An intervention ranges from unstructured counseling and feedback to more formalized structured therapy. Brief interventions, are time limited, structured, and directed toward a specific goal. Ideally, the goal is to have an addict accepting responsibility for her own recovery. Brief interventions ARE NOT a substitute for specialized care for high levels of dependency but are used to encourage people to attend 12-step meetings to seek treatment.
Interventions follow a specific plan (sometimes a workbook or pamphlet or a questionnaire) and include a timeline for the change of specific behaviors. Effective interventionists assess an addict’s readiness and willingness to change, plan a corresponding strategy to assist her in progressing to the next stage, and implement that strategy.
- Define the purpose of the talk, gain permission to talk, and help the person understand the reason for the intervention.
- Raise awareness of the issue in the context of the person’s health.
- Screen, evaluate and assess substance use.
- Actively listen to feedback and direct toward the purpose of the talk.
- Help the addict weigh the costs and benefits of change.
- Offer positive change alternatives and options.
- Identify potential change strategies.
- Help the addict choose the most appropriate change strategy. Address the costs and benefits of various change strategies (e.g., self-change, brief treatment, intensive treatment, self-help group attendance).
- Reinforce personal decisions made by repeating goals and outcomes.
- Schedule a follow up talk to track progress. This can be in the form of a face-to-face meeting, a telephone call, or even a voice mail message.
Source reference: SAMHSA/CSAT Tip 34