Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Intervention Made Simple.

The very thought of an intervention freaks people out. If you have seen interventions on TV, you probably have seen a lot of screaming and yelling, rabid denial, cursing and name calling, maybe even physical altercations. I watch this stuff and think, if that's the only intervention I'd ever seen, it would scare me half to death. 

It looks like The Exorcist as staged by the Three Stooges.

So let me spend a couple of moments on the all too simple, and extremely important elements that go into a successful intervention:

Everyone involved in the intervention needs to meet, in person, without the person who is the subject of the intervention present.
This is very important because it allows the intervention team to learn how to work together as an effective unit. Active addiction feeds on "divide and conquer" dynamics; the intervention's success or failure depends on the team's cohesiveness.

An outcome must be decided before the intervention.
Many interventions are very powerful and easily move the subject to where they are receptive to help, only to falter because the team has no idea how to access treatment. Consult with a professional or with a friend with some experience in this area who knows how to get your loved one the appropriate help.

Know what you are dealing with.
If you don't have a basic understanding of addiction as an illness, then your intervention is going to be weak. There are many excellent books and videos available. I recommend HBO's series "Addiction", and "Love First" by Jeff and Deborah Jay. Both are filled with information about addiction and its impact on the family.

Using a professional Interventionist.
A good Interventionist acts as a coach to help the team plan and perform the intervention. He or she should be experienced, competent, and able to provide references, such as other intervention families he has worked with, on request. An Interventionist should also be fair and reasonably priced. All services that the Interventionist is going to expect payment for should be clearly spelled out before any money changes hands.

There's more to it, but that's some basics. If you have any questions you can contact me at 484 431 2931, or email me at, or leave a post here.

Good luck!

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