Intervention is a formal, therapeutic process where one or more interventionists help on behalf of an individual or a family with substance abuse and/or interpersonal problems. Intervention can be done in different ways and for different reasons – from those supporting someone with problems with alcohol or drugs to those concerned about their friend’s inability to find work.
There are many reasons why an intervention might be necessary. It could be to get a loved one into rehab to help them battle addiction, or it could be for a loved one who is struggling with an eating disorder. Sometimes, it is just that someone needs to have a serious talk with someone they care about who is making poor choices in life. Most frequently, however, interventions are conducted to try to help people with substance use disorder (SUD). Intervention team members may include a professional interventionist, a life coach, and/or a family member or friend.
The goal of the intervention is to confront the person with addiction in as gentle a way as possible and help them consider an alternative way of living such as undergoing treatment for addiction.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the content of a guide or framework. An interventionist guide can be extremely helpful if you need to know what to do and how to follow through with an intervention. You will also need a list of people that will be involved in the process to conduct the intervention effectively from start to finish.
Outline of the Intervention Process
The addict can agree to treatment during or between any of the eight sessions described below. In the event that this does occur, we do not continue on to the later sessions, but instead move on to the treatment.
Session One: Initial introduction and handling of addict’s surprise or anger.
Objective: To put the addict more at ease, receptive and ready to hear the remainder of the intervention.
Session Two: The family letter reading is the foundation of the intervention, as well as the bulk of communication between the family and the addict.
Objective: It draws the addict back into the family system and surrounds him with love, but also delivers a strong message.
Session Three: The interventionist will begin to relate his story, probing for connection points or ruin patterns.
Objective: To establish a connection between the interventionist and the addict to enable more effective communication.
Session Four: Acknowledgement of problem by the addict, followed by an offering of a solution by the interventionist in the form of treatment.
Objective: To slowly guide the addict into realizing the negative impacts of drugs or alcohol in his life, and getting him to be in a position where he will be more receptive to treatment.
Session Five: Treatment rejection and objections handling.
Objective: Making treatment more attractive and comfortable by handling each objection individually.
Session Six: The Interventionist alternates between “good cop” and “bad cop” roles.
Objective: Make the drug and alcohol use less comfortable by “reality factoring” (r-factor) and treatment more comfortable of an option.
Session Seven: Gradient increase. The interventionist begins to slowly drop hints about bottom lines.
Objective: Allow the addict to begin to see the consequences of his choices.
Session Eight: Delivery of bottom lines.
Objective: Allowing the addict to understand how the family has set boundaries and refuses to be affected or contribute to the addiction any longer.
NOTE: If the addict has already experienced a large number of negative consequences as a result of his drinking/using then he will usually agree to treatment after delivery of Session Five. Over 60% of addicts we have delivered interventions on end up seeking treatment at this point without ever having to move on to the final sessions.