• John Roesch

Choosing the Right Intervention for Your Loved One

For people suffering from addiction, interventions can be a useful tool to jumpstart recovery and get on the road to healthy sobriety. Interventions are usually organized by the family, friends, and loved ones of a person suffering from addiction. Often, an intervention is seen as a last ditch effort to save a loved one from incarceration, institutionalization, or death due to addiction. Interventions are wrought with emotion. During an intervention, both the subject and their loved ones can feel fear, guilt, shame, anxiety, remorse, anger, and even rage. Accusations and finger-pointing often occur, and without proper organization and guidance, families can be torn apart during a poorly planned or unsupervised intervention.

It is critical that interventions be thoughtful and organized, led by a trained and experienced interventionist that understands both addiction and recovery. Enlisting the help of a professional interventionist ensures a healthy emotional environment for both the subject and his or her loved ones. Without proper guidance, interventions can turn into shouting matches or worse, resulting in more harm than good. Trained interventionists keep things calm and focused, steering the conversation away from anger, and towards a positive solution. Interventionists also help with post-intervention logistics and recovery plans, helping make reservations at detox, treatment, and aftercare facilities.

Interventions aren’t just for addiction to drugs and alcohol. There are many forms of intervention geared specifically towards co-occurring disorders, mental health issues like depression and bipolar disorder, non-substance-based addictions like eating disorders, compulsive behavior, sex addiction, gambling addiction, and more. Recovery is not one-size-fits-all, and neither are interventions.

There are more types of interventions than what you’ve seen on TV and each format has its own unique set of benefits to the recipient. Choosing which intervention is right for your loved one depends on a number of factors including the subject’s background, mental health history, history of drug use, legal history, marital status, and more. To learn more about interventions or schedule a family interview, please contact a trained interventionist today.

Confrontation Intervention

Intense “confrontation interventions” are the most widely recognized style of intervention, thanks to the famous and eponymous television show. As illustrated on the show, families and friends have watched their loved one sink deeper and deeper into addiction until, as a last ditch effort, they call in some help in the form of an interventionist. The subject is confronted by their loved ones, led by the interventionist. Each family member is asked to speak in turn, explaining to the subject the ways in which his or her addiction has harmed them.

Early Intervention

Most people seek an intervention once their loved on has reached a low point or “bottom” in their addiction, but interventions can take place long before a critical low point has been reached. Specifically for subjects who haven’t “hit bottom” yet, early interventions take place very soon after a subject’s loved ones have noticed a problem. By intervening early on, the subject is more likely to be open minded about getting help, and the chances of a speedy recovery are improved.

Crisis Intervention

Crisis interventions are one of the most critical types of intervention, in which the subject is confronted and removed from a toxic or harmful environment, often during times of relapse or active use of substances. Crisis interventions can be dangerous, and the subject of a crisis intervention is often escorted straight to a detox or mental health facility. It is crucial that crisis interventions be meticulously planned and carried out by experienced interventionists with the aid of a mental health professional as needed.

Mental Health Intervention

Addiction is often part of a co-occurring disorder, coinciding with mental health issues such as depression or bipolar disorder. For situations in which mental health is a factor, it is critical that interventionists coordinate with mental health professionals to ensure the safest intervention possible. Mental health interventions reduce risk factors by addressing both the mental health needs and addiction recovery needs of the subject.

Motivational Interviewing

One of the least confrontational forms of intervention, motivational interviewing is a respected intervention format among recovery and mental health professionals. In a motivational interview, the subject is invited to a comfortable environment to meet with a recovery professional and talk about his or her addiction. The interviewer and subject discuss a wide variety of topics including the joys and possibilities of sobriety, woes of addiction, mental health issues, skepticism, concern, and family support. This low-pressure intervention format allows the subject to make a choice about his or her future, without the intense confrontation of other intervention formats.


There are many other formats for addiction and mental health interventions, including the Johnson Intervention Method, the invitational model, the field model, the systematic intervention model, and more. To learn more about which addiction or mental health intervention is right for your loved one, contact a recovery professional today.

If your family member or loved one is suffering physical symptoms of withdrawal, or is having a medical or mental health crisis, please call 911

John Roesch for Life Assurance Recovery, 2018

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