Tips on How to Stage an Intervention


Confronting a loved one with an addiction can be a stressful experience for everyone, but it is sometimes the best or only way to convince someone to seek treatment. Even if you have made the decision to intervene, however, you might not know how to perform an intervention for best results.

Before you begin planning the intervention, you should make sure the person you're intervening with will benefit from it. Anyone with an addiction or addictive behavior who is also in denial or is unwilling to accept treatment may be a good candidate for an intervention. It is also important to perform the intervention before things have gotten too bad; if the person knows they need help but does not know where to go to get it, an intervention is not the best way you can help.

The process of executing an intervention can be broken into the following seven general phases:

1. Begin planning and form a group. A family member or friend should call together all those who could help the intervention be more successful.

2. Gather information. The group should research the particular addiction or behavior and possible treatment options.

3. Form the intervention team. These are the people who will actually be present at the intervention. They set a date and place for the event, as well as establish an agreed-upon message and treatment proposal.

4. Decide on consequences. Each person should be prepared to tell the subject of the intervention exactly what steps they will take if the person refuses treatment.

5. Write down details. Each person should come with a list of specific incidents where they were affected by the subject’s addiction. You will use these to illustrate the toll the subject’s behavior has had on your life.

6. Hold the intervention meeting itself. Invite the subject to the intervention location without telling them why. Each member of the team should take turns sharing their concerns, backed up with the previously prepared examples. Present the agreed-upon treatment option and ask the person to accept treatment on the spot. If they refuse, share with them the exact steps each person on the team will take if they don’t accept treatment.

7. Follow up during treatment. One or several other loved ones should be involved to help the subject through treatment and avoid relapse. This stage also involves being aware of how to handle relapse.

Finally, if you are having trouble figuring out exactly how to perform an invention, or you think your loved one will need more help, you might want to bring in a professional interventionist. These individuals have specialized training to deal with the strong emotions that are present at an intervention. It is also a good idea to call in a professional if you suspect the subject of the intervention might react violently or self-destructively.

Remember that an intervention is your chance to show your loved one that you care enough to see them get help. It can be uncomfortable for everyone, but it is often the best thing that can happen to a person facing an addiction.

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