Staging a Successful Intervention

If you’re a partner, relative or friend of someone who’s suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, you’ll know how difficult life can sometimes be. Helping a loved one to overcome their addiction can often seem an insurmountable task, especially if they’re in denial about the effect their addiction is having on them and the people around them. One way to encourage an addict to confront their situation is by the use of an intervention; an approach, which is becoming an increasingly popular method to persuade addicts to seek the help they need.

If you’re interested in trying this strategy for your loved one, you may want to familiarize yourself with the substance abuse intervention models available and find out more about how to stage an intervention.

Substance abuse intervention models

Using intervention strategies has become an accepted practice for encouraging addicts to seek treatment. However, it’s important that you choose the most effective strategy for your particular circumstances.

  • Johnson Intervention model. This is probably the most confrontational intervention as the whole process is organized without the knowledge of the addict. While the purpose of this kind of intervention is to pull the addict out of self-denial, it can often backfire and cause more problems.
  • Invitational model. In contrast to the Johnson Intervention, the invitational model is a scheduled intervention where the addict is fully aware of what is about to happen. Of course, they still have the option of whether they attend, but the meeting will go ahead whether or not they agree to be there.
  • The Field Model. This combines the strategies of both the Johnson and Invitational models, so it can be adapted to meet any situation, giving the therapist more flexibility when making decisions.
  • Systematic Intervention Model. If you suspect that the confrontational approach would not be appropriate this model is a good option as, using positive behavior and reinforcement techniques, it focuses on encouraging the addict to give up their addiction, rather than forcing them to confront their self-denial.
  • Motivational Interviewing. More of a counseling technique, motivational interviewing uses conversation and empathy to encourage the addict to set goals and make positive changes to their behavior.

How to stage an intervention

Having decided on the best intervention model for your particular circumstances, it’s important to put a plan in place. At Luxury Beach Rehab, we believe that a successful intervention needs careful planning, as poor preparation and delivery can often make the situation worse. We suggest the following steps:

  • Form an intervention-planning group. If you need to consult with a professional on how to do this, we’re always on hand to help.
  • Gather relevant information. This includes details about the extent of the addiction problem, the addiction itself, plus research on appropriate treatment programs. You may also wish to take steps to enroll your loved one on a specific program.
  • Form an intervention team. Try not to include anyone who may sabotage the meeting or with whom the addict does not get along. You may find that people from outside the family will help to keep the discussions more solution focused.
  • Specific consequences. If you’ve decided that there will be consequences should the addict refuse treatment, you need to be clear about what these will be.
  • Meeting notes. Don’t rely on your memory. Make notes of specific incidents and situations, which were affected by the addiction.
  • Hold the meeting. During the meeting, take turns to express your concerns and feelings, before offering treatment options. Introduce consequences if necessary, but remember that there’s no point in threatening a consequence if you’re not prepared to go through with it.
  • Follow up. Intervention is just the first step to recovery; it’s vital to involve a spouse, partner, family member or friend to ensure that the addict continues their treatment and avoids a relapse.