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On the last track, we discussed the five different negotiation styles found in the families of addicts: Adversaries, aggressors, appeasers, avoiders, and analysts, as well as the constructive form of negotiation, the ambassador.
On this track, we will discuss preparing for a structured family intervention by discussing four key considerations. These are, the addict should not be forewarned of the intervention, many clients need to be reminded that the addiction, not the addict, is the adversary, family members need to learn skills for an intervention, and possible complications might require additional professional help.
As you know, a structured family intervention is ideal for a family that wants to take action against the addiction quickly and precisely. A structured intervention aims for immediate results. About 85 percent of family interventions motivate the addict to accept treatment the same day. Most of the remaining 15 percent eventually admit themselves within days or weeks. Only a small percentage resist treatment entirely.
As you know, family intervention is a team effort, but
I find that some family members are resistant to working as a group. Andrew,
37, firmly opposed his family’s plan to intervene with his brother
Robert, who was addicted to methamphetamine. He insisted that he would be
able to convince Robert to get into a treatment program by himself. Andrew
went to Robert’s apartment by himself, and with no firm plan, and tried
to initiate a conversation about Robert’s addiction.
4 Key Considerations for an Intervention
# 1 - The Addict Should Not be
Forewarned of the Intervention
# 2 - The Addiction,
not the Addict, is the Adversary
# 3 - Learn Skills for an
# 4 - Complications might Require Professional
If my client needs help, but is incapable of paying for a professional interventionist, I recommend that they seek the help of their pastor, priest, rabbi, or other clergy. Other potential sources of help are a former coach or teacher, a colleague, a highly respected friend, or a recovering addict from the community. I have found that often, someone from outside the immediate family can command a level of respect from the addict that members of the immediate family cannot.
I find that some family members are highly resistant to intervention because of their ideas about conflict. Some honestly believe that conflict always leads to an end to a relationship. Family members of addicts are used to ‘no problem’ households; they deal with differences and conflict by ignoring, denying, avoiding, giving in, coercing, forcing, or giving up. For these individuals, dealing with addiction through an intervention may seem terrifying.
3-Question Conflict Coping Exercise
-- Question # 1
-- Question # 2
-- Question # 3
On this track, we have discussed preparing for a structured family intervention by discussing four key considerations. These are, the addict should not be forewarned of the intervention, many clients need to be reminded that the addiction, not the addict, is the adversary, family members need to learn skills for an intervention, and possible complications might require additional professional help.
On the next track, we will discuss the first five steps in making an intervention checklist: building a team, setting up a planning meeting, choosing a team chairperson, discussing the negative consequences of the addiction, and listing ways family members have unwittingly enabled the addiction.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Acheson, A., Vincent, A. S., Cohoon, A., & Lovallo, W. R. (2019). Early life adversity and increased delay discounting: Findings from the Family Health Patterns project. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 27(2), 153–159.
Ariss, T., & Fairbairn, C. E. (2020). The effect of significant other involvement in treatment for substance use disorders: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 88(6), 526–540.
Church, S., Bhatia, U., Velleman, R., Velleman, G., Orford, J., Rane, A., & Nadkarni, A. (2018). Coping strategies and support structures of addiction affected families: A qualitative study from Goa, India. Families, Systems, & Health, 36(2), 216–224.
Guyll, M., Spoth, R. L., Chao, W., Wickrama, K. A. S., & Russell, D. (2004). Family-Focused Preventive Interventions: Evaluating Parental Risk Moderation of Substance Use Trajectories. Journal of Family Psychology, 18(2), 293–301.
Li, L., Hien, N. T., Lin, C., Tuan, N. A., Tuan, L. A., Farmer, S. C., & Detels, R. (2014). An intervention to improve mental health and family well-being of injecting drug users and family members in Vietnam. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28(2), 607–613.
Spoth, R., Reyes, M. L., Redmond, C., & Shin, C. (1999). Assessing a public health approach to delay onset and progression of adolescent substance use: Latent transition and log-linear analyses of longitudinal family preventive intervention outcomes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(5), 619–630.
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