Intervention basics - Compassionate InterventionsConducting 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.

Intervention Basics: Concept

The basic concept of an intervention is creating a ‘rock bottom’ experience, ultimately leading to treatment entry. Those in the midst of their addiction use abuse as a solution to the way they feel. Usually, at this point, individuals may want to slow down, decrease, or stop. However, they either don’t know how, or have tried and failed on their own.

A common misconception of those struggling with addiction is they only affect themselves. Yet, they are blind to the reality of how they are affecting their relationships with friends and family. In fact, addiction is a family disease. Therefore, long-term recovery is dependent on a continuing care process with the whole family system.

Effective Options

As an interventionist, I am always trying to learn how I can be more effective. 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’s helpful to remember that my responsibility is to do the best I can with what I know.

In an effort to expand my knowledge and resources, I went to an intervention training in Atlanta, Georgia. 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 an invitational intervention while the Johnson model is a surprise intervention. The Johnson model involves getting the family together, having them write personal letters, presenting those letters, and making a request for treatment entry. Though it sounds simple, the process is often emotional, especially working with those who are resistant to going to treatment.

Intervention Basics and Training

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 takeaway 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. It’s 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.

What is intervention? Specifically, visit our addiction treatment resources page to learn more.

– Christopher Hipp