Thursday, August 06, 2009

Addictions and Interventions

There is raging a huge controversy raging among addiction counselors over the ways we try to help people who drink and do drugs too much. Two things have happened recently to inspire the controversy.

First, the A&E TV Program called Intervention has popularized the Johnson Approach that is based on the notion that family and friends must confront the addict about his problems and threaten him with total withdrawal of support unless he/she goes into treatment immediately. This is admittedly a hard nosed approach to getting a person to get help, but proponents insist it works.

Others say we need a better approach so the addict will not fall into despair. The use what is called a motivational process that speaks to people about their need to at least consider making some changes in their drinking or drugging. These folks are able to point to reams of research that their methods are superior to harsh confrontation.

The second event was Michael Jackson's death. It was well known that Mr. Jackson was overusing prescription drugs for many years. Family and friends had been begging someone to intervene in some way but their concerns fell on deaf ears. The enablers around Jackson were either co-dependent or living on easy street as a result of his habits.

Either type of intervention is better than no intervention. The harsh kind can certainly shock an addict into compliance but it takes a very skilled professional to carry it out. The Motivational Interviewing approach is my preference and I have written about it in my book, Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty.

If someone you love drinks too much or is doing drugs, including marijuana, get help for yourself. see a good counselor who understands family dynamics as well as addictions. Go to
Life Way Centers
to find a great counselor.


Vicar of Vincennes said...

yea for you, great article Gary!!!

Vicar of Vincennes said...

Threaten and withdraw all love and support. Now that's some tough Christian love! Are you kidding me? I realize we are not talking Christian counseling here but wow, hope and pray I never fall under a strong addiction and most certainly hope that if I do I don't fall under the counseling advice the Johnson Approach. What problems I have had have been overcome by (of course Christ)the love and support of those around me.