Denial is a key characteristic of chemical dependency and people who suffer from this illness will consequently have serious difficulties that result from denial. Problems include an inability to acknowledge the effects of chemical dependency upon themselves and their loved ones. For this reason, interventions seek to help the chemically dependent confront their condition and enter treatment for it. Interventions typically involve a group meeting in which family members, friends and other appropriate associates such as coworkers, employers or clergy talk with the chemically dependent person about their concerns. Additionally, there are suggestions made by the group for solutions.

Successful interventions include expressions of warmth, caring and concern for the affected person. They are best facilitated by trained professionals who support all participants and who structure the intervention so that concerns are addressed and unnecessary conflict is kept to a minimum. Most intervention specialists will work in advance with the concerned parties to prepare for the formal intervention itself. A successful intervention typically results in the chemically dependent person entering treatment.

There several types of intervention among these are the Johnson Model of Intervention and the Invitational Intervention. Both are recovery focused and both involve the use of a group process.

The Johnson Model is based upon the belief that chemical dependency impairs the substance user’s insight and judgment. Therefore, concerned members of an intervention will give the substance user details of how he or she is affected by substance use and how that substance use is also affecting the people who care for them. Such an intervention has also been called a “surprise intervention” because chemically dependent people for whom these types of interventions are arranged are typically not aware that others have been preparing to confront them.

The Johnson Model involves each participant talking directly to the chemically dependent person in order to describe concerns, impact and to pledge support throughout efforts to seek treatment and remain abstinent.

A second type of intervention is known as the Invitational Method. This type of intervention has several similarities to the Johnson model. It, too, typically uses professional guidance to prepare for and complete the intervention. It is also done in an effort to remedy chemical dependency and its effects upon the substance user and their loved ones. Additionally, the participants demonstrate their concern and support for the chemically dependent person. Significantly, however, the chemically dependent person is aware of the intervention before hand and is invited to participate.

The Invitational Intervention focuses more upon the addiction rather than the addicted individual. It addresses chemical dependency as a family disease. Family members other than the chemically dependent person may develop coping and treatment plans for themselves in such an intervention. The addicted family member is considered to be a participant in helping the entire family recover from the disease of addiction. While the chemically dependent person may enter treatment as a result of this intervention, this is not the primary goal of the intervention as it is in the Johnson model.

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