4 Types of Interventions that Can Help Address Addiction Issues

Not every treatment style works for every person or every situation. So when you are faced with treating mental health disorders, including substance abuse and addictions, finding the right type of intervention is key to making inroads and seeking a healthy future life. Since there are many different ways to initiate an intervention, families and friends of those dealing with substance abuse and addiction problems often ask what an addiction intervention is and what are the 4 types of intervention they should consider so they can help their loved ones. If you or someone you know could benefit from an addiction intervention, we have the answers you need so you can choose the best addiction intervention method for your situation.


What is Addiction Intervention?

When someone is struggling with addiction to drugs, alcohol or alcoholism, their whole community of friends and family is affected. But one way to initiate the recovery process is to first help them recognize that there is a problem by coming together with them in a loving, supportive way called an addiction intervention. Friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, clergy or even others struggling with the same concerns come together to express their concerns and help the person to see that they would benefit from structured support and programming to get their lives back on track.

An addiction intervention can take many different forms and when loved ones ask what are the 4 types of intervention, Long Island Intervention can confirm that the four most often used methods of intervention are the simple intervention, the classical intervention, the family system intervention and the crisis intervention. Each method of intervening in someone’s life is structured to assist in a specific way and for certain types of situations but many times also includes the assistance of a professional interventionist. Since these events are intended to result in the recognition of dependence as well as a need for treatment, a professional interventionist can help create a smoother experience for the loved one. Their support and guidance are helpful both during the intervention itself and also during the events leading up to and following the intervention, relieving the pressure on friends and family to plan and manage a successful intervention.

What are the 4 Types of Intervention for Addiction and Other Dependencies?

As each person’s individual experience with substance abuse is intimately affected by their job, family and medical and mental health history, a variety of intervention styles are available to ensure that each person’s situation is treated with dignity and care that they deserve.

1. The Simple Intervention

When the addict is approached by either a single friend or family member and usually a professional interventionalist to discuss their addiction and need for treatment, this is called a simple intervention. Some situations may only need this single, low-pressure experience for the addicted individual to recognize their struggles with addiction and then commit to treatment as a result.

  • Planning: Family and friends may work together to choose the best individual to approach the dependent individual. The professional interventionist may advise this person on best practices before meeting with the addicted person.
  • Potential Problems: While this style of intervention can be less confrontational than the other types of interventions, addicts may feel less pressure to commit to treatment or even walk away from the intervention but a professional interventionist is trained to assist in helping the event go smoothly.

2. The Classical Intervention

Not all addicts are open to listening to a single friend, family member or interventionist before seeking treatment. When a group of people is gathered together to express their concerns about a person’s substance abuse problems, this is called a classical intervention.

  • Planning: Participants and family members may receive counseling and education about the addiction, intervention process and what they should say prior to meeting with the addict. During the intervention, they will talk directly to the addict about how the addict’s behaviors have affected them so they will recognize their problem and follow through with treatment.
  • Expectations: Participants and family members are informed about all possible outcomes of the intervention.
  • Support: The dependent individual as well as the participants are supported by the interventionist and/or counselors leading the classical intervention.

3. The Family System Intervention

When families have some behaviors that may contribute to addictive actions like enabling or codependency, a family system intervention may be necessary. In this type of intervention, the whole family unit is present during this intervention and individual issues are confronted in family members at the same time that the addicted person’s concerns are addressed.

  • Planning: Family guidance and support are discussed as relevant and critical to behavioral changes in the addict.
  • Expectations: The family unit may meet individually and together as a group, with or without the addict, to address behaviors that may be making the addiction more difficult. These meetings are led by a certified interventionist.
  • Support: The family unit and addicted person will receive support before, during and after the intervention.
  • Potential Problems: Family members need to be willing to change their own behaviors that affect the affected family member’s ability to fight their addiction.

4. The Crisis Intervention

When an immediate change in behavior is needed for an addict due to dangerous actions or behaviors that are imminently affecting others, a crisis intervention may be needed.

  • Planning: Little to no planning may occur with crisis intervention. Instead, crisis interventions provide immediate support and guidance for an addict away from risky or dangerous behaviors. A professional interventionist may not be available at these sometimes-spontaneous interventions.
  • Expectations: Loved ones or friends may instigate a crisis intervention to mitigate dangerous behaviors but will usually plan on immediately seeking formal support and guidance afterward for the addicted person.
  • Support: The friend or family member conducting these impromptu interventions may have any counseling or guidance before or during the intervention but will seek professional support from an interventionist as well as other loved ones following the event for the addicted person.
  • Potential Problems: Since this type of intervention may not be planned, professional interventionist aid may not be able to assist in keeping the addicted person engaged or lead them toward a treatment program.

Intervention Invitations

When pre-planning for an intervention takes place, oftentimes this three-phased “invitation” intervention may occur that includes close friends and family along with the addicted person.

  • Phase 1 The interventionist contacts family and friends to guide them through gathering the addicted person’s loved ones for the potentially multiple times of this intervention.
  • Phase 2 This social support network (also called the intervention network) gathers with the addicted person to guide and support them through their recognition of their addiction and commitment to attend treatment.
  • Phase 3 If the subject of the intervention refuses to attend treatment, this will result in strict consequences during this phase.

What is Systemic Mediation within the Family?

Like the Family System Intervention, Systemic Mediation involves supporting family members through their own emotional and mental health challenges simultaneously while the addicted person’s intervention occurs. Aiming to support and lead the whole family to good mental health while also treating the dependent person, Systemic Mediation is led by a professional interventionist and may occur over several days, weeks or months to lead the whole family unit to positive behaviors.

Finding the Perfect Interventionist

Each person suffering from addictive behaviors has their own unique family, work, personal and mental and physical health situation. The right interventionist, like the professionals at Long Island Interventions, will look at the whole person and their own unique situation to choose the style of intervention that will help the most. Contact us today to speak to someone about getting connected with an interventionist that can help you help the one you love to get back on track with the love and support and guidance of a professionally supported intervention.

People Also Ask

What are the four types of intervention?
the simple intervention, the classical intervention, the family system intervention and the crisis intervention
What are the types of interventions?
Simple intervention, classical intervention, family system intervention, and crisis intervention
What are intervention methods?
Bringing together one or more loved ones with an addicted person along with a professional interventionist to convince the addict that their behaviors are problematic and that they need to attend a treatment program immediately
Can an interventionist help?
Yes, professional interventionists are trained to support the intervention process from planning to completion of treatment programs. Professional interventionists work with family and friends as well as those who are facing addiction and are in need of treatment.

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