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Using Interventions in Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

We take an integrated approach to treatment with all of our clients. The ability to work with the whole person and not just address the symptoms of an addiction is highly effective and offers a high rate of success.

However, the challenge for many families and loved ones of addicts is in getting the addict to understand the problem. They are often in denial about their addiction, which can create significant problems in trying to get them into counselling or therapy.

The first step in getting an addict into treatment is often in planning an intervention. There are different models of intervention that can be used based on the specific individual, each offering different benefits and advantages. Understanding these different models can help you prepare in planning the initial part of any recovery process.

The Johnson Model

The Johnson Model is the most widely recognised form of intervention. It has been in use since the 1960s and is featured in many television and reality shows.

In this model the interventionist (a counsellor, therapist or other trained individual) works with the family in advance of the event and without the knowledge of the addict. The interventionist helps the family to understand the addiction, and to prepare a message for the addict about how their behaviour has impacted their lives.

The addict is invited to a location without knowledge of the intervention and the interventionist guides the process, where each invited person shares their prepared message. This is not a judgmental message, but rather an objective statement of actual observations and experiences, coming from a place of love and caring.

The Field Model

The Field Model is based on the Johnson Model, but here the interventionist plays a more active role in assessing the addict for any risk of harm, to themselves or others. This method requires a highly-trained interventionist, with the ability to assess the individual at all times throughout the intervention.

The Field Model is typically used if there is a history of depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, or violent behaviour by the addict.

The Invitational Model

This is a more education-based intervention, with the process occurring over two days. It is organised like a workshop, with the addict and the family or support network attending training on addiction, enabling and recovery. This approach provides the same information to the family and the addict and allows everyone to understand their role in the addiction (if applicable), as well as the recovery.

This is intended to be a holistic approach, with a family member and not the interventionist inviting the addict. The entire process is specifically planned to address the individual addiction and the family or support network dynamics.

There is a more extended, durational type of model called the Family Systemic Model that is similar in structure to the Invitational Model. This can last for weeks or months, with the family and addict working together with the interventionist, to create a treatment plan that everyone participates in completing.

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