The professional interventionist is one of many members of the intervention programs team. Throughout the intervention process, two specific goals of the interventionist are to educate and provide insight to the family of the substance user and to set the table for the ongoing recovery and support to the family after the intervention.
The desired outcome of the intervention process is that regardless of the substance user’s decision to accept or refuse help, the family will understand how to cope and navigate either outcome with our ongoing support.
The interventionist helps families understand their role in the addiction recovery process, the substance user’s behaviors, and the family’s reaction to those behaviors. An intervention is often believed to be an interventionist acting as a motivational speaker for the substance user to talk them into treatment.
Although there is much communication through motivational interviewing to increase desire and move the substance user through the stages of change, an interventionist’s role is to help build the bridge to the family’s recovery.
When seeking a professional intervention company, please understand there is much more involved than a single interventionist with no support staff coming in to inspire a substance user to go to treatment: the more professionals involved, the greater likelihood of success for everyone.
Many good professional interventionists operate alone. However, the problem that arises is their availability and support to the family after the intervention when the inevitable volatility surfaces between the substance user and family members.
What a Professional Interventionist Should Be Doing from Start to Finish
Please keep in mind while reading each phase that the intervention is a process that requires many professionals. Think of the professional interventionist as a clinical instrument that comes to your home to start the process of the intervention program and curriculum. The first two phases do not involve the professional interventionist, nor does Phase Six.
Our intervention team is involved to ensure the family and the substance user have the most significant opportunities to start a new path of recovery.
Phase One: The Initial Inquiry of the Intervention Process
The intervention process begins with an inquiry into how we can help the loved one abusing drugs or alcohol. During this process, the intervention coordinator seeks to identify each family member’s various roles and behaviors. This will help to identify where each family member is in their willingness to follow through with a formal intervention.
For those family members who so choose, a goal of this phase is to begin a family consultation process. This is when the intervention is explained, and family members can interact and discuss their feelings and thoughts about moving forward with a professional interventionist.
Phase Two: Intervention Scheduling and Assessment
Once the family has committed to the intervention process, the two to three days required are scheduled. An assessment packet utilizing ASAM, DSM-5, and ASI criteria is sent to the family. Clinical staff from the intervention team oversees the assessment data and is consulted to arrange a treatment plan.
The treatment plan is discussed with the family based on assessment data provided by the family. At this time, the intervention team discusses which interventionist best fits the family and the addict or alcoholic.
Another component of Phase Two is the family receiving guidelines for the intervention letters to be written and read to their loved ones. Family members are encouraged to focus on writing their letters before the interventionist arrives. While writing the letter, there should be no worries about whether they are right or wrong. Once the interventionist arrives, they will process the letters with each person who wrote one.
Lastly, It is expected that the family will get last-minute jitters, which is OK. The professional interventionist team should be available to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Phase Three: Interventionist Arrival and Family Education
During this meeting, the interventionist discusses your situation utilizing our addiction intervention manual as a guide. Understanding addiction is beneficial to help a family understand what the substance user is experiencing.
This process aims to help families see the effects of the addiction on their behavior and learn strategies they can utilize to encourage their loved ones to accept help. When families know how this process connects their behaviors to comforting the substance user, it gives them confidence in the boundaries they set for themselves.
Phase Four: The in-Person Intervention with Family Members and the Substance User
Phase Four is where the rubber meets the road.
During this phase, the interventionist takes on the role of facilitator and directs the intervention. The family is brought in when asked to read the letters they have written and reviewed during the family education phase.
At this point, the family should be prepared for the intervention, have decisions made on boundaries, and follow through regardless of their loved one’s decision. This phase can take little time or continue for much of the day, depending on forward momentum. If the interventionist gains ground, the process moves forward until help is accepted.
If the substance user digs their heels in, the intervention team regroups and consults with the family. At this time, the interventionist and family will decide if the substance user should hear the boundaries and consequences they will face by not accepting the help offered.
Phase Five: Acceptance or Refusal of Help
Two outcomes are possible: the loved one either accepts or declines the help.
Regardless of that decision, a professional interventionist should have prepared you for your family’s recovery. If the substance user accepts help, they are escorted to the treatment program that day, most often by the interventionist.
Suppose the substance user declines help, and the family agrees to explain to the loved one their boundaries and consequences. In that case, the interventionist regroups and processes with the family what has happened.
The family must commit to following through with their boundaries, irrespective of the manipulations of the addict or alcoholic. The family should be ready to remind the substance user that any further discussion would be regarding the consequences of not seeking help. The interventionist team should be prepared to assist the family until the substance user agrees to accept their gift.
Phase Six: Continued Support from the Interventionist Team
From the start of the initial call to our office and throughout the intervention process, the family has been made aware of the importance of their own recovery after the intervention.
Phase Six starts the process of our S.A.F.E.™ Family Recovery Coaching program.
Whatever the outcome, the intervention team needs to be available to handle the emotions and the inevitable volatility. If the substance user declines the gift, the family will need to be provided support as to how to address the refusal. If the substance user accepts, the family will need assistance handling their emotional detox and the separation anxiety resulting from the loved one going into treatment.
Taking help and leaving home can cause families to go into a tailspin as they will want and need to react to and communicate with their loved ones. Sometimes, the family must be talked off the ledge from wishing to interfere with their loved one’s treatment.
Hopefully, the family is aware of the complicated role of the interventionist. Understanding the need for a team to support the family through the process can make a difference in the overall results.
An interventionist who operates alone or with a small support staff could be helpful and practical for some phases of an intervention. However, ongoing support is the process’s most time-consuming and crucial part. The family will be relieved to have a team to help them get through it.
A family would hesitate to send their loved one to a treatment center that takes in only a few people. This may be a helpful consideration when choosing your interventionist. Your intervention team is ultimately your family’s temporary treatment team until the family can bridge to their individual recovery resources.
An intervention is not about how to control your loved one with a substance use or mental health disorder; it is about learning how to let go of believing you can.
Intervention Myths and Facts
Let’s address some of the common myths that people have about interventions, and set the record straight. You can also find answers to intervention FAQs here.
A Professional Interventionist Should Have a Goal of Providing Closure for the Family
An intervention can certainly help convince a substance user to accept assistance. Ongoing intervention support can increase the likelihood of continued sobriety within the family’s boundaries. And when effectively and professionally executed, family members should feel better after the intervention than they did previously, regardless of the outcome. Not all outcomes end with the substance user accepting help. Not every addict or alcoholic who accepts help stays in treatment or maintains sobriety from that point forward. Having no direct control over what the substance user is going to do is all the more reason for the family to do everything they can to empower themselves through their own recovery. The only control a family has is control over themselves. A family is most likely never going to be satisfied if their loved one declines help, leaves treatment early, or relapses. An interventionist can help family members understand enough about the addiction and their relation to it so that, should the loved one decline help, the family can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they did all they could.
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