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Phase 3: Create and Implement an Intervention

Your task in the intervention phase is to enable your client to make needed or wanted changes. This is challenging in Riverton, where there are so many competing interests. What do you need to do, and what does the client system need to do? Think about this before proceeding to the next steps.

Some of the intervention activities that you can engage in with, or on behalf of, your client, include the following:

  • Information gathering and sharing

    Clients often require assistance in the activities that will move them toward their goal. For example, clients may want a job but not know how to go about getting one or how to acquire the skills needed for specific jobs. They might not know their legal rights—in which case, you could either find the information that they need or find an appropriate referral (in other words, help a client acquire a legal resource).

  • Resource mobilization or acquisition

    The most common of all intervention activities is to seek goods or services needed by the client system. Resources may come from either formal systems (state, federal, or municipal programs, whose reason for being is to provide those resources) or informal systems (for example, family, friends, religious organization, or neighborhood entities). Generally speaking, the use of informal systems is preferred, because usually formal systems are likely to give only limited help; thus, formal systems should be a last resort.

  • Advocacy

    Related to resource acquisition is the process of working with or on behalf of the client system to acquire resources that would otherwise not be accessible. Often, in helping one client, the worker helps many who are in the same situation. For example, suppose that a client both needs and wants to work but the public transportation routes do not reach her neighborhood. If a worker worked with the system to modify the route so that public transportation became a viable option for the client, then the client would benefit—as would everyone else who lived in that neighborhood who had no other means of transportation.

  • Support

    Clients are most likely to work toward change when they perceive a payoff at the end of the process. To maintain that optimism, the worker must be supportive and encouraging and be able to frame setbacks as an inevitable part of the process. The message should always be that clients will be successful, with perseverance.

My Intervene Tasks

Consider once again the possibility of the creation of an alcohol impact zone, which you were asked to explore in the engage phase of your work.

Following the process outlined in this phase, create your intervention plan. List the goal(s) you hope to accomplish, in specific, measurable terms, and craft a plan for meeting that goal that includes the steps in the process.

Our knowledge of systems theory informs us of the inevitability of changes to other systems when one system undergoes a shift. Think about the likely outcome of successful intervention beyond this client system. What are some of the possibilities?