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What is CRAFT and is it more effective than a traditional intervention?

What is a traditional intervention?

The traditional intervention is a meeting that is held between the addict and loved ones of the addict, and sometimes a licensed interventionist. Usually, the addict is not a part of the planning process and, instead, has the intervention sort of sprung upon them. At that time, the loved ones – family members, friends, significant others – confront the addict about their substance abuse and share their concerns. The overall point of the intervention is to then convince the addict to accept help in the form of treatment.

An intervention is often resorted to because many times, the person who struggles is in deep denial about their drug use and how bad it has gotten. An intervention is often an intense process that involves the direct confrontation by the addict’s loved ones in order to try to get through to the addict. The purpose of the intervention is to introduce change into the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of the person who struggles.

What is CRAFT?

A new intervention method, the Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training (CRAFT) intervention approach has the same goal as tradition interventions: to get a loved one to agree to go to treatment for their substance abuse and/or addiction issues.

The CRAFT approach boasts a scientifically-based process that is designed to help the loved ones of the addict, which the program refers to as ‘concerned significant others’ (CSOs) in engaging the substance abuser, who is otherwise refusing treatment, into agreeing to accept help in the form of drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment.

CRAFT emphasizes the important role of the loved ones

The main premise of the CRAFT method was developed out of a firm belief that, since family members can and do make important contributions in the other areas of addiction treatment, such as family and couples therapy, the CSO can also play an essential and effective role in engaging the substance user or addict who is in denial to finally agree to treatment.

Furthermore, it’s been found that family pressure or influence is the main reason that addicts report for seeking treatment. CRAFT also offers support for CSOs who attend the CRAFT program even if their loved one does not enter treatment. CRAFT touts that the loved ones of the substance abuser are empowered through their program by becoming more independent and by reducing their symptoms of depression, anxiety and anger that generally affect those closes to someone who struggles with addiction.

How CRAFT and traditional intervention methods differ

A traditional intervention is generally thought of a meeting, so to speak, that involves the loved ones of someone who is struggling with substance abuse and addiction as well as with the addict. Often times, there is also a certified interventionist present. However, there is a whole process to the intervention that involves the collaboration of those who are to be a part of the actual intervention. Usually the family and other loved ones compose letters that address their concerns and how the addict’s substance abuse has affected them.

The mechanism of a traditional intervention is to confront the addict and address their self-destructive behavior, how it’s affecting them, their family members, and friends.

On the other hand, the CRAFT method relies on a non-confrontational approach in order to encourage the addict to enter addiction treatment.

Using as overall positive approach, CRAFT avoids any sort of confrontational methods. CRAFT is also a culturally-sensitive program that incorporates the person’s values and beliefs in order to develop an appropriate plan of treatment. CRAFT also emphasizes education: the learning of new, healthy skills to replace the old, self-destructive behaviors when learning coping methods. Emphasis on staying safe, understanding the context within which substance abusing behavior occurs, educating CSOs on ways to use positive reinforcement, such as rewards, and how to avoid enabling and let the substance user suffer the negative consequences for their using behavior.

Denial is a force to be reckoned with. It is quite strong as well as frustrating when you can see the problematic behavior for what it is: substance abuse. The person who is struggling with drugs and alcohol may not be easily convinced that their life is as bad as it really is. Often times, it is the addict who is the last one to know. If you have a loved one who is struggling with substance abuse, call us today, toll-free at 1-800-951-6135. We have Addiction Specialists available 24/7 to answer your questions and share resources.

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