Q&A on Interventions

People struggling with addiction frequently notice negative consequences of their substance use or other addictive habits, but their addiction will not allow them to stop using on their own. Whether it involves the use of substances like alcohol and drugs or other destructive behaviors, addiction is a complicated disease that changes brain function and behavior. Fortunately, it can be treated. Although addiction is complex and every situation is different, professional treatment can be tailored for each individual’s case.

Many people are unfortunately not able to find the motivation and courage to reach out for help while still being driven by their addiction. Some will need to be convinced of their need to seek treatment.

What Is an Intervention?

Often, individuals struggling with addiction need an intervention to help them acknowledge their situation and accept help. An intervention is a structured clinical process designed to motivate individuals to accept treatment to bring about the change they need to live a healthy life.

An intervention can facilitate treatment entry for those who are unable to seek it themselves. Although everyone who recovers from addiction will at some point need to take ownership of their healing, many people find the motivation and accountability through working with professionals in treatment. Many are unable to seek change for themselves before a medically supervised detox, therapy, and other evidence-based treatments.

Can I Conduct an Intervention Without a Professional?

Bringing someone’s addictive behavior to their awareness will not always result in them seeking treatment immediately. The influences from concerned family members and friends are deeply affecting and frequently result in people seeking treatment a little later. At A New Hope Recovery, we measure success in two separate ways:

  1. Get the IP to treatment at the appropriate level of care as quickly and safely as possible 
  2. Facilitate structural change within the family system

The addicted individual is not the only one who may struggle to handle an intervention calmly; addiction affects family members in many different and unhelpful ways. They may be reactive after having been hurt by their loved one’s addiction. They may find themselves saying things about addiction that are not supported by the research and that add confusion to an already complicated situation.

While individuals can attempt an intervention on their own, a professional interventionist can help them plan an intervention that is more likely to be respectful and effective. A professional interventionist should take into account a loved one’s unique circumstances, help them find the best approach prior to the intervention, and guide loved ones into the best treatment plan available. 

What Should I Consider When Seeking an Interventionist?

There are many things to consider when looking for an interventionalist. For example:

Qualifications and Experience

A professional interventionalist should have more than a one-time certification. Ideally, they should be licensed in psychotherapy or fully accredited in a related field of expertise. They also need to demonstrate experience conducting successful interventions.

Addictions Treated

Individuals should make sure the interventionist they are considering can help their loved one find treatment for their specific addiction and mental health conditions. They should be able to provide families with multiple options for treatment centers that have experience in treating their particular addiction or dual diagnosis.

Intervention Model Approach

An effective interventionist should utilize evidence-based motivational techniques combined with a family-systems-oriented approach aimed at healing the entire family.

Transparent Costs

Unfortunately, interventions are not covered by health insurance providers. Therefore, during an initial phone consultation, it is important that individuals ask about intervention costs to make sure their families can cover them.

What Is a Family-Systems Approach?

A family system is a complex social-emotional organization in which people’s interactions or behaviors affect one another. It can consist of close family members, friends, and other people in a person’s household or the broader community.

According to a family-systems perspective, an individual’s psychological functioning is determined by the place in the family system they find themselves. Factors that can influence this include:

  • Role expectations
  • Boundary and hierarchy issues
  • Loyal conflicts
  • Competing and emotional demands
  • Family culture and belief system 
  • Projective identifications 
  • Systematic anxiety

Why Is a Family-Systems Approach Necessary?

A family-systems perspective can bring light to important aspects of addiction. Addiction sometimes stems from generational trauma, and it can cause trauma too. After all, addiction affects not only the impaired individual but also family members and friends.

A family member who is actively abusing drugs or alcohol typically exhibits poor function and irresponsible behavior. This impacts other family members’ behavior. In response, family members frequently exhibit increased control and excessive responsibility. 

When an individual in a family system is struggling with addiction, every member of the family is impacted. As each family member changes, whether positive or negative, the equilibrium or balance of the system changes. These modifications typically take place gradually, and they can be unconscious or deliberate.

To help an individual struggling with addiction, the entire family needs to receive the proper counseling and guidance to change and break the cycle.

What Happens if Intervention Doesn’t Work?

Individuals struggling with addiction often initially deny their need for treatment. A structured, respectful intervention may be necessary to help them acknowledge their situation.

Bringing someone’s addictive behavior to their awareness will not always result in them seeking treatment immediately. Even if an intervention “fails,” the influence from concerned family members and friends is deeply affecting and frequently results in people seeking treatment a little later.

Addiction is a complicated disease that should be handled alone. An intervention can bring about the motivational change your loved one needs to live a healthy life, free of addiction. While one may consider conducting an intervention alone, family members and friends are often too emotionally invested in the situation to be able to provide effective solutions. A professional interventionist can help you plan a structured clinical process to facilitate entry to treatment for a loved one struggling with addiction. There are several important factors to consider when seeking the right interventionist for your family. This can include qualifications and experience, addictions treated, intervention approaches, and transparent costs. Addiction is considered a family disease, and family involvement in treatment is necessary. A family-systems approach aims at healing the entire family together. For more information on interventions, contact A New Hope Recovery at (407) 501-8490.