Basic Types of Interventions

There are several basic types of interventions:


  • Simple Intervention- Have you ever stopped a kid from walking into traffic?  Ever warn someone about the hot sauce? Simple interventions are when you consciously step in to change the effort or outcome of an event.  When it comes to substances, this can be just you and the person involved, warning them, guiding them, or making suggestions on their behalf. It's best you consult with someone in the industry before you jump in on your own as you may find professional company both comforting in the process and improving the odds of a positive outcome.


  • Classic intervention: This is when people approach the person-of-concern (POC) directly and let it all hang out. This can be family, friends, associates, and people they work with, all there to speak to the POC about how their behavior is impacting them. Of course having someone experienced with interventions be involved with help guide the discussion, oversee steps in achieving stated goals and act as orchestra leader for a smooth and unified effort by all. 


  • Crisis intervention- This deals with emergent critical issues needing direct and immediate involvement and performed without haste with the POC directly.  This is confrontational in that the POC has created a state of risk which is addressed and stabilized. 


  • Confrontational intervention- This is used when the POC has limited insight into their condition and unable to engage in a group process beforehand.  While the POC may enter the session without prior notice, it's not necessarily shocking, in that they know their lives are in ruin and having a number of concerned loved ones assemble show that there is a concern and people are willing to take time and effort.


Intervention Disciplines

  • Johnson Model- The well-defined plan that Dr. Vernon Johnson created was written in a book called “I'll Quit Tomorrow” in 1973. Following the course of the classic intervention model, the idea is to present three or more treatment options. 


  • Family Systems intervention- Murry Bowen introduced family systems theory in the late 1960s. Interventions may focus on several family members, centering on dysfunctional relationships.  


  • Love First intervention- Motivates change through evidence of destruction caused by the addiction and strategic engagement with loved ones, utilizing well-written letters spelling out evidence of their behavior and letters of ultimatum should the POC refuse or want to leave treatment against medical advice.


  • Tough Love intervention- This is pretty much what its title implies. Individuals explain their concern for the individual, make demands on them regarding the need to get treatment, and if the person doesn’t get treatment, they enforce those demands.



So You've Decided To Take Action


  • Meet with a "core group" well in advance of taking action. Identify who has spoken to the POC about getting help?  Who in the POC's world has leverage, or special relationship?  Identify who might be disruptive and should not be in the group.   Teachers, employers, co-workers are all possible team members. Reach out to them and see if they'd be part of your team. 


  • Get the help of a professional. Much has been done to refine the process of intervention/interception, and you will find their assistance beneficial to the outcome for all involved. 


  • The pre-meeting, best face-to-face, but could be done utilizing Skype/Zoom.


  • Be clear delegating responsibilities such that everyone knows what they do, and what they are not to do. 


  • Stay away from being vindictive, hurtful, or spiteful.  Speak from the heart with love and hopes the POC will return to the wonderful person they were.


  • Have treatment options.  Location is important, but so is the atmosphere.  Look into age/social/financial considerations. 


  • Say what you'll do, but do what you say.  Sincerity and authenticity are paramount.  Do not back down or recant ultimatums. 


  • Everything- from what car/bus/plane/train/taxi/uber/hotels to take, to pets, rent, utilities... all the details of the POCs life are pre-arranged.



After The Intervention


This is a two-legged marathon.  One leg is getting the POC into treatment, the other is what is done when they return (Post-treatment). It's critical that triggers are removed or avoided as best as possible.  Friends and family are to be well versed on what to do, whom to speak to with questions and how to behave with the POC in all social situations.  The process of healing from addiction takes time, and recent research shows it can take two years or more for the brain to return to a "pre-addiction" state. While damage to the brain can occur with prolonged substance engagement, we now know how well people can do if given time and opportunity to heal. 



The Bottom Line

Addiction is as much a disease as diabetes.  We don't start out addicted, we start out trying to ease the pain, or enjoy life, and our brain gets rewired.  Addiction is not a personality deficit, and people should not be treated as such.  Shame, blame, and guilt must be removed from the equation.  Looking forward with motivation and the support of loved ones will improve the odds of success.  


Miracles happen every day.  When you look at me, you're staring into the eyes of one. 


Call us today on 508-687-0068

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