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What Goes on Inside an Intervention?

What Goes on Inside an Intervention?Interventions have become a household word for the general public, thanks to television shows such as “Celebrity Rehab” and “Intervention.” Although an intervention is not necessary in every situation, some situations benefit greatly from one. Every situation is different, but most interventions do follow a similar structure.

An intervention is a planned event where friends and family members face an addict about his or her problems. An intervention is carefully planned and provides a forum for family members and loved ones to confront the problem and express their concerns, in the hope that a person will enter treatment.

Although it is most commonly used for those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, an intervention can also be used for other behavior problems.

Anyone can plan an intervention, but there are professional interventionists who assist family members and loved ones in the process. One of the important elements of planning an intervention is deciding who should attend. An intervention does not need to be large. An ideal number is between five and eight people.

Close friends, family members, co-workers, clergymen, and other people involved in an addict’s life can be part of an intervention. However, the important element of an intervention is that it remains as calm as possible.

Therefore, anyone who struggles with anger problems, or who also struggles with an addiction problem, should not be invited. It is important to plan what everyone says carefully, as well as plan the event’s exact schedule.

An intervention is about confronting a person about his or her problems while showing support, not criticizing the person. It is important not to make it seem like a betrayal. Therefore, it should focus on specific examples of actions that caused problems for the addicted person or loved one.

An intervention should also have a prearranged treatment plan in place that the person will enter immediately after the intervention ends. Each person also will share specific consequences that will happen if the person refuses to enter treatment.

There are several types of interventions that can be undertaken, but the most common type is a surprise intervention. The friends and family carefully prepare what to say ahead of time and bring the person to the event on a particular date and time.

Each person involved in the intervention reads a specific statement created ahead of time that spells out his or her concerns about a person’s behavior, citing specific examples of problematic behavior or consequences. Each person will also detail a specific consequence if the person does not enter treatment, such as the person not being able to live at home or see his or her children.

At the end of everyone’s statements, the person will be given a treatment plan. He or she can choose either to enter treatment right away or not. However, if he or she does not, then the people in the intervention will follow through with the consequences. There are also interventions that involve family counseling that help to stop the enabling process.

Interventions can get emotional, which is why it is very important to plan and practice ahead of time and only say what is written. Having a professional interventionist mediate the experience can also keep emotions in check.

Interventions are not always successful at getting a person into treatment. However, they stop the enabling system and provide help and support for the victims of the addiction, namely partners, spouses, and children.

What Goes on Inside an Intervention?

John Lloyd

John Lloyd is a certified addiction specialist, interventionist, and certified in anger management and domestic violence intervention. John has worked in the drug and alcohol treatment field for over eleven years and is in long term recovery himself, currently working as an interventionist at Serenity Malibu .

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APA Reference
Lloyd, J. (2018). What Goes on Inside an Intervention?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 3 Aug 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.