Faith based interventions offer an effective method of reaching people because they combine practical therapeutic approaches along with grounding in the person’s own belief system. Gaining a client’s trust is a major element in any crisis intervention, and faith-based approaches have a great advantage for clients and families who practice a specific religion. Professional interventionists who offer a faith based interventions tend to have an even greater chance of success compared to other intervention services that don’t provide faith based interventions.
The Evolution of Faith Based Interventions
The history of social work is inseparable from religious traditions. Since the beginning of the 19th century, congregation members would rally around individuals in the community in order to provide relief from social and health related problems.
By the beginning of the twentieth century churches that offered intervention services saw this outreach as not only helping an individual, but aiding the development of society as a whole.
Beginning in 2001, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided funding to many faith-based social service organizations through its Compassion Capital Fund. While these programs encompass many types of help, crisis interventions have always been a significant focus.
Are Faith Based Programs As Effective As Secular Ones?
An extensive research study of faith-based programs published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found similarities between faith-based and traditional approaches to drug treatment.
The core bases of treatment used by each type of approach (mentoring, role modeling, and social cohesion) were found to be identical in effectiveness. The faith-based programs did include additional support in the areas of ritual and belief.
Social work research at the University of Michigan declares “…a voluminous body of medical research documents the salutary effects of religion and spirituality on well-being”.
Faith Based Treatment Is Effective For “Set” and “Setting”
In his seminal book “Drug, Set, and Setting,” Norman Zinberg, M.D. laid out three determining factors that lead to drug use which therefore should be addressed in crisis interventions. These three factors are:
- The pharmacological action of the drug itself.
- The individual’s mindset (“set”).
- The way in which the person’s environment contributes to their addictive behavior (“setting”).
Faith-based interventions are able to substantially contribute to a successful family interventions by providing a supportive setting based in a healthy church community. They also build on an individual’s spiritual perspective in a respectful manner, and promote the positive efforts of that person towards health.
For families whose daily life is grounded in religious faith, it makes sense that a crisis intervention intended to reorient a family member’s behavior requires a foundation in that religion. A strong body of evidence supports the value of faith-based interventions that align with an individual’s existing world view.
Professional interventionists welcome the opportunity to integrate their work with the client’s beliefs. Finding a facility that supports the integration of faith based interventions in their intervention services portfolio is a great foundation to helping your loved one take the first important steps towards recovery.