How the Intervention Process Works

When a loved one struggles with addiction, it’s hard to stand back and watch them self-destruct.  But, most people don’t know how to help or are afraid of making things worse.  They’ve heard about interventions but don’t understand or trust the process.  So, the first step in helping a loved one is to learn more about the intervention process.  

Staging an intervention for someone addicted to drugs or alcohol can be a delicate and risky endeavor.  Careful planning is necessary to ensure that the process doesn’t produce unintended consequences.  In most cases, it’s best to consult with or hire a professional interventionist who is skilled at resolving emotional or physical outbursts that may arise.  

What Are the First Steps in Planning an Intervention?

When considering an intervention, many factors must be addressed before setting the date and time.  The purpose of an intervention is to convince the individual to get into treatment. To accomplish that goal, it’s important to know what to expect before, during, and after the process to ensure the best outcome.

Planning an intervention will typically include the following initial steps:

  1. A phone consultation with an interventionist to assess your loved one’s situation.  
  2. Information is collected about the person’s addiction history and any behavioral health issues to determine the right treatment program.  
  3. A treatment facility is chosen, and all administrative details are processed so the individual can enter treatment immediately after the intervention.
  4. The interventionist meets with the family without the individual present to discuss the process.  
  5. The intervention takes place, and if the individual agrees to treatment, the interventionist can travel with them to the prearranged treatment facility.

You want to be sure you’re doing the right thing for your loved one.  So, here are the answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about the intervention process.

FAQs About the Intervention Process

Q:  What is an intervention?

A:  An intervention is a gathering of concerned family members and friends and a professional interventionist.  The goal is to help a person recognize how their addiction is affecting those around him.  It is a non-confrontational approach to help convince the person to enter addiction treatment.  A Family Systemic Intervention is an evidence-based approach that looks at various family dynamics and how they may have contributed to substance use.  These elements can include dysfunctional roles or communication patterns in the family that must be addressed.  

Q:  How do you arrange an intervention?

A:  You’ll contact an interventionist and determine whether an intervention is needed.  If rehab is necessary, plans are made with the chosen facility so your loved one can enter treatment immediately after the intervention. 

Q:  How do you plan an intervention?

A:  The interventionist will contact everyone who will take part in the process and develop a plan.  Everyone must avoid confrontational or judgemental statements during the intervention.  Participants should be prepared to discuss how the addiction has impacted their lives.  Also, participants must act as a team and be firm in their commitment to helping the individual.  

Q:  What happens on intervention day?

A:  It’s not unusual for the individual to deny, argue, yell, or scream during the intervention.  However, the interventionist is trained to handle any conflicts that arise.  The goal is to get the person to break through the wall of denial and acknowledge that help is needed.  Participants resist using accusatory or threatening language or behavior.  Once the person agrees to enter treatment, they can be escorted to the rehab facility by the interventionist.

Q:  When should you hold an intervention?

A:  It’s hard to know the best time for an intervention.  Do you wait until the person hits rock bottom?  Should you wait until he or she finishes college or is arrested for DUI or is in the ER with an overdose?  There’s no end to the list of reasons for putting off the intervention.  

The best time to do an intervention is when you first recognize that it might be necessary.  It’s easy to find excuses to put it off, but here are some reasons why you should act now:

  • Addiction only gets worse over time.  
  • The individual may lose their job, home, and family if the addiction continues.
  • Depending on the drug involved, fatal overdose is likely.
  • Think about the negative effects the addiction is having on the person’s children or other family members.

People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are expert manipulators.  Also, some individuals become argumentative or hostile when confronted about their substance use.  So, it’s understandable if you feel that you can’t approach them about the addiction. 

It’s vital to approach the individual without victimizing or criticizing them personally.  It’s also crucial that the intervention be handled in a structured, non-threatening setting while the individual is sober, if possible. If you involve a professional interventionist, these issues are addressed in a respectful, compassionate manner.

How to Assess Your Loved One’s Substance Use

To help you determine whether a loved one needs an intervention, ask these questions:

  1. Does your loved one use addictive substances in large amounts or over long periods more than they intended?
  2. Have all attempts to cut back but been unsuccessful?
  3. Does your loved one spend a lot of time using the substance, recovering, and seeking more?
  4. Does he or she have uncontrollable cravings for the substance?
  5. Is substance abuse negatively impacting their daily obligations?
  6. Has your loved one lost interest in activities they once enjoyed?
  7. Does your loved one drive or engage in other hazardous activities while intoxicated?
  8. Has the substance use interfered with their relationships?
  9. Does your loved one continue using the substance despite knowing the adverse effects on their mental or physical health?
  10. Has your loved one experienced uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms?
  11. Does your loved one consume larger doses of the substance to get the desired effects?

Your loved one may be unaware of the effect their substance use is having on their own life or the lives of those around them.  An intervention can help them realize that their behavior is affecting others.  The end result could be that they agree to seek treatment as a way to stop hurting their loved ones.

According to experts, professionally led interventions are more successful.  So, if you are considering an intervention for a loved one, don’t attempt it alone.

Let Design for Change Help with Your Intervention Process

At Design for Change Recovery, we offer intervention services to help families decide on a constructive approach for convincing a loved one to seek treatment.  Our certified interventionists work with families to plan each step of the process to ensure the best outcome.  

After completing the intervention process, your loved one can begin their recovery in our comprehensive addiction treatment program.  We combine various activities, classes, and therapies that help clients gain the skills and confidence to maintain sobriety.

Through each step of recovery, from intervention to graduation, our clients receive the compassion, support, and respect they need during this sensitive time.  Our program consists of cutting-edge alternative therapies and holistic approaches to give each client the level of care they deserve.

To plan an intervention for your loved one, contact us at our Lancaster, California facility today.  One of our intervention specialists will evaluate your situation and recommend a plan for your loved one’s unique needs.  The fact that you are considering an intervention proves that you have a genuine desire to help your loved one.  We’d like to help you achieve that goal.

Don't delay another second when help is so close.


Contact an Advisor or Call (855) 997-1372