How to Hold an Intervention

How to Hold an Intervention

When you see someone ruining their lives with substance abuse or refuse to get help with their mental health issues, you want to do more than just watch but to point them in the right direction. You and your loved ones can hold an intervention for this person which is a structured conversation between loved ones and someone struggling with addiction. It is important to remember that the goal of an intervention is about motivating that person to get help and not to lecture about all of the wrong they have done to you.

An intervention consists of giving specific examples of destructive behaviors and the effect it has had on your friends and family. It can be for substance abuse, behavioral addictions, eating disorders, and mental health problems. It is also about educating that person on the potential resources that you have researched for them to get well. You may be feeling a lot of negative feelings towards this person that you feel like you need to express like your anger and your hurt. An intervention is not the time or place to ambush, scold, or shame the person as this will make them continue further and further with their substance abuse patterns. They could feel like you are judging and lecturing them instead of finding the heart in what you are saying.

Instead of saying what is at the top of your head, develop a plan and stick with it to focus on the task at hand. Create a time and date that works well for everyone involved. You should also see what role everyone will play in the intervention like the leader, the one who speaks about the treatment options, the one speaking of the consequences without help, etc. Schedule a rehearsal about what will be discussed and whether what is being discussed is important and to the point. If you express your feelings first to those leading the intervention compared to the one who needs help, you can let all of your big emotions out first to these people so that you will be in more control when the real intervention is done.

When the real intervention occurs, you can each tell a small number of stories related to the destructive behaviors that the person in need has demonstrated in a scripted matter. If it is scripted, then it will prevent you from rambling and you will be able to better organize your thoughts. Give that person information on what you have learned about their condition, how medical detox will do wonders for their body, and rehabilitation programs that can help them. You can all say what part you all are willing to take to ensure that person has a successful recovery like one will provide transportation to therapy, one will prepare meals, one will babysit for you, etc. You can also let that person know about the heavy consequences that can come if that person does not get help like divorce, not being able to see your children, refusing financial help, and more.

There are many different styles of interventions. There are ones where you can do it yourself where your family and friends make a script and hold the meetings themselves with multiple planning sessions. Another way is to hire a professional interventionist to plan and host the event and can even escort that person to treatment after the intervention is over. There are many ways you can find a professional interventionist like if a trusted family or friend knows of one. You can get a referral from a doctor or therapist or look for local options online. In some cases, it may be easier to hire a professional who is not emotionally involved as they will be able to maintain their emotions and get right to the point of the importance of treatment.

A spiritual leader can speak about how substance abuse can be against religious philosophies. A doctor can be there as well to speak of the health consequences and show tests and diagnosis. Social workers or counselors can give a short intervention that normally lasts less than an hour. They can speak of the dangerous behaviors that person has exhibited and health consequences that may follow. These interventions normally occur at the hospital after an overdose, in school if that student is suspected of drug use, court-ordered educational programs, and vocational rehab programs.

It is hard to know how your loved one will react with an unexpected intervention. If it happens where that person’s reaction will put those in the intervention group in danger, call the police immediately. If you provide a calm and peaceful environment where no one is screaming at each other and you speak with care in your voice, there should be no reason why that person would overreact. In order for an intervention to be successful, you need to remember that an intervention is about the person who needs help and not an opportunity to vent about the harm they have done to you. The content in this meeting should only be about education and love. If you are too emotionally involved in this and feel like you cannot talk without breaking out in tears, that is the time to call in a professional. An intervention will express to the person in need how much you love them and that you are rooting for them to succeed.

Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 888-570-7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.