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When people think of family interventions, they inevitably think of a confrontation between themselves and others with the substance user. Some believe an intervention is what they see on television. Most people do not know that interventions are clinical techniques used to help a family and a substance user move toward change.
Understanding the importance of professional interventions and why they’re necessary for addiction and substance use disorders is essential.
In this blog, we’ll discuss:
- What is a family intervention?
- Myths and facts about family intervention
- What are the goals of a family intervention?
- What is a family intervention service center?
- What services do family intervention centers offer?
- How to stage an intervention
What is a Family Intervention?
An intervention is a preplanned or moment-to-moment strategy to calm a volatile situation and improve it. An intervention, by definition, is when specific methods are used to address particular problems or behaviors to achieve specific goals.
The goals of specific intervention strategies are to improve the situation for the family and substance user to achieve a successful outcome.
A Family Intervention is when a group of professional family intervention specialists forms specific intervention strategies for and with the family of a substance user. The services offered are to help the family and the substance user see the need for change and accept help by way of the predetermined treatment plan.
The role of the family intervention specialist during the training is to identify the problems and behaviors and to help the family see how their current strategies may prevent the substance user from accepting help.
Some of the strategies the professional interventionist may use include:
- Looking at family roles
- The addiction’s impact on others as well as children
- The benefits of long-term treatment
- The importance of family recovery
- An overview of addiction
- Codependency, enabling, and reactivity
Once the family intervention center coordinator has retrieved all the data, they then collaborate with the family intervention specialist, who arrives in person to apply the specific strategies.
The intervention specialists often have to change or modify the original strategies based on new information obtained during the family preparation. The family intervention may utilize various techniques as things unfold.
One of the more critical tasks is the family and intervention specialist speaking with the substance user as the intervention team works towards the agreed goals.
The goals of the intervention are discussed throughout the process, and some strategies used to achieve these goals will be evidence-based, including:
- Evidence-based treatments
- Solution-focused brief therapy
- Brief intervention
- Motivational interviewing
Effectively utilizing these strategies achieves the goals of the substance user accepting help and entering treatment and for the family to move into our recovery coaching program.
Myths & Facts About Family Intervention
The longest-running myth about family intervention and addiction is that the family of a substance user has to wait for their loved one to want help or hit rock bottom for things to change or improve.
Every substance user has an intervention before they seek help. These interventions come in all shapes and sizes, such as medical problems, legal issues, loss of employment, financial debt, loss of children, strained relationships, and living with or being supported by parents or other family members.
To summarize, it is true that a substance user must want help and feel consequences to see the need for change. The myth of having to wait for the substance user to want help or hit bottom often occurs while the family is engaged in enabling behaviors that undermine the substance user’s ability to see the need to ask for help or feel the consequences.
What are the Goals of a Family Intervention?
Goals for the intervention outcome can vary depending on the problems or behaviors present. Unfortunately, most families see intervention as the last house on the block, not the first.
Most families call us in need of an intervention call when things could not be much worse than they are. Fortunately, this has become our specialty, and we can help families who choose to follow the process through some of the most challenging times in their lives.
With that said, some of the common goals of most of our family intervention services are stabilizing the situation and moving the substance user into medically supervised detoxification or hospitalization.
The most common problems we encounter are emotional distress in the family, volatile behavior from the addict and alcoholic, and a diagnosed substance use disorder.
Many families who need a family intervention initially call in about the problem of substance use. It does not take long for them to realize they called in primarily about the behaviors associated with substance use.
The substance users’ behaviors take a significant toll on the mental health and emotions of the family on the front lines. In addition to the common goals of stabilizing the situation and moving the substance user into treatment, the other goal is moving the family into their own recovery.
One of our goals is to help the family understand things from a different perspective. To achieve this goal, we must educate the family on their role in the family system and understand the mind of an addict or alcoholic.
Using psychoeducation to create awareness and understand how the situation has come to this point effectively addresses the problem and behaviors. This is done while working towards the goal of healing the family and their loved one who is using drugs or alcohol.
Although the problems, behaviors, strategies, and goals may vary, here are some of the most common in family intervention:
- Moving the substance user to safety.
- Bringing the substance user to an intervention treatment center
- Having the substance user achieve sobriety.
- Helping the family through their emotions.
- Helping the family with how to communicate and how to control themselves and the situation differently and more effectively.
- Moving the family into recovery through our S.A.F.E.™ (Self-Awareness Family Education™) Family Recovery Coaching.
- Providing family with closure and accepting they did everything they could to help their loved one.
