The presence of the interventionist is extremely helpful beginning with the commencement of the process. Friends and family members need education themselves, both on addiction and the process of intervention. All of those involved in an intervention need to be on the same page for it to succeed, and this requires extensive planning prior to the actual event. Planning and practice are crucial parts of the intervention, and this is a time when the interventionist can provide a wealth of information and guidance. Oftentimes, the intervention team will rehearse the actual event, ensuring that everyone feels comfortable with how things will proceed. The interventionist facilitates this process and also takes charge on running the actual intervention.
Emotions are often heightened when the time for the intervention arrives, for both the addicted person and their family and friends. Having an interventionist present can keep the intervention on track and emotions in check. Without a strong leader, it’s easy for the event to get derailed as emotions erupt.
During the planning process, the interventionist may have each team member write a letter to their loved one, outlining how the addiction has affected them. The interventionist will assist family and friends in crafting these letters, helping to make their message clear in a loving, supportive manner. The letters may include a statement of how things will change in the future if the person doesn’t agree to get help. This may involve withdrawal of financial support, lodging, or other items. Essentially, the person will begin to experience consequences if they don’t take action to address their addictive behavior.
There are various different types of interventions, and interventionists generally specialize in one type. Common intervention models include the Johnson Model, the ARISE intervention model, the crisis intervention, and the Family Systemic Model.
The Johnson Model is the most traditional type of intervention, which involves the intervention team planning in advance and then surprising the individual with the event.
With the ARISE model, the entire family (including the person struggling with addiction) is included in the planning process. The same is true for the Family Systemic Model; the entire family is involved from the beginning, and meetings are open forums to discuss the issue at hand. In this model, the goal is to improve communication between the family and foster strong relationships in addition to getting the person in need to seek addiction treatment.
Crisis interventions take place when there is an emergency situation, such as a person has overdosed on their substance of abuse. Due to their emergency nature, extensive planning isn’t part of this model. Often, family members join with doctors to stage this intervention in the event of a crisis.
The Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) offers board certification for professional interventionists, and the organization can connect families in need with interventionists in their area. Members of AIS are professional interventionists who have received proper education and performed up to required standards of the field.
Individual treatment centers can also help loved ones to find an interventionist who will suit their specific needs, working from a list of recommended interventionists. Oftentimes, treatment centers work with particular interventionists, and these professionals then escort the person to treatment at their center following the intervention.
In some instances, loved ones can find recommended interventionists via peer support groups. There are various support groups dedicated to helping families of addicts, and people in these groups may have experience working with particular interventionists they can recommend.
Families may need to find an interventionist who specializes in a particular area. For example, if their loved one has a history of violence or suicidal tendencies, it’s important to find an interventionist who has experience in these areas. Other interventionists may specialize in those suffering from co-occurring disorders, such as addiction and another mental health disorder.
Staging an intervention is often an initial recommended course of action for family members and friends when they are concerned about a loved one. While this is just the first step on a long road to sustained recovery, it is often an essential step. To best help their loved one, members of the intervention team should be prepared to offer ongoing support and guidance throughout the entire recovery process.