In this article, I focus on Intravention, a fundamental principle of the resilience equation.

Let’s begin by revisiting my definition of Intravention:

Definition: Intravention is self-care undertaken to support resistance, recovery, and (therefore) resilience.

There seem to be two sub-types of intravention – Unconscious Intravention, and Conscious Intravention.

Unconscious Intravention

Definition: Unconscious Intravention is self-care undertaken without the conscious awareness of the individual.

Unconscious intravention activities (both creative and receptive) are generally linked to underlying intentions, psychological processes, and psychodynamic drives. For example, someone might develop certain habits or patterns of behavior that serve as coping mechanisms for managing stress or emotional distress, without consciously recognising the deeper reasons behind these behaviors.

While unconscious intravention may be naturally constructive, such as that of data sorting, comprehension, and acceptance of experience (dynamic integration), some unconscious intraventions could be considered as destructive, or perhaps more importantly – self-destructive. For example, activities that may stem from subconscious fears, or even traumatic, historic, and unresolved issues. Such a maladaptive coping method could be the use of alcohol or other substances to avoid the experience of pain. Whilst the actual procurement of alcohol is indeed a conscious occurrence, within the context of unconscious intravention, it is the underlying drive to do so, and the drive’s causal factors, which the person may be unaware of.

Other unconscious intraventions could include activities such as seeking comfort in familiar routines, avoiding situations that trigger anxiety, or engaging in repetitive behaviors as a means of soothing oneself during times of distress.

Of utmost importance in terms of resilience however, is the unconscious nature of the dynamic integration of experience is particularly noteworthy, as it is this unconscious drive which facilitates the eventual comprehension and acceptance of a painful experience. It is this very propensity which CRISIS was designed to augment and support.

Conscious Intravention

Definition: Conscious Intravention is self-care undertaken with the conscious awareness of the individual.

This type of intravention involves deliberate and purposeful efforts to engage in activities aimed at personal growth, self-improvement, and resilience-building. Individuals consciously recognise the importance of nurturing their well-being and resilience, actively seeking out positive strategies to enhance their coping skills, emotional regulation, and overall resilience. This could involve practices such as mindfulness meditation, journaling, therapy, self-reflection, or participating in resilience-building workshops or programs.

Unlike unconscious psychodynamic activities, these conscious intraventions are driven by a clear awareness of the need for self-care and self-development.

Intravention & Resilience

Both types of intravention play a role in resilience, albeit in different ways. Unconscious psychodynamic activities may provide individuals with immediate relief or coping mechanisms during times of stress, even if they are not consciously aware of the underlying processes. On the other hand, conscious intention for self-development allows individuals to actively engage in practices that promote long-term resilience and well-being by fostering self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and adaptive coping strategies.

Understanding intravention can empower us to become more aware of how we respond to stress and adversity, and to develop strategies that promote our resilience and overall well-being. By recognising the role of both unconscious and conscious intraventions in our lives, we can cultivate a more balanced approach to self-care and personal growth.

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Posted by:Sean McCallum CTIRt CCt

Crisis Intervention & Trauma Consultant