LGBTQ community members face higher rates of substance abuse and mental health issues than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. While treatment can be the key to overcoming these challenges, it’s important to note that all treatment approaches aren’t created equal, especially when addressing the unique concerns of LGBTQ individuals. This also applies to interventions.
Here’s a closer look at what interventions are, and why choosing an LGBTQ-sensitive interventionist for your loved one can best support treatment and recovery.
An intervention is a carefully planned process in which family and friends come together to confront a loved one about the repercussions of addiction and to implore him or her to seek treatment. Interventions are best done in consultation with a doctor or other professional counselor and can be directed by an intervention professional, also known as an interventionist. During an intervention, loved ones may provide examples of destructive behaviors and their impacts; offer a specific treatment plan, including steps, goals, and guidelines; and explain what will happen if the individual refuses to accept the plan.
While interventions are an invaluable opportunity to spur change, they must be handled delicately. Interventionists can play a vital role in helping people with addiction stop their destructive life patterns and move toward recovery.
Says the Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) on the role of the interventionist, “The interventionist supports, educates, provides guidance, direction and training, as well as the facilitation of the intervention and aftercare…An interventionist is a helpful tool for an individual, family member, colleague or friend who is resistant to addressing his or her problem. When people are initially resistant and then enter treatment due to an intervention and therapeutic relationship with an interventionist, they and their network do very well due to the support, networking, collaboration and aftercare.”
The LGBTQ-Sensitive Interventionist Imperative
While all certified intervention professionals are trained and skilled in both intervention techniques and family systems, working with one with specialized experience in LGBTQ addiction can be especially beneficial. Why? Because LGBTQ individuals face unique challenges in addiction and recovery.
While many strides have been made toward inclusion and acceptance of LGBTQ individuals over the past years, members of the LGBTQ community are still subject to stress caused by everything from discriminatory employment laws and practices to stigma and challenges with family and friends. This reality directly influences higher rates of substance use and mental health issues within the population. It follows that acknowledging these issues is also critical — not only during treatment, but also in an intervention.
Remember that, at the end of the day, an intervention provides support in a safe and accepting environment. “It is important for counselors to remember how their words can activate clients’ shame; this is especially important when working with LGBT clients, who have been traumatized by both their alcohol or drug abuse and the heterosexist attitudes and behavior they must deal with,” says the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The takeaway? Enlisting the services of an LGBTQ-sensitive intervention professional can help ensure a better outcome.
According to the AIS, as many as 90 percent of interventions are successful for getting people into treatment. Working with an LGBTQ-sensitive interventionist can vastly improve your chances of being in this majority. To improve the chances of lasting recovery, LGBTQ-sensitive substance abuse treatment is also essential. Leading St. Louis rehabilitation Harris House has significant expertise in LGBTQ addiction treatment. Call us today to learn about admissions.