A&E’s “Intervention” is a worthwhile program, but it leaves more to tell

A&E’s “Intervention” is a reality series that follows one individual struggling with addiction per episode. Family and friends gather with an interventionist toward the end of the episode and an intervention is planned. The addict is then given a choice between leaving immediately for rehab or risk losing contact, financial support or some other privileges from their family and friends.

Watch an A&E network intervention video
Crack Cocaine and Bath Salts Addiction: A review of the episode

Dr. Adi JaffeDr. Adi Jaffe is an addiction treatment expert trained at UCLA. However, before he got involved in the field of addiction research and treatment, he was a drug dealer and meth addict himself. He incorporates his own personal experience with drugs and his over the top lifestyle into his treatment methodology. After being arrested 4 times and serving two stints in a rehab, he managed to get his life back on track. He has now published several articles and given several speeches on the subject matter of addiction.

All interventions are not the same

This style of intervention used in A&E’s “Intervention” is known as The Johnson Model (JM), as thought up by Dr. Vernon Johnson in the 1960s. This intervention model has, because of the show, become the most recognizable version of addiction intervention. An interventionist using this style aims to abruptly break the denial that is harbored by the chemically independent individual. By assembling loved ones and presenting an ultimatum, the addict is forced to hit “bottom”, in hopes of pushing them toward recovery and avoiding further destruction.


There are alternative intervention approaches, including Motivational Interviewing (MI), and CRAFT (Community reinforcement and family training). These relatively more recent and less confrontational approaches also employ professional counselors or interventionists who seeks to move the addict into a state in which they themselves are motivated to change their behavior (MI) or who focus on teaching behavior change skills to use at home (CRAFT).