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Types of Intervention Programs for Addiction

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Within the context of addiction to drugs or alcohol, an intervention is an organized attempt to confront someone you love about their substance use. During an intervention, the loved ones of the person who’s using drugs or alcohol let that person know how they’re affected. Interventions primarily include family but can also have friends and sometimes employers and co-workers.

The goal of successful intervention programs for addiction is to encourage someone to get help or go to treatment.

With that goal in mind, you need to be prepared with treatment options before an effective intervention. You want to make it as fast and straightforward as possible for the person with an addiction to go to a treatment center or program immediately following the meeting. 


How Intervention Programs for Addiction Work

During a recovery intervention, there are some key elements to keep in mind:

  • An intervention is about getting involved in someone’s life with the hope of changing their behaviors and outcomes.
  • You confront someone struggling with addiction during an intervention.
  • It’s difficult to stage an intervention, and things can very easily go wrong. For that reason, intervention professionals are often important to include in the process.
  • An intervention specialist can help you create boundaries and practice what you’re going to say.
  • There’s no guarantee an intervention is going to work.
  • The more prepared the group is, the more likely it will be effective.
  • Each involved person talks about the specific impact of the addiction on them. Sometimes the group members will write letters to be read, highlighting the effects of the individual’s addiction.
  • Consequences are defined if the person doesn’t agree to treatment and begins the recovery process for addictive behaviors. 

One of the critical reasons an intervention can work is that it creates boundaries for an addict, whether social, financial, or something else.

When someone with experience helps guide the intervention, it’s more likely to be effective. A counselor or interventionist is neutral and can deal with reactions from everyone involved during a highly emotionally charged situation.

There are different types of interventions, and working with a specialist is a good way to identify the right approach for your family and your loved one.


Comparing the Different Types of Intervention Programs for Addiction

The following are some of the most often used types of recovery interventions.


The Johnson Model

If you think of an intervention, the Johnson Model is probably what you’re envisioning. This classical intervention style gathers the loved ones and family members of someone in active addiction. The intervention is a surprise. The hope is to get someone to see that they have a problem and then agree to help.

An interventionist or counselor will engage a person’s social support system to plan a meeting that follows a structure.

According to the American Psychological Association, the intervention team should meet at least twice before the intervention.

The elements of the Johnson Model include:

  • An intervention team
  • Planning and careful organization
  • The intervention should be assertive but not hurtful.
  • The intervention team will usually write letters that detail the particular ways the addiction affects them in a way that’s as non-judgmental as possible.
  • The intervention only focuses on addiction rather than other past issues.
  • The primary goal is to get someone into a treatment program for alcohol or drug addiction. 
  • The team will research and have available around three treatment options with the option to choose one.


Invitational Intervention

The invitational intervention model varies from the Johnson Model in one big way. Instead of confronting someone without them knowing it will happen, invitational intervention techniques include the person with addiction throughout the process.

There are different subtypes of the invitational intervention.

For example, there’s a model called ARISE. ARISE stands for A Relocation Intervention Sequence of Engagement. This is a protocol based on research and evidence, where there are three main stages, which end when someone agrees to go to a treatment program.


Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention may be helpful for anyone dealing with an addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder. Depending on the situation, if there is a crisis and the addicted person won’t get help, an intervention specialist might arrange for an evaluation for commitment to involuntary treatment.

These types of crisis intervention are usually reserved for situations where an addict could hurt themselves or someone else or has severe mental disorders. 

However, a crisis doesn’t always have to stem from a mental health situation. For example, a crisis could be a legal or financial situation arising from drug addiction or alcohol addiction. 

The process for crisis intervention is similar to the Johnson Model or other types of direct interventions. Loved ones and the person’s support network come together in a show of both support and concern. This is also an opportunity to tell the person with addiction how their behaviors affect the people they care about.


Systemic Intervention

A systemic intervention varies from the Johnson Model because it often indicates a person’s addiction could come from behaviors or experiences shared by the entire family. For example, there could be family violence or enabling going on. These types of drug intervention programs are also sometimes called family interventions. 

The idea of a systemic intervention is that the entire family will have to make changes for the addict to reach a point of recovery from alcohol or drug abuse. 

Even if someone doesn’t get treatment directly after a systemic intervention, it can be helpful. As the family evolves, it theoretically becomes harder for the person with the addiction to sustain their negative behaviors.



The CRAFT model is a way to help someone who has a substance use disorder without facilitating a confrontation. This intervention model focuses on problem-solving, self-care, and goal setting.

As part of the CRAFT model, the intervention team understands someone’s triggers and reasons for substance abuse, builds positive communication skills, and teaches problem-solving skills.

This intervention model also encourages the person to receive treatment and help.


types of intervention programs

Who is an Intervention for?

The intervention process won’t be the right approach for every family or person. 

That’s why we suggest that you reach out to an intervention counselor in California or near you or perhaps connect with social workers trained in this area. 

They will help you understand whether intervention strategies are something you should even try and the potential downfalls of this approach, given your situation.

If someone with a substance abuse issue is prone to mood swings or violence, for example, or has mental health issues that aren’t currently well-controlled, an intervention may not be the right approach.


Alcohol Intervention Programs Near Me in Southern California

If you would like to learn more about formal intervention programs for addiction and available treatment programs, please get in touch with The Right Time Recovery by calling 800-630-1218 today. We can help you get started as you explore your options to help your loved one improve their quality of life with long-term recovery.