We understand how heartbreaking it can be to watch a loved one struggle with substance use disorder (SUD). When you care about someone, you would do anything to help them help themselves. In the case of addiction, professional treatment is usually the most effective help someone can get. Still, those in the throes of addiction might not be able to pull themselves out enough to see how badly they need help, or they might not want to get better. When a loved one with SUD can’t convince themselves to seek treatment, sometimes they need an extra push through the use of different types of interventions.

Types of Interventions

All types of interventions can be emotionally difficult for the people involved. Planning the intervention carefully beforehand can help relieve some of that worry and stress. It can also help the intervention go more smoothly and increase the chance of success. 

All in all, the planning stage can be just as important as the intervention itself. If you’re considering staging an intervention for a loved one with SUD, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the following approaches:

The Johnson Model

Known as the Johnson Method, this approach typically involves three stages. The first stage requires you to identify your loved one’s supportive social network. This could be family, friends, coworkers, or anyone who cares about them. Then, you must recognize which of these people would be willing to be involved in the intervention. It’s also important to consider who would be the most helpful or supportive. 

Once a strong intervention group is formed, it is recommended to meet once or twice before the actual intervention takes place. These meetings will ensure that everyone is on the same page. At meetings, you can consider discussing the goals of the intervention and how you plan to achieve those goals. If you need the group to contribute anything, like a prepared speech by each person, these preparatory meetings are the best time to set such expectations. It’s also important to talk about your own feelings and needs during this time, as this process can be emotionally taxing to everyone involved. 

Under the Johnson Model, the intervention itself is pretty confrontational. You and the group will meet with your loved one to give them an ultimatum. First, you’ll explain to your loved one with SUD how their substance use has interfered with their health and wellbeing as well as how it has affected everyone in the group. It’s important that they fully understand that they have hurt the people that they care about by engaging in recurring substance use. 

From there, you’ll explain and set boundaries for your relationship if they refuse treatment. This may include being cut off from loved ones socially or financially. Although these consequences may seem harsh, they’re often necessary to persuade your loved one to get treatment. 

At the end of the intervention, you’ll ask your loved one to make a decision. If they refuse, it’s crucial that you follow through with the consequences laid out in the intervention. Doing so may motivate them to consider participating in treatment in the near future.

The Invitational Model

This intervention approach is different from the Johnson Model because it’s much less confrontational. The goal of the Invitational Model is to give everyone in the support group a role to play and to invite the person with SUD to join their collective efforts.

Similar to the preparation phase of the Johnson Model, you should begin this intervention with a planning period. This includes gathering your support group of friends and family and meeting with them to discuss the intervention process. During these meetings, you should emphasize the need for understanding and empathy. These meetings should consist of educational discussions where everyone’s voice is heard and no one is blamed.

Another key difference in the Invitational Model is that the loved one with SUD is not ambushed; instead, they are invited to join the next meeting. In the invitation, you should express your care for the person and the worry you’ve felt surrounding their substance use. Ask them to come to the next gathering so that they can be part of the conversation. 

At the intervention, you should discuss a plan with all family and friends that gives everyone roles to play in the recovery process. SUD often has genetic causes that can affect all family members. In addition, family members often enable a loved one’s addiction without even realizing it. Further, there may be relationship issues that contribute to their SUD that could be resolved with therapy. Under the Invitational Model, the recovery journey is a group effort that requires complete family engagement. This mindset helps take some of the pressure and guilt off of the person with SUD. 

Family-Centered Services Can Help With All Types of Interventions

Staging an intervention can be difficult and stressful, but it’s often necessary. You might want to reach out to a professional to help you through the process. A counselor, therapist, or professional interventionist can be an invaluable resource for your family. Family-Centered Services specializes in intervention services to help families like yours get through these tough times. We can lend you our expertise and guidance as you work to host different types of interventions for your loved one needing treatment.

Family-Centered Services believes in cultivating a mindset of support, empathy, and positive change in families. Though we’re based in Washington State, we travel across the country to meet you where you need us. We’ve been where you are, and we want to help you and your family navigate the difficult and uncomfortable conversations that come with an intervention. Everyone has a role to play in the recovery journey, and it’s up to you to get the process started. If your loved one is struggling with SUD and could benefit from professional treatment, you don’t have to wait for them to hit rock bottom. Please reach out to Family-Centered Services at (509) 991-5822.

Originally posted 2023-06-05 14:00:00.