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During the active addiction phase, the family utilizes all the means available at their disposal in a bid to alter the addict’s drug consumption habits. They scold, nag, beg, bribe, and even berate the addict in order to help him beat his addiction. Though the intentions and motivations of the family are always positive, they fail to convey this is in an appropriate manner. What they fail to do is change their mode of interaction with the addict and use their love for him in order to motivate him towards treatment.
Process intervention involves reliance on non-confrontational methods in order to encourage loved ones to accept and embrace addiction treatment. This form of intervention presents an alternative to pleading, threatening, and provocative behaviors by emphasizing making sobriety a more attractive option for the addicts. It plays a role in improving not only their own quality of life but the family’s well-being as well. There is a vast body of empirical research that supports the effectiveness of this form of intervention. The basic purpose of process intervention is to motivate the substance user to reduce usage and accept treatment. Rather than employing reactive methods of interaction, it is based on the usage of healthy rewards in order to encourage and engender positive behaviors in the addict. This non-confrontational approach serves as a means of making the family realize the most opportune moments and the strategies which can help them make small but lasting positive changes. It allows family members to face such crucial circumstances in a manner that reduces excessive argumentation or conflict in the relationship.
Process intervention is a method based on solid science. It can prove to be helpful whether one is the parent, sibling, child, spouse, friend, or romantic partner of the substance user. The methods are not only easy to learn but also help them lay the foundation of lasting change in the addict. In addition, it helps them revise aspects of their own lifestyle and personality in order to enrich their communication abilities. Extensive research has made it evident that motivational treatments are superior to confrontational ones. Process intervention is also based upon the motivational model of help as it aims to enhance the addict’s motivation for treatment by means of appropriately rewarding healthy behavior. It teaches the family or the loved ones of the substance user how to make sober activities more appealing to him while making activities related to drug usage seem less attractive.
Evidence suggests that more than two-thirds of family members who employ process intervention in a successful manner manage to convince their substance-using loved ones to accept treatment. On the other hand, confrontational methods of intervention tend to produce less productive results. At the same time, those who are pushed into treatment through conventional means of intervention are also much more likely to experience a relapse in comparison to clients who are motivated through process intervention. As a consequence, most families that try and use traditional methods of intervention tend to give up the effort after meeting continual failures. On the contrary, family members who use this systematic approach to intervene in their loved one’s life, experience greater improvements in their emotional and physical well-being as well.
Some common barriers or mistaken beliefs regarding the process come in the way of employing this method. It is believed that process intervention is based upon the process of withdrawing rewards from the substance user, such as attention and affection. However, rather than emotionally distancing yourself from the addict, process intervention encourages showing affection and providing compliments to him for his non-using behaviors. Being appreciative to the addict when he is engaged in sober activities makes it likely that he or she continue that behavior. Another factor that hampers the progress of intervening is the family’s belief that loving someone means that he should not be subjecting himself to public humiliation. However, fixing the problems of your loved ones or hiding their issues ensures that these choices are not repeated. The general belief that once the addict agrees to stop using or enter treatment the family’s task is over, serves as the biggest barrier to treatment.
The family has to help the addict on every step of the transformative journey that is recovery. Process intervention serves as the very first but vital step for this journey.