Models for Intervention
What’s the Goal Of An Intervention?
An intervention is a compassionate confrontation to force the substance abuser to face the reality of their addiction, utilizing a rational and open dialogue. Each person who participates presents the way the addiction has impacted their lives, and what the consequences will be if the person refuses to enter treatment. Consequences can range from loss of financial support to the termination of the relationship.
The consequence of no further support from the group, if the person refuses treatment, is a crucial component of the intervention.
Intervention Isn’t Right for Everyone
In some cases, such as when the family is highly dysfunctional, or the addicted individual has a serious mental illness, an intervention may not have the intended result. It’s a good idea to talk with a behavioral health professional about your loved one’s situation before choosing to hold an intervention.
If a standard intervention is deemed inappropriate for your loved one, the professional can offer a number of alternative solutions, including other, gentler intervention models or a meeting with a healthcare professional.
Two Possible Outcomes
During an intervention, your loved one will either choose to enter treatment or refuse to do so.
Throughout the intervention process and beyond, regardless of the outcome, the most important thing is to hold on to your hope, which is the foundation of recovery. Let your loved one know that you believe they can recover from an addiction, and you’re not going to give up. People can and do recover. They may not see it at first, but with a positive attitude and a wealth of knowledge on your side, you can help them get there sooner or later.
Models for Intervention
There are several models that professionals may use when planning an intervention. Two common models are:
The Johnson model focuses on the addict and is the most commonly used form of intervention. Family members are guided by an interventionist to confront their loved one without the loved one’s prior knowledge. According to Family First Intervention, “the Johnson Model is grounded in the assumption that addicts cannot see how their substance abuse negatively affects and those around them. It also assumes that these individuals will remain in denial until they hit rock bottom. It’s important to realize this is not just the result of stubbornness, but rather an elaborate defense mechanism that the brain creates to justify their addiction. The aim of a Johnson model intervention is to encourage addicts to agree to treatment before they hit rock bottom on their own, which can be life-threatening.”¹
Invitational Model (Systemic Family Intervention Model)
The Invitational model takes a family-oriented approach, and the addict is invited to participate in a workshop led by the interventionist. Family First Intervention says “an interventionist helps the support network understand the concept of enabling and how it affects the addict and the family as a whole. Each family member must understand the role that he or she plays so everyone can begin the road to recovery as a unit. When every family member is committed to healing, the hope is that the addict will accept help and begin his or her journey to sobriety.”¹
Neither of these approaches guarantees that your loved one will agree to get help and maintain their recovery, but they let the addicted person know that you care and that treatment is available. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition, and your efforts may not succeed the first time. However, you may be able to break through the wall of denial and help your loved one start a new, sober life.
We believe that there are multiple approaches that can help an individual seek substance abuse treatment. A united family plan that makes it clear that the family does not and will not support substance abuse can be an important aspect of getting an individual into treatment.