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Intervention Techniques and Philosophy


A crisis intervention guided by a professional is often an essential first step in your loved one’s road to recovery. Many addicts are in denial about their chemical dependency. It isn’t until friends and family confront them that they will see their addiction. Interventions are not easy. However, understanding the basic philosophy behind intervention techniques will help create a positive experience for everyone involved.

Create a safe, loving, and supportive space.

Emphasize intervention as a compassionate and loving act done out of care and concern. The location should be neutral, and not lend power to any particular person. This allows everyone to speak and listen freely without the feeling of being forced. People participating should show genuine concern for the well-being of the chemically dependent. This can include family, friends, and occasionally co-workers. Everyone involved should remain loving and calm. This intervention technique will help you keep positive, and not a place to express resentment or blame or become aggressive or confrontational.

Approach the person while he or she is sober

This intervention technique is very important. An individual does not operate at his or her full cognitive ability while using substances. You want him or her to fully understand the situation they’re in and the consequences of not cooperating. His or her behavior while on substances can cause additional grief to those participating, and the compassionate atmosphere might become lost. Finally and most importantly, the decision to make changes in his or her life should be done with full awareness and willingness.

Express how addiction hurts you

While maintaining the calm, loving, and supportive atmosphere, explain how his or her substance abuse has affected you, and how that made you feel. They need to understand that addiction affects everyone around them. Many people struggling with chemical dependency do not see the negative effects of their behavior or do not care about the harm that comes to them because of low self-worth. Understanding how substance abuse affects those around them, particularly sharing concern for their well-being, reveals how much others value them and how much their addiction hurt others.

Set consequences for not seeking treatment

Oftentimes, addiction grows because loved ones enable destructive behavior. Continually rescuing and shielding a person from their substance abuse will not make it go away. Withdrawing support may sound cruel, but hitting rock bottom, or the threat of it, maybe the only motivation for someone to find treatment. Establish boundaries beforehand, and stick to them during the intervention. This may elicit outrage at first, but deep down, many people realize that they cannot sustain their addiction.

A crisis intervention revolves around love, concern, and honesty. It is about offering support to someone who may not want it and convincing them to admit a truth that is difficult to see. Taking that first step can be one of the hardest things for a chemically dependent person and his or her loved ones. These intervention techniques will help you carry out this often difficult discussion. If you would like to learn more about intervention techniques or the disease of addiction, contact Bradford Health Services. We have a Family Program that aims to teach loved ones of addicts all about the disease of addiction.