What is the Confrontational Approach to Intervention?

What is the Confrontational Approach to Intervention?

Patrick Kennedy’s account of the family intervention done on his father is very instructive and useful to study if you are considering an intervention for a loved one. As the story goes, Senator Kennedy wasn’t aware he was walking into a room where his family and a professional interventionist were gathered, ready to convince him to enter treatment. Senator Kennedy took one look around and walked out. So angered by this attempt to intervene with his drinking, he stopped talking to his son, Patrick.

This type of intervention is known as a confrontational intervention and we see it portrayed in A&E's popular reality show, Intervention. According to the Daily Beast, the reality television show has brought much fame to the direct intervention model in recent years, and the show boasts an impressive 71 percent success rate.

According to DualDiagnosis.org confrontational interventions include the following features:

·        The addict does not know about the upcoming intervention, although in more recent times, there is a trend towards not making it a secret

·        Affected individuals tell the substance abuser about specific acts that have been hurtful or detrimental to them

·        The addict is provided with a pre-arranged plan for treatment that is ready to be set into action immediately if he agrees to rehab

·        Each affected person explains the consequences of the substance abuser’s choice not to go to rehab

This confrontational intervention model focuses more on the harsh realities of drug and alcohol addiction. When used, the focus is placed on laying the blame for decisions made, and the pain the addiction has caused, squarely at the feet of the addict.

These interventions don’t allow for much input from the addicts themselves, however. Decisions are generally made ahead of time for the addict and an entire treatment plan is set up in advance in the hope that they’ll agree to it. These types of interventions are best suited for those who may want help but are afraid to ask for it, or take those critical first steps on the long journey to sobriety. The confrontational approach can take the pressure off the addict and sometimes this is all they need to agree to treatment. On the other hand, some addicts may become extremely defensive when confronted and shut down, or walk out, as Senator Kennedy did. This is why it's so important to get professional help when planning an intervention. An interventionist will be able to provide guidance on the best approach and train and guide the whole family through the process and ultimately, lead the intervention.