Brief intervention is a short counseling session - what some call a "negotiated discussion" - between someone who may have a problem with alcohol and drugs and another person who is trained in doing brief interventions. Healthcare practitioners often refer to SBI - screening and brief intervention - to describe a pair of actions.
First, a trained peer or professional counselor or healthcare professional conducts a screening by asking a series of standardized questions such as "How often during the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?" or "Have you or someone else been injured as a result of your drinking?"
If the screening indicates that the person is engaging in risky behavior, the brief intervention follows. These discussions often make a person awaIf the screening indicates that the person is engaging in risky behavior, the brief intervention follows. These discussions often make a person aware of how harmful their drinking or drug use is to their health and safety and how it affects the well-being of people they live or work with. Counselors or heath care professionals may use a technique called motivational interviewing. In this approach, the counselor helps a person to draw upon his or her own resources and desires to make a change. The counselor will ask about overall lifestyle and health issues, and then ask, for instance, What makes you think you may need to make a change? or What could you do? What are your options? Even though a brief intervention takes just minutes, there is the potential for them to reduce alcohol and drug problems and help engage the patient in treatment.
SBI can be conducted in a healthcare setting, including in the emergency room; in the workplace; at school, or at events such as community health fairs. Doctors know that brief interventions at certain "teachable moments," for instance, immediately after a car crash, can prompt a person to curtail or reduce their risky, nondependent drinking or drug use. The counseling can interrupt the continuum of using that progresses to addiction. It can prompt a person to seek further treatment.
Brief interventions are not a method of treating addiction; they are a significant means of getting the addicted person into treatment.