How to Use an Interventionist in Washington State

The Recovery Village at RidgefieldAddiction Recovery

Substance abuse can be a very difficult topic to bring up with loved ones whose actions are causing harm to themselves and the people around them. Perhaps you do not know how to broach that first conversation. Or, maybe you have brought it up multiple times, but one-on-one conversations do not seem to be getting your message across. A more focused, mediated approach may be the best option if you know a friend or family member suffering from addiction in Washington State

What Is An Intervention?

The word ‘intervention’ has acquired a somewhat negative connotation in recent years, mostly due to reality TV shows portraying interventions as dramatic, sometimes violent, affairs.

A real intervention is very different, with much less drama, rarely giving ultimatums, and often involving more than one sit-down. It is a carefully planned encounter designed to gently confront an addict about his or her behavior and encourage the person to seek help.

This is a very important point. Addicts must seek treatment by their own volition to have any chance of a successful recovery.

An intervention that is facilitated by an interventionist might be the best option for somebody wishing to help loved ones understand how their addiction is affecting the people around them.

What is an interventionist, and how do they help?

What is An Interventionist?

Interventionists are unique mental health professionals that specialize in creating meaningful encounters between people suffering from addiction and their loved ones. They can help mediate an extremely emotional meeting so as to avoid unnecessary pain and lasting damage to the relationships at stake.

An interventionist will work with the family to build a cohesive intervention team, bringing together a diverse group of friends, family, co-workers, and other important figures in the addict's life. They can then instruct the team in ways to encourage the addict to seek treatment on his or her own. 

Different interventionists use different methods. The one commonly seen on TV is called the Johnson Model. Created in the 1960’s by Reverend Vernon Johnson, it involves a group of concerned family and friends sitting an addict down, reading personal letters detailing the harm the addict is causing, and delivering an ultimatum: “Either get treatment or (insert punishment) will happen.”

This sort of focus on the consequences of addiction can be helpful if used correctly. However, the Johnson Model has come under criticism for tricking addicts into attending the intervention, then bombarding them with their mistakes and threatening harsh penalties. It essentially forces an addict into treatment.

Other professionals prefer a gentler method, such as A Relational Intervention Sequence for Engagement (ARISE), which has gained popularity in recent years. It is less confrontational; addicts are invited to attend outright, and it often employs multiple meetings. 

Addiction in Washington state

How to Choose an Interventionist

When seeking a qualified interventionist to assist you in confronting somebody with substance abuse issues, there are a number of important questions to consider.

  • Is he or she a Certified Intervention Professional, recognized by a national certification board?
  • What is his or her experience working with people suffering from addiction?
  • What approach does he or she use?
  • Does he or she provide post-intervention counseling?
  • What treatment options does the interventionist recommend?
  • What is his or her success rate?

By doing your research and asking the right questions, you can be certain that you are providing the best possible scenario for your loved one. Remember, intervention is not always the answer, but it is worthwhile to consider.

If you are seeking treatment for a loved one suffering from addiction in Washington State, Recovery Village Ridgefield is here to help. We offer evidence-based personalized treatment plans and use a holistic approach. For more information, contact us today.


How to Use an Interventionist in Washington State
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