Interventionists play a key role in helping guide families and people into recovery and facilitating the mind leaps required for people to go into rehab. Usually, a professional interventionist has unique and intricate knowledge and understanding of family and interpersonal dynamics required to stage long-term and successful transitions from a state of resistance to a state of full recovery. Usually, expert interventionists are consultants who are not part of our premium rehab centre and are thus independent and impartial conduits that naturally select Recovery Direct based on our outstanding level of care.
Modern interventions usually are not what you expect and see on American TV shows. Interventions are usually a unique consultative process in every case. The interventionist usually works with the family to understand the core driving issues and works out a strategy that would be most beneficial to all the concerned parties. Then facilitates the process from end to end and through the patient’s entire treatment cycle to ensure the best possible outcome.
Advantages of conducting an intervention
- Helps the person recognise their addiction: An intervention can help the person recognise that they have an addiction problem, which is often the first step in the recovery process.
- Supports the addict: Interventions typically involve friends and family members who offer support to the addict. This can be a valuable source of motivation and encouragement.
- Provides education and resources: Typically, the intervention process includes educating the person about addiction and its consequences, as well as providing resources to assist them in seeking treatment.
- Reduces isolation: Addiction can be a very isolating experience, but intervention can help the individual feel less alone and more supported by loved ones.
- If the person is engaging in dangerous behaviours as a result of their addiction, an intervention may help prevent further harm to themselves or others.
Disadvantages of conducting an intervention
- Interventions can be emotionally charged and confrontational, which can make the person defensive or resistant to receiving help.
- It is possible that this will not be successful: An intervention does not guarantee that the individual will seek treatment or recover from addiction.
- Relationships may be strained: The intervention process can be stressful and may strain relationships between the individual and their loved ones.
- Treatment for addiction can be costly, and an intervention may only be the beginning of a long and costly journey.
- Feelings of guilt: If the intervention is unsuccessful or the person continues to struggle with addiction, loved ones may feel guilty.
Conducting an intervention with a person struggling with addiction on your own is not advised due to the high risk of emotional distress and potential physical harm. Seek advice from a professional addiction counsellor or intervention specialist who can provide you with the tools and resources you need to carry out an effective intervention that supports the person’s recovery journey in a safe and respectful manner. If you would like to speak to one of Recovery Directs consulting interventionist services, please get in touch with our centre here and we will put you in touch with a facilitator in your area that will guide you through the process.
- Prepare yourself
Interventions are emotional events that require time, effort, courage and commitment from you. If you feel daunted, get a trusted friend to share the journey with you.
- Do research
Your background knowledge and other sources can help, but the best option is to get personal advice for your situation by talking to a therapist. Some cases need extra preparation.
- Get help
Sometimes a therapist can attend an intervention. You can also ask a trusted friend or group of people, including family members, to join you and together, you can be part of the intervention.
- Vet the helpers
If you want others to attend and assist with intervention, choose people both you and the patient will trust. Authoritative strangers are acceptable, but limit them to two – do not aim to generate fear as it can close communication channels.
- Draw in employers
Fear of losing a job is one of the big reasons for denial. If a sympathetic employer’s support can be enlisted, it will be much easier to break down denial.
- Choose the time
Estimate a time when the patient will be available. Set the event for that time. Avoid a rushed talk.
- Choose the place
In most cases, the patient’s home is chosen as the venue for the intervention, but it can be any private and quiet place, depending on circumstances. A therapeutic environment which inspires respect, calmness and trust is ideal.
- Prepare the helpers
Arrange a meeting with the group members before the planned intervention. Inform everybody of all the details and what their roles will be.
- Be ready
If the intervention succeeds, you should take the patient to the rehab centre immediately. Make prior arrangements with the centre and pack a small suitcase for the person in advance.
- Implement the intervention
The intervention should be convened without the patient’s prior knowledge of the planned event. Wait until everybody is present before starting.
Emphasise that the event was arranged because you care about the patient; that it is not an ambush by enemies, but a show of support. Tell the person in a caring, honest manner, how their behaviour and the negative consequences affect you. Let others in the group present their observations in turn.
- Show acceptance. Tell the patient that mistakes are normal and acceptable, but that living with a mistake is not. You do not want perfection, you just want them to have a normal, happy life.
- Do not be intimidated: Some patients use intimidation as the next best defence after denial. Calmly tell the person that you are aware of this and that it will not work.
- Do not intimidate
The patient dislikes it as much as you do and will retaliate if you try to overpower them in an unreasonable manner.
- Do not take charge
Avoid the impression that you are taking over. The person’s participation is crucial. If you act imperiously, the patient may withdraw or retaliate.
- Do not humiliate
People need acceptance, reassurance and motivation. Empathy and trust is essential to get anyone to open up. Insults or harsh accusations will not work.
- Do not dictate
It must be a give-and-take discussion between equals, with mutual understanding and consensus. If you act superior, patronising or overly-demanding, it will alienate the person.
- Do not blame
There are reasons why this happened. Refrain from blaming the person and instilling guilt in them. Once again, this will only close up communication channels and for progress to take place, a sense of open-mindedness is necessary.
- Respect the person’s rights
Above all; do not forcibly remove the substance – it will cause instant anxiety.
- Do not teach
Avoid lecturing. You can use your research knowledge to sensibly support your views and to challenge denials.
- Be patient
Allow the person to talk. Try not to interrupt. You will not be able to reach consensus if you do not know what the person’s views are.
- Show understanding
People affected by addictions are often criticised, but their representations are swept aside, so they develop a feeling that nobody wants to understand them. Give them an opportunity to tell their story.
Open your mind and accept that the person may see things that you do not. Make a note of these items and tell them it will be addressed during treatment.
- Resist self-pity
Do not take what the patient says personally. They are simply using every means of defence at their disposal. It is not their true perception of you.
Assure the patient that the withdrawal effects will be minimised and that you will continue to support them during treatment – This is important and must never be skipped.
- Do not give up
If an intervention is rejected, try again. Denial may be temporary. People often just need time to reconsider. Keep in mind that they are unable to help themselves – deserting them may not be the best moral option.
When an intervention succeeds, immediately take the person to the treatment centre. Do not allow time for a change of heart.