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3 Tips for Staging an Intervention

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Most people have seen an intervention in a movie or TV show.  These fictional events are often depicted as having a lot of drama, yelling, and tears. While that may be what you experience if you choose to stage an intervention for a loved one, it’s still worth pursuing. However, if you follow the three tips below, it’s more likely to be a smooth process that convinces them to seek help.

The Mayo Clinic has some great advice on how to organize a successful intervention, despite resistance. Some of their tips include:

  • Plan the event thoroughly
  • Perform a rehearsal,
  • Focus on compassion and avoid confrontation
  • Do not give your loved ones time to think about their decision.

Here are some more crucial recommendations for those family members that are contemplating hosting an intervention for a loved one.

TIP 1: Get the Help of a Professional Interventionist

A professional interventionist can be an invaluable asset during an intervention. Interventionists are trained to organize the intervention process, suggest resources, and facilitate the proceedings emotionally charged time.

Interventionists will have a playbook for some of the most common objections that substance-addicted individuals will have to accept treatment. A trained professional will have thought through all the necessary details including arranging for an escort to treatment for the recovering person.

Tip 2: Do Your Preparation

U.S. News and World Report emphasize the importance of going into an intervention prepared. You can’t let emotions lead the way on this; you must stay focused on the goal, and that goal is to educate your loved ones and convince them to get the help they need. Go armed with facts so you don’t add misinformation to the mix.

The interventionist will likely have you prepare a written statement to read during the intervention. Having the statement written out helps avoid confusion and emotions that may dilute the sincerity of your appeal to reason.

Some other ways to make sure you stay focused on the task at hand include: obtain research from reputable sources, consulting a doctor or other expert for advice, and taking notes to use during the event.

It’s also important to have a plan in place to immediately transport the recovering individual to a treatment center. As mentioned above, you do not want to give a window of time to the recovering person during which they may change their mind about accepting the help you are offering.

Tip 3: Expect Resistance

Denial is very common during interventions. Many drug users (especially alcoholics) are functional, paving the way for them to deny the need for treatment and justify their behavior. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that it’s all too common for addicts to deny they have a problem.

There are actually reasons related to brain chemistry that cause a substance-addicted individual to deny they have a problem and resist changing.  The person who is physically and mentally addicted to a drug will subconsciously equate that substance with survival. When their loved ones confront them about it and want to remove the drug of choice, it actually feels like a threat to their well-being. So, you can imagine how vehement the denial may be.

About the Author

Scott H. Silverman has been facilitating interventions in San Diego for many years.  He is the CEO of Confidential Recovery, an outpatient addiction treatment program in San Diego.