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What is the Johnson Intervention Method?

The Johnson Intervention Method began as a brainstorm by Dr. Johnson, but studying 200 people in recovery and their circumstances helped reinforce his beliefs. Most study participants sought treatment after a crisis, illness, addiction, or life-altering event involving relationships.

During these sessions, friends, family, co-workers, or loved ones would confront the person about the impact of their behavior. They also present boundaries or consequences if the confronted person doesn’t change. It helps someone become aware of their harmful behaviors and account for them.

Understanding the Johnson Method For Addiction

The Johnson Method is helpful to encourage sobriety and accountability in treatment. Understanding the Johnson Intervention Method is helpful through the words of Vernon Johnson himself:

“It is a myth that alcoholics have some spontaneous insight and then seek treatment. Victims of this disease do not submit to treatment out of spontaneous insight – typically, in our experience they come to their recognition scenes through a buildup of crises that crash through their almost impenetrable defense systems. They are forced to seek help; and when they don’t, they perish miserably.”  – Vernon Johnson, I’ll Quit Tomorrow, 1973.

Sadly, 71,000 people died in 2019 from a drug overdose. In addition, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states in 2020, 20 million people were diagnosed with a substance use disorder. Not only is that alarming, but only 10.3% of those people received substance use disorder treatment.

Those numbers rose as SAMHSA reported in 2017 that 18.7 million people were affected, with 7.6% receiving treatment. The constant remains the proven treatment methodologies continue to be relied upon for successful treatment. This includes the Johnson Intervention Method. In fact, many believe the Johnson Method is a popular intervention method for those with alcohol and drug addictions.

We all have stereotypical thoughts concerning substance use treatment, with interventions initiated by family and friends. The Johnson Intervention Method is similar and relies upon an invitation to the network of possible support people to attend counseling sessions.

Essential support tools are detailed, a review of how an intervention works, then a plan is put into action for the last counseling session. Finally, a counseling session (intervention) includes the support system, the loved one with a substance use disorder, and a therapist. Connecting the loved one with a substance use disorder to a treatment option in a confrontational setting aims to achieve a safe and powerful resolution.

Dr. Vernon Johnson, a priest with an alcohol use disorder developed The Johnson Intervention Method in the 1960s. In addition, he used self-reflection on his personal experience with treatment to determine a safer option. He concluded there did not have to be an experience of “rock bottom” and that family and friends could lead a loved one to treatment. 

The 7 Components of the Johnson Intervention Method

  • Team: An intervention team includes the professional interventionist, family, friends, or other loved ones. 
  • Plan: A carefully outlined plan provides the role of each participating person, the time, and the place.
  • Focus is care: The intervention focuses on the well-being or care of the loved one, not blame. 
  • Focus on substance use only: The main focus is substance use issues only. 
  • Evidence: Verbalizing details of the proof and how substance use has impacted the lives of the family and loved ones.
  • The goal: The primary goal of the intervention is treatment.
  • Options of treatment: Having more than one treatment option is ideal for the loved one to feel like there is some control. 

The Johnson Intervention’s Method Benefits

The Johnson Intervention Method has proven to be one of the most effective methods of connecting someone with a substance use disorder to treatment. In addition, the benefits of this therapeutic technique lie in proof that outpatient treatment and other variations of treatment Dr. Johnson’s method led to a substantial increase in usage.

The Johnson Intervention Method, compared to 4 different modes, proved his clients were more likely to attend and complete treatment. As a result, the other 4 methods had some success, but engagement with the family and loved ones of the client seems to be the most successful option. 

Why Interventions Are Useful for Addiction

Conversely, the benefit extends even further for using the Johnson Intervention Method, as some people believe that the user must reach rock bottom before they reach out for help. Guiding a loved one to treatment using this method prevents rock-bottom situations and brings therapy to end the addiction before the worst-case scenario.

Often referred to as an answer to denial, proof of the crisis the loved one is experiencing in addiction can allow acknowledgment of their reality. Finally, success in avoiding a life-threatening situation in addiction is the first win in accepting treatment. 

The Johnson Intervention Method is a nonjudgmental, caring, loving, and compassionate method of offering treatment to a loved one. An essential component is the team’s objectivity in spelling out their loved one’s reality. Those experiencing a substance use disorder have many defenses to accept the treatment offer. It shows how much the team cares, and their concerns are spoken without hate. 

Explore Intervention Using the Johnson Intervention Method in Tennessee

Freeman Recovery Center offers the Johnson Intervention Method for alcohol use disorder treatment. We also have drug rehab and dual diagnosis treatment to choose from. Visit our website to answer more questions, and message us through our Contact Us page. Once the detox is complete, outpatient or inpatient treatment can follow. Intervention may be just the answer for bringing your loved one with an addiction to seek treatment. 

The Johnson Intervention Method is a powerful and engaging method of bringing a loved one with a substance use disorder to treatment. Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee offers the option of using this method with your loved one. The success rate of the Johnson Intervention Method has been proven very effective in the successful acceptance of treatment and completion.

Contact our staff to begin the process today. 

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