- Reuniting families back together again.
- Seeing everyone who comes to our family intervention center smile and laugh again.
Although the strategies to achieve these goals can vary, they are attainable. The goals set during the family intervention have a greater chance of being executed when families stick to the strategies suggested to achieve the goals.
What is a Family Intervention Service Center?
A family intervention service center is an agency where families can seek various services to address problems and behaviors within a family. Family intervention centers address the following:
- Addiction problems
- Mental disorders
- Marriage problems
- Conflicts between parent and child
- Sibling rivalries and conflicts
- Families struggling with an illness or death in the family
- Family of origin struggles
- Parenting Skills
- Education on a child’s individual problems
- Occupational problems
- Concerns about the future and the stress and anxiety that come with it
- Communication skills
The family intervention services at Family First Intervention primarily focus on addiction problems that are impacting the family as a whole. Other services besides addiction support are also an area of focus at Family First Intervention.
Our Family First Intervention services specialize in putting families back together after they have been broken apart due to drug addiction or alcoholism. The most significant difference between an interventionist and a family intervention service center is the size and scope of services they offer.
A family intervention service center has several employees and different departments, providing your family with a much greater opportunity to address the problems and behaviors using multiple strategies from a team of professionals.
In addition to these benefits, a family intervention service center is more accessible than an individual interventionist. One of the biggest challenges we hear from families needing our services is how the last interventionist they hired was difficult to initially contact and almost impossible to get on the phone after the intervention.
Although the individual interventionist may do an excellent job of getting the substance user to treatment with their motivation and speech, that is all they can do. Multiple minds are greater than one. The solo interventionist does not have the resources nor the ability to fully address problems and behaviors and formulate numerous intervention strategies to achieve the family’s goals.
What Services do Family Intervention Centers Offer?
Family Intervention Centers offer services utilizing evidence-based strategies to address issues within a family system. As stated above, family intervention service centers look at various problems and behaviors such as addiction, mental health, marriages, parenting, family conflict, sibling rivalries, education, and occupational concerns, to name a few.
Some agencies offer many of the services listed above, and others provide specialized services in specific areas of expertise. The family intervention center you choose should initially identify the problem or behaviors of concern while trying to understand the end goal of the process.
The family intervention specialist then applies effective intervention strategies to address the identified problem or behavior to correct the problem and behaviors. A professional family intervention center offers evidence-based intervention strategies with proven efficacy. Some of the services and strategies that are effective for substance use disorders are:
- Motivational interviewing (MI)
- Brief Intervention (BI)
- Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
- Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Adjunctive Pharmacotherapy (MAT – Medication Assisted Treatment)
- Contingency Management and Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) (CM)
- Relapse Prevention
- 12 Step Facilitation
A Family Intervention Service Center often has a mission to achieve one ultimate goal. That is to provide families with practical strategies to produce a successful outcome. When a team of professional interventionists can collaborate within its integrated treatment team, this increases the likelihood of the family leaving the agency better off than before they came to the agency.
The question is, is there another way of looking at the problem? If the family agrees and understands this and then applies new techniques and strategies to improve the situation, a goal has been reached.
How to Stage an Intervention
To properly stage an intervention, two things are required:
- A family intervention specialist who is part of a team at a family intervention service center.
- The substance user’s family surrenders to the family intervention specialist’s evidence-based strategies and services.
Staging an intervention has many moving parts. Families have said on more than one occasion that they will try and do the intervention themselves.
Interventions occur when an unbiased professional can identify the problems and behaviors, formulate evidence-based strategies to address the issues and behaviors, and work towards a successful outcome of correcting the problem and behaviors.
The reality is that a family can’t do their own intervention. The family is flooded and emotionally attached, therefore entirely incapable of staging the intervention effectively without a professional family intervention specialist who can see the play from the balcony rather than the stage.
Addiction affects the entire family system. To balance the dysfunction, family systems form unhealthy relationships and roles. These roles can not be fully seen or corrected without professional help.
Believing the intervention is nothing more than a speech the hero role of the family can deliver is not an intervention; it is a speech and most likely an unproductive discussion that leaves the family no better off than they were before. If it were any other medical problem, the family would not try to diagnose and treat it themselves; they would seek a professional.
Addiction is the only fatal illness that is looked at and often addressed this way. Addiction is the only illness where the patient and their families fight to stay sick while convincing themselves that their strategies will one day pay off.
Family First Intervention is Here to Serve You and Your Family
Our team of compassionate professionals is dedicated to your recovery journey. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today to learn more about who we are and how to receive our services.