The Importance of Professional Intervention

InterventionTreatment for addiction does not need to begin voluntarily to be effective. The lower the bottom, the harder it becomes to ever return to the surface. Traditional psychiatry and counseling are most often not the answer. Research shows intervention to be successful 85% to 95% of the time. Truly successful outcomes for any serious illness require a variety of interventions—based on the latest research to include medicine, nutrition, education, relational support, etc. A professional interventionist will provide oversight and continuity to permanently raise the bottom of the entire family of those suffering from addiction.

Anyone who is consumed by alcohol or drugs of any kind is incapable of making consistently healthy choices, and thus requires professional expertise to help get healthy again. Working with a specialist will offer significant advantages that save families time, money, and emotional pain in the long run.

Consult an Addiction Professional

Consulting an addiction professional, such as an alcohol and addictions counselor, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or interventionist, can help you organize an effective intervention. A substance use or addiction professional will take into account the particular circumstances surrounding the alcohol or drug use, suggest the best approach, and provide guidance for what type of treatment and follow-up plan is likely to work best.

An intervention is a carefully planned process that may be done by family and friends, in consultation with a doctor or professional such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, or directed by an intervention professional (interventionist). It sometimes involves co-workers, clergy members or others who care about the person struggling with addiction.

Much of the intervention process is education and information for the friends and family. The opportunity for everyone to come together, share information and support each other is critically important.  Once everyone is ready, a meeting is scheduled with the person everyone is concerned about.

During the intervention, these people gather together to confront the person about the consequences of addiction and ask him or her to accept treatment. The intervention:

  • Provides specific examples of destructive behaviors and their impact on the addicted person and loved ones
  • Offers a prearranged treatment plan with clear steps, goals and guidelines
  • Spells out what each person will do if a loved one refuses to accept treatment

Here’s a look at seven tips that will increase the likelihood of your family member saying “yes” to accepting professional help and walking into a new life of health and happiness.

Tip #1 Choose the Right Team

An intervention is not something to be performed alone. Most likely, you’ve already tried to “intervene” on your own. Choose somewhere between 3 and 8 people to participate; consider close friends, family members and colleagues who have first-hand knowledge of the problem.

Tip #2 Hire a Professional Interventionist

A professional interventionist is experienced and trained in addiction. They know how to prepare an intervention, respond to common reactions and set a proper tone for the event. Despite reading about it or seeing it on TV, nothing can substitute the value of experience.

Tip #3 Prepare and Discuss the Intervention

Team members should be prepared to speak knowledgeably regarding your family member and his/her addiction. Reading a one-page letter (written by each team member) to the addict is a common practice of interventions.

Tip #4 Omit Blame, Anger and Judgment

When rehearsing for your family member’s intervention, omit using any words or tones that may cause more confrontation than necessary. Read your letter aloud and discussing the proper tone with your interventionist before the big day. This is an important part of preparation.

Tip #5 Ensure It’s Unexpected

If your family member is aware of an intervention, he/she may prepare a defense or avoid the situation altogether. Although it might feel sneaky or dishonest, planning the intervention in secret is one of the keys to success and effectiveness.

Tip #6 Carefully Plan Your Objective

The goal of an intervention is to facilitate the immediate treatment your family member’s addiction. Typically, a treatment center will be lined up beforehand and they should be expecting your family member’s arrival. Professional counseling or therapy sessions should also be available for you and other family members following the intervention.

Tip #7 Understand Leverage and Compassion

Threats and ultimatums are sometimes counterproductive and dangerous, but you must be prepared to voice the consequences of treatment refusal. Whether it’s how the refusal of treatment will affect the addict’s relationship with the family, current living arrangements or the family as a whole, you must remember that you wield significant leverage. When used compassionately, your family member will ultimately thank you for showing such strength.

Remember; the point of an intervention is to help – not threaten, hurt or embarrass.