Module 9: working with young people on AOD issues: facilitator's guide

6.2 Range of brief interventions

Page last updated: 2004

Brief interventions can take many forms and can occur in a variety of settings. Examples of brief interventions include:

  • Informal discussions around drug use in a youth drop-in centre
  • Telephone services such as Kids Helpline
  • One-to-one counselling opportunities in the context of a youth program (e.g. during assessment, or when a young person seeks advice about AOD issues)
  • Self-help manuals or workbooks provided by a school counsellor or youth worker
  • AOD education in a group setting in a Juvenile Justice centre.
  • Computer-based or on-line quizzes and questionnaires around drugs and drug use
  • School-based peer-intervention programs
  • Provision of harm reduction information in general practice or hospital accident and emergency settings.
Ask learners to think of more brief intervention examples, specific to their workplace.

When to carry out brief interventions
Optional exercise – Brief intervention example

When to carry out brief interventions

Task - workplace learning activity, writing/brainstorm exercise

Brief interventions can take place almost anywhere and anytime. Take some time to reflect on your own work practice and think about when and where brief interventions have occurred whilst working with young people.

Question - Are there times when it may not be appropriate to undertake a brief intervention?

  • When the person does not wish to engage in conversation and becomes visibly distressed or angry by your questioning
  • When a person is in a highly emotional state
  • When a person is extremely intoxicated and will gain little benefit from any conversation or intervention until they begin to sober up
  • When a person is on medication that is mood/mind altering (i.e. methadone or some anti-psychotics).
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Optional exercise – Brief intervention example

Task - case study

Ask learners in small groups to recall a workplace scenario where a brief intervention occurred.

Question - Prepare a case study example recalling a workplace scenario where a brief intervention occurred and include the following information (ensuring all names remain confidential.)
  1. When did the brief intervention take place?
  2. Where did it take place? Provide a brief overview of the environment, location, if any others were involved.
  3. What was the goal of the intervention?
  4. How was the brief intervention conducted? What strategies did you use?
    • Were any harm minimisation strategies discussed?
    • Were any referrals made?
    • Was another time arranged to meet with the young person to discuss issues further?
    • How long did the intervention take?
  5. What would you do differently?
Each group to present back to the large group.