complicated and emotional, especially working with those who are resistant to going to treatment.
A misconception I had about the Johnson model before going to the training was that the main goal was to get the individual into residential treatment and that was it. What I learned is that
in the early development of the Johnson Model, it was very individual and treatment entry focused, but over time, interventionists who use this model focus a lot more on family healing and a long
term continued care process.
The main take-away I got from this training was that I need to develop my own style. There are many different interventionists in the industry who use many different models to conduct interventions. It is not a competition about what model works better, we are all working for the same purpose. Its about learning what works best for the family, dependent on their circumstances,
and how can we most effectively engage the addicted individual and the family into long term recovery.