Interventions help family and friends reach out to someone who is struggling with addiction. The goal of an intervention is to motivate a loved one to seek help. Interventions communicate encouragement, support and love. They are often portrayed as volatile and dramatic situations, but this does not reflect reality. A professionally-guided intervention is calm, informed and effective. An intervention can be the beginning of a long and successful recovery.
Are All Interventions the Same?
No two individuals are the same. No two addiction journeys are the same, and no two paths to recovery will be identical. The National Institute on Drug Abuse emphasizes, “No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Treatment varies depending on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patients. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success.” Because no one method of treatment is perfect for everyone, a variety of treatment options are available. This is also true for interventions.
What Are My Choices for Intervention?
A qualified addiction recovery or intervention specialist can help you understand your intervention options and make the right choice for your loved one and particular situation. They may suggest holding a Johnson Model Intervention. Vernon Johnson first developed this intervention model in the 1960s. He saw the need to communicate the consequences of addiction to those still struggling. Small consequences alone are rarely enough to make someone recognize or address a problem on their own, but these small consequences quickly accumulate into large problems, if they are not treated. The Johnson Model helps families share this message with their loved one. This intervention model relies heavily on the influence and support of family members. It encourages individual change, and it emphasizes how this change will benefit the whole family. A Johnson Model Intervention is led by a professional and centers around an individual, but it is a family-focused event.
What Does a Johnson Model Intervention Involve?
No intervention should be angry, overly-emotional or confrontational. A Johnson Model Intervention embraces this concept fully. It is built around caring, sharing letters of concern and emphasizing consequences. There are seven components of a Johnson Model Intervention. According to the Association of Intervention Specialists, these components are as follows:
- Focused on care
- Addiction only
- Primary goal
- Treatment options
The first component, a team, consists of an intervention specialist and the friends and family members chosen to participate in the intervention. This team should include all the individuals most important to the addict. It should not include an overwhelming number of people, young children or those who are ambivalent or negative about the individual’s recovery. This team will then participate in the second component of a Johnson Model Intervention: Planning. No matter the model, all interventions should begin with a plan. An intervention plan begins with practical, concrete decisions. This includes choosing a time for everyone to gather and a location where the addict will feel safe and not attacked. Planning then continues to encompass what will be said and how it will be said. Johnson Model Interventions rely on the use of letters written to the addicted individual. Planning may involve going over these letters with the specialist to make sure the right message is portrayed. Planning may also involve deciding the order in which letters will be read. The intervention specialist should also prepare all team members for possible reactions and how they should respond in turn. The intervention should remain caring and compassionate at all times. It should not bring up issues outside of addiction. Letters and professional leadership help keep the intervention focused and these components present. Evidence accomplishes a similar goal. It keeps letters and messages from being ones of blame, anger or emotion. Team members are asked to provide specific examples of behaviors, consequences and details.
Treatment is the primary goal of a Johnson Model Intervention. There are many treatment options. The team should work with the intervention specialist to determine three best treatment options and present these to the addict. A Johnson Model Intervention firmly communicates that treatment is not punishment. It is an opportunity for individual and family healing and growth.
How to Hold an Intervention
You can help an addicted loved one. You can take action by calling a helpline and learning more about your options. We are here 24 hours a day to listen to your concerns, perform an initial assessment, and connect you to the best intervention specialists for your unique situation. We are here for you through every step of the recovery process. We can work with you and your intervention professional to find effective, evidence-based treatment options, stay in touch throughout treatment and support you during aftercare and beyond. Let us support you as you work towards health and wholeness. You are not alone. Call now.
 https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment. “Principles of Effective Treatment.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dec 2012. Web. 6 Jul 2016.
 http://www.associationofinterventionspecialists.org/what-is-the-johnson-model/. “What Is the Johnson Model?” Association of Intervention Specialists. 2 Aug 2012. Web. 6 Jul 2016.