How Do I Do An Intervention?

By The Fix staff 07/03/19

Planning an intervention is a daunting task, and finding the right treatment center to care for a loved one who is addicted can seem overwhelming.

a family doing an intervention

The A&E show Intervention brought a topic not widely talked about into the public eye—real addicts falling deeper and deeper into the trap of their abuse, and real families desperately seeking help for the one they love. 

While producers likely edit the show and possibly add some dramatization to make it more compelling, intervention is still often a necessary step for families watching a loved one getting closer and closer to death. 

There are agencies all over the world that provide intervention services. Oftentimes treatment facilities, like Oceanside Malibu in Malibu, California, for example, work with a particular interventionist or agency, and offer family members of future clients a reputable referral. But those kinds of services cost money, and in some cases the price isn’t feasible for those with limited financial resources. Even if insurance will cover the treatment part, the process of getting the person to the facility is still challenging. 

So how does one do an intervention? There are a couple of different avenues to take. Before getting started, it’s important to know what to expect. 

What Exactly Is An Intervention?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the desired result of an intervention is to convince the person abusing drugs and/or alcohol that he or she is on a destructive path. Eventually, if they don't seek proper treatment, they might end up losing their lives. In order for the families to successfully organize an intervention, experts usually recommend they seek guidance from someone who works in the field of addiction, or a medical professional. If getting advice from experts is not an option, there are also several online resources available that can break down how the intervention works and how to prepare. 

During the intervention the loved ones of the individual in danger (which can include family, friends, partners, members of their faith, etc) gather together to confront the person about their behavior and offer solutions.These solutions are usually researched treatment facilities. 

It is important to make sure the person getting the intervention is surrounded by supportive and loving people. Interventions are emotionally charged, and if the person feels ridiculed, bullied or ashamed, it might decrease the likelihood of them agreeing to go to treatment. While doing an intervention without a professional present is perfectly acceptable, it is important to consider how the person struggling with addiction will react to the intervention. If there is any chance of a violent or dangerous reaction where they may injure themselves or others, it is imperative that someone with in depth knowledge of addiction is on hand. 

Once the individual is in the room with their loved ones and the intervention is in motion, it is common for the family members to take turns detailing how the addiction has affected them by citing specific examples. 

The next step is presenting where they can go for treatment, how they will get there and how long the program is. One of the key parts of an intervention is for the family members to set boundaries with the person if he or she decides not to go to treatment. If the loved one refuses the offer, the people staging the intervention detail exactly what they will do. In many cases this means not allowing them to stay at their home any longer, not giving them money for any reason, or cutting ties completely. 

Different Types of Interventions

Though the intended result is the same, there are different ways to go about performing an intervention. The top three are the Johnson Model, the Arise Model, the Systemic Family Model. 

The Arise Model

The Arise Model style of intervention is non-confrontational. Instead of surprising the person with the intervention, it invites them to openly participate. It is a collaborative process in which the addict is made aware of how their actions have affected others and is given the opportunity to work together with their family to receive the proper treatment. 

The Johnson Model

The Johnson Model is probably the most well known style, and is the model used on the show Intervention. Prior to the intervention, family members get together to form a plan and discuss what each person's role will be on the actual day. This usually includes the assistance from a professional who is able to educate the family members on what to expect, and are usually there for the intervention on the actual day. In addition, this type of intervention also often offers help to the family members as well as the person potentially going to treatment. This model is, in a sense, intended to raise rock bottom up to meet people before they do any more damage to themselves. 

The Systemic Family Model

Systemic Family model is implemented where there is more than one person in a family who is struggling with addiction or codependency issues. During this intervention the entire family receives some form of support and treatment. This not only helps rebuild the family connection, but also provides the person grappling with addiction an added motivation knowing that their loved ones are also getting help. 

How to Have a Successful Intervention

The biggest factor that contributes to a successful intervention is extensive planning—knowing what will be said, who will be the point person, where the person struggling will go for treatment, aftercare plans, expecting that they will initially refuse and have a course of action already in place, and asking the person to make their decision right then and there. 

Planning an intervention is a daunting task, and finding the right treatment center to care for a loved one who is addicted can seem overwhelming. Luckily Oceanside Malibu has a lot of experience in this area and is able to not only answer questions about the intervention process, but also help facilitate the actual event. 

Knowing that you are sending a loved one to a safe place that offers comprehensive and caring treatment in a beautiful, peaceful and supportive environment is key. From the serene surroundings, delicious meals, and the knowledgeable and caring staff, Oceanside Malibu can offer their guidance during these crucial steps, and excellent care following the intervention. They are also able to help with dealing with insurance providers and presenting their clients with all the fees upfront. 

For loved ones of an addict, Oceanside Malibu can provide the peace of mind that they so adamantly desire. 

Reach Oceanside Malibu by phone at (866) 738-6550. Find Oceanside Malibu on Facebook and Twitter.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

The Fix staff consists of the editor-in-chief and publisher, a senior editor, an associate editor, an editorial coordinator, and several contributing editors and writers. Articles in Professional Voices, Ask an Expert, and similar sections are written by doctors, psychologists, clinicians, professors and other experts from universities, hospitals, government agencies and elsewhere. For contact and other info, please visit our About Us page.