The ACT Team asks about a person’s wishes; values the person’s input and feedback, explores and helps resolve barriers to treatment; looks at what support network is available, and encourages use of self-help groups. They explore and consider the importance of faith and the role of culture, and they monitor what signs are indicative of the individual no longer needing assistance. 

The following interventions are employed based on the Stages of Change model and the Motivational Interviewing model:

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  • Psychopharmacological interventions;
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy;
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy;
  • Illness Management and Recovery;
  • Family Education and Support;
  • Individual Supportive Treatment (reality-based with discussion of negative consequences of mental illness, substance abuse, medical issues, and so forth in a non-confrontational way);
  • Crisis Interventions;
  • Substance Abuse Treatment (individual and group treatment,  use of Alcoholics Anonymous/Smart Recovery/Co-Occurring Disorders meetings, and education);
  • Rehabilitation (skill building such as budgeting, communication, leisure, social, vocational,  and community integration skills);
  • Supportive Employment (includes assistance with résumés, job interviews and job skills);
  • Supported Housing (includes working with landlords and families);
  • Collaboration (occurs with families/significant others, guardians, primary care physicians, lawyers, probation or parole officers, landlords, employers and other providers. The team provides transportation.).

The stage-wise interventions reduce staff frustration, as using the right intervention at the right time enhances the therapeutic relationship and decreases resistance. With long-term relationships, outcomes improve, hope increases, active participation in treatment occurs, and treating the whole person gives the gift of a new life in recovery.

Continuous long-term services teach the person how to deal with the pattern of symptoms and impairments these illnesses present in their lives and provide a continuous system of care with the ability to provide services based on needs at any point along the continuum. This results in effective rehabilitation, fosters a productive community member, increases wellness, and decreases stigma

Judith Magnon, BS, RN-BC, CAC, is the Program Director at WestBridge Inc., a specialized treatment center for patients with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders in Brooksville, Florida.


  1. Mueser KT, et al. Integrated Treatment for Dual Disorders: A Guide to Effective Practice. New York, NY: Guilford Press; 2003.