Interventions are a group process during which the reality of the identified patient’s (IP) alcohol and drug use is presented to that person by a group of other individuals (ie, family, friends, co-workers). Each member of the group should be a significant person in the patient’s life and should be prepared to relate several experiences in which the person’s substance use/behaviors adversely affected him or her. The objective is to present this evidence in a structured manner in order to overcome the IP’s avoidance of treatment, problematic behavior, denial and resistance to receiving support.
There are several models of including: Johnson model (oldest “surprise” form created in the 1960s by Vernon Johnson, used on the A&E Intervention show), Motivational Interviewing (“invitational” and evidence based, created in 1991 by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick), and the ARISE Model (invitational, non-secretive, 3 phase model). Family interventions targeted to the family system are most common, but executive interventions are also an option and address the corporate business system.The measure of success for an intervention is not always the IP attending treatment. Sometimes, it is defined by the changes in the family system that have occurred during the preparation stage, actual intervention and afterwards.
What kinds of changes are expected from an intervention?
The process of intervention asks, encourages, or demands that the IP change their behavior in many ways, stop using substance, go to treatment, go to and get active with self-help groups, therapy, etc.
The same is true for the members of the intervention group, it asks, encourages, or demands that they change their behavior: stop enabling, attend self-help support groups (Al-Anon, ACOA, etc.), go to therapy, etc. It is ideal for all loved ones to recognize the need for changes for their own sake, even though the changes are often made with the specific goal of getting the IP into treatment. If the IP agrees to go to treatment, it will only be the beginning of a lifelong healing process for the IP and loved ones. The IP is not “cured” when they come home, and they will need to make many changes in their life that will impact all loved ones. Therefore, it is helpful for loved ones to work on their own recovery and to make necessary changes and support the healthy changes of the IP. In order to maximize the effectiveness of an intervention it is helpful for those involved to think about the answers to the following questions:
Choosing an interventionist:
Interventionists are not required to have particular credentials. However, there are certifications available such as Board Registered Interventionist 1 and 2 (BRI-1, BRI-2). Often the best way to locate a reputable interventionist is through personal recommendations.Be leery of interventionists who are only affiliated/employed with a particular treatment center, they may not provide appropriate treatment options for IP (may be limited to that treatment center)
Questions to ask a potential interventionist:
Referral options: The following organizations have members in every state and provide at least a place to begin your search:
Network of Independent Interventionists (NII): http://www.independentinterventionists.com/
The Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) http://associationofinterventionspecialists.org/
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