The Leading Expert in Treatment for Alcohol and Substance Abuse
and Founder of The Hills Treatment Center

Intervention-the act or method of interfering with the outcome or course especially of a condition or process (as to prevent harm or improve functioning).

Addictive behavior can develop into an unrelenting source of pain and destruction and typicallyincapacitatesthe addict and their loved ones. Lives are unraveled by addiction and intervention may well be the incentive that moves an individual towards altering their unhealthy ways. Addressing an individual's dependency on unhealthy behaviors is never an easy task, especially when that behavior has morphed into a dangerous habit.

Therapeutic intervention in respect to addiction has been around for about 30 years; Dr. Vernon Johnson of the Johnson Institute in Minneapolis designed the basic approach for an intervention. Today, two forms of direct intervention exist and are typically used- the Systemic Family Model and A.R.I.S.E. Both techniques are "invitational"and compassionate methods devised to help take the focus off the addict. These techniques attempt to drive home the idea that the entire family unit or support system must change in an effort for everyone who is involved to get healthy. Indirect intervention is a process that involves a family that has become co-dependent,encouraging them to be more effective in helping the addict heal their dependent behaviors.

When organizing a direct intervention, there are several steps in developing an effective result; each step plays an important part in the process being a successful one. Generally you are asking that a group of individuals (typically family and friends) come togetherin order to persuade the addict to seek immediate professional help. The individuals involved are instructed to explain their concerns and giveexamples that detailhow the addiction or behavior has negatively impacted their lives.

It is strongly urged that a list of boundaries be prepared, as well as consequences that will take affect if treatment is not sought. The support of a qualified counselor or certified interventionist might be a wise asset in assisting in balancing the effort. The environment in which the intervention occurs is also significant - never should this process transpire in a public venue. Staging an intervention when someone has been using or drinking is not suggested. It is recommended that the intervention be planned in a way that the person is relatively sober and somewhat receptive to what youare saying.

Typically, threats or manipulation only push an addicted individual to shut down, being intervened upon can already be an overwhelming experience. In developing an intervention it is paramount to have a specific and realistic goal. Ideally, immediate admission to an inpatient treatment center should be the aim, the controlled environment guarantees at least some period of sobriety, which then gives the person a fighting chance at working a strong program of recovery that supports his or her specific psychosocial profile.

Controversy does surround the staging of interventions andthe long-term effectiveness is sometimes questioned. A common opinion is that an addict must "hit rock-bottom" and ask for help. However, more research needs to be completed to support either method.

Home | About | Addiction Guide | The Hills | Blog | Contact | Resources
Copyright © 2011 Dr. Howard Samuels. All Rights Reserved.