The Invitational Model Intervention

Save a loved one's life
Last Edited: November 12, 2020

Patricia Howard, LMFT, CADC

Clinically Reviewed
Andrew Lancaster, LPC, MAC

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and certified by an addiction professional.

Help a loved one with their substance abuse problem

Doing an intervention on someone you love and care for can bring about feelings of hesitation and maybe even intimidation. That’s normal. Think of yourself, and the others that will participate in the intervention, as the “intervention team.” Having a specially trained therapist guiding the actions of the intervention team will help make sure that the intervention remains as positive as possible, and that the intervention is of the greater good for the people involved. The therapist helps keep the efforts pointed in the right direction so that it doesn’t inadvertently head down the wrong path. Regardless, no matter what is said, offered, or suggested, the addicted person may feel betrayed, deceived, or even embarrassed. This can sometimes aggravate the conditions of the intervention. In other words, emotions tend to run high when the intervention team shares his/her feelings about the addicted person’s action when they are high or drunk.

How to Help a loved one suffering from Addiction

If these things are of a major concern to the intervention team, they may want to consider the Invitational Model of intervention. The biggest way it is different from other models of intervention is the addicted person’s element of surprise. The addicted person is aware that change is coming from beginning to end and will be included in the planning stages all the way to eventually (hopefully) agreeing to go to detox and/or rehab. An added benefit to this approach to intervention is that it doesn’t focus solely on the addicted person.

It addresses the needs for change among the other family members as well. It is designed in such a way that it doesn’t single out the addicted person. The hope is that the addicted person doesn’t feel as if the spotlight is only on his or her own (negative) issues and habits.

To do this, a 2-day workshop for the intervention team is put together by the intervention specialist (specially trained therapist.) At completion, those participating will commit to making a positive change in their own lives, hopefully compelling the addicted person to making a positive change as well, by accepting the offered opportunity to get help for his or her addiction.

There are three models of intervention. If you’re not sure which would be best for your family or your addicted loved one, talk to your interventionist. Choosing which intervention model would be best for your family or loved one doesn’t only depend on what makes the most sense for your addicted loved one, it depends on what makes sense for all of you. Some families will read this and think that they can handle an intervention on their own. Many experts would disagree.

There’s a fine line between a successful intervention, and an intervention that turns into chaos. What is said to the addicted person that causes them to agree to go to rehab could have just as easily sent the wrong message with a little twist of verbiage, causing the intervention to go into a downward spiral and instead dealing with the crisis of suicide watch for the family.

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