The Ultimate Intervention Guide
What is an intervention?
An intervention is a meeting where one group of people intervenes on behalf of someone who is struggling with an addiction, whether it’s due to drugs, alcohol, or even gambling. A well-planned intervention can be broken down into three critical phases:
- Trust – Gaining trust, which can enable gentle confrontation
- Change – Highlighting the path to change Asking the addicted person to get treatment
- Consequences – Delivering consequences or points of leverage (if the addicted person doesn’t agree to treatment)
“An intervention can be an emotionally-charged event. It can be very uncomfortable, confusing, and scary; but in reality, it’s an opportunity for positive change.”Kevin Morse, Interventionist and Recovery Consultant
According to Kevin Morse, interventionist and recovery consultant, “An intervention can be an emotionally-charged event. It can be very uncomfortable, confusing, and scary; but in reality, it’s an opportunity for positive change.”
You may opt to gather friends and family to stage an intervention in an effort to help your loved one recognize the problem, and seek help. The following steps will guide you as you plan this critical, potentially life-saving event.
What is a professional intervention?
Many people wonder if a professional intervention can help, and the short answer is yes. Read on to see why an interventionist can make such a significant impact.
What is an interventionist?
There’s a great deal you can plan for with an intervention, but there’s also the certainty of uncertainty. You can’t predict how your loved one may react. You can’t predict what actions they may take. But due to their wealth of experience, an interventionist has an entire playbook, backed by the ability to think in the moment — an essential skill that you may need to rely on as the intervention unfolds.
Professional interventionists, also known as intervention specialists or recovery consultants, can help:
- Provide insights – Provide insights on how to plan a successful intervention
- Choreograph events – Choreograph the ordering of events during the intervention
- Coach – Coach you and your family and friends on what to expect and how to engage the addicted person during the intervention
- Facilitate – Facilitate an intervention, possessing the ability to remain emotionally unattached, which is vital to the success of the facilitator role
- Advocate – Liaise on your behalf (and the addicted person’s) with facility clinical professionals before, during, and after treatment
- Support – Provide ongoing coaching and support for your family as you learn how to support your loved one through their recovery
Success rates dramatically increase when an interventionist, or other trusted professional, guide the course of the intervention, including all activities leading up to, during, and after the intervention.
How to find an intervention specialist or interventionist
First and foremost, if you have a professional counselor, ask for a referral. Otherwise, the Association of Intervention Specialists can be a great place to begin your search and find a professional interventionist near you.
What to look for in an interventionist
While time is often of the essence when it comes to acting on a loved one’s addiction, it’s also important to plan up-front as methodically as possible to ensure the best outcome possible. Things to look for in the interventionist you choose include:
- A masters degree in counseling, preferably in addiction counseling
- Certification as an alcohol and drug counselor
- Experience running interventions
- Board certification as an interventionist
“Prepare for change, not just with your loved one, but with yourself. Look to your interventionist to help you leading into, during, and after treatment. Lasting change requires ongoing effort.” Kevin Morse, Interventionist and Recovery Consultant
In addition, you’d be well served to ask your chosen interventionist to provide:
- Their guiding philosophy as it relates to addiction treatment to establish a good fit from the outset
Success rates based on past experiences with families going through the same scenario you’re experiencing
- A timeline of how long they plan to contractually remain invested in the positive outcome of your loved one’s recovery
- If possible, recommendations from past clients that provide anecdotal proof to their success rates
How much does an interventionist cost?
Each professional’s fee structure will vary, ranging from $1K and $10K, which may cover ongoing support (This is something you should request as a client).
Ideally, your interventionist will agree to coach your family through the initial recovery process, and advocate on your loved one’s behalf with the treatment facility. Unfortunately, utilizing the services of a qualified professional are not yet covered by insurance (in most cases), but in a situation as dire and important as this, it’s vital to get it right. You may only have one chance to help your loved one take a step in the right direction.
Is an interventionist necessary?
More often than not, an intervention is the final push. Because this is such an emotional, daunting issue, there’s a tendency to avoid dealing with addiction. Or even calling it an “addiction.” This is all perfectly normal and understandable behavior, on both parts of the family and the addicted person.
“Waiting to treat addiction until the person ‘reaches rock bottom’ is equivalent to waiting to treat cancer until it reaches Stage 4. Sometimes a person has reached a place of such darkness they cannot recognize their need for help until it is brought to light by others.” Keith Bradley, Senior Interventionist at Love in Action
However, keep this in mind: “Waiting to treat addiction until the person ‘reaches rock bottom’ is equivalent to waiting to treat cancer until it reaches Stage 4,” says Bradley. “Your loved one has likely become very good at hiding their addiction. The longer they can keep it secret, the longer their relationship with drugs or alcohol can last.”
There are a wide variety of addiction types that may require an intervention, including:
- Intervention for alcoholics
- Heroin intervention
- Gambling intervention
- Cocaine intervention
As soon as you see the issue, it’s time to intervene. And it’s highly probable that your loved one will still be living in denial of their addiction. This guide will address strategies and tactics for addressing those challenges later.