Difference Between Tough Love & Love First Intervention Approaches

During an intervention, family members will share with their loved one why they believe that they can benefit from professional addiction treatment, offer their continual support, and provide encouragement to accept help that can save their life. This can be a very overwhelming yet motivating moment for someone who is struggling with a substance use disorder, however if it is done right, it could compel them to begin their recovery.

There are several ways to hold an intervention, and it is important to utilize the method most likely to reach the individual in need. This article will discuss the two different types of interventions – Tough Love and Love First interventions – your family could choose from when getting ready to speak with a loved one who has an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Tough Love Intervention vs. Love First Model

When you are considering how to go about conducting and participating in an intervention for your loved one, you might quickly become flooded with various options and ideas regarding what to do. It can be extremely beneficial to reach out to a professional who can help assist you and your loved ones at this time. One of the ways that they may be able to offer their assistance can be by helping you determine the appropriate type of intervention for your loved one.

A Tough Love Intervention

An intervention utilizing the Tough Love model focuses on the problems and changes an addiction can cause. The family meets well before the intervention is scheduled to start, and they are encouraged to consider:

  • Physical and psychological repercussions caused by the misuse.
  • Legal, financial, or professional consequences caused by the misuse.
  • The ways in which the individual has changed as a result of their substance misuse.
  • The concerns they have about how the substance misuse will impact both the family and the loved one with a substance use disorder in the future.

The family is then encouraged to write letters that contain their thoughts about these and other focus points. The letters may contain expressions of love and support, however they are often focused on the concerns and fears they have for their loved one. In these families, intervention letters such as these allow members to also share their pain in an effort to encourage their loved one to accept help.

What is a “Consequence” in the Tough Love Model?

The Tough Love model requires friends, family, and loved ones to establish one or more hard-line repercussions in their intervention letters should the individual with the addiction decline to get help. heir l Professionals who follow this model call it a “consequence,” and they believe it is a vital part of what can motivate a person to get care. Consequences that are commonly cited in intervention letters often include:

  • Reporting the individual’s dealing/possession to the police.
  • Contacting the individual’s place of work (if employed).
  • Removing access to their home, if shared with other family members.
  • Withholding any financial support.
  • Cutting off communication with the individual.

While these steps are serious and gut-wrenching for all involved, those who follow this model believe that continued addiction can be just as serious and gut-wrenching. The goal is to get their loved one to get into treatment in order to avoid those consequences and get better.

The Love First Model

This specific type of intervention is designed to boost the role of the family’s support in a standard intervention. The Love First model steers away from the Tough Love model by avoiding the possibility of making the individual feel attacked with impact statements or threats. Instead, the Love First model utilizes a format that keeps those concerned about someone with a substance use disorder focused on how much they love and support them.

A Love First intervention usually begins with a cohesive expression of support and admiration from the friends, family, and loved ones to the individual with the substance use disorder. Families are encouraged to consider:

  • The ways in which they admire the person with the substance use disorder.
  • Times where the person has provided them with key support.
  • Examples of amazing things the individual has done.
  • Examples of the possibilities the individual can have in the future.

It is the goal of the Love First Model to utilize this approach in an effort to thaw the individual’s resistance, allowing them to listen to all family members’ letters with lowered defenses.

A document provided by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics reports that some 85 percent of people approached by an intervention accept help that same day. That means families should be always prepared with a next step in the event that the intervention is a success. Research in advance can help families determine where their loved one can obtain treatment so that they can go immediately to the facility.

Drug and Alcohol Treatment in New Jersey

While both of these intervention options are very different, and one or the other might seem like a perfect fit, it is worth remembering that these are not the only options for families experiencing a loved one’s addiction. If you are considering an intervention for a loved one, or are in need of a place for them to begin their treatment, reach out to our drug and alcohol rehab in New Jersey. Our dedicated team of rehab admissions navigators can help answer any questions you may have, including how to pay for rehab, using insurance to cover treatment costs, and what levels of addiction treatment we provide.

Do not wait any longer. Call us right now at to get the help you and your family need.

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