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How to stage a family intervention

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is a gathering of close friends, family and colleagues who meet to persuade a person to seek help or treatment for a problem. There are many reasons family and friends might consider holding an intervention for a loved one, including drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and/or addictions to substances or behaviors.

What is a Family Intervention?

A specific form of intervention, involving family members of an alcoholic/addict, designed to benefit the patient as well as the family, as a whole.

Why Stage a Family Intervention?

If a close friend or family member is struggling with addiction or dependency, or is facing another problem that is negatively affecting them and the people around them, it can be difficult to figure out how to guide them toward help. It’s especially difficult if that person is reluctant to seek help or doesn’t realize the severity of their problem. Often an intervention is an effective way to persuade loved ones to take the first step toward recovery.

There’s a reason that inventions are so commonly used as the first step to addressing addictions and dependencies. About 90 percent of interventions are successful in getting someone to seek help.

How to Stage a Family Intervention?

Here are 5 Steps to Stage a Family Intervention

1: Involve Close Friends, Family and Colleagues

One of the most important aspects of an intervention is the people involved. In general, there should be at least three people at an intervention, but no more than 10. Most interventions center on the sharing of personal accounts of how the person’s behavior has negatively affected friends, family and colleagues. Therefore, it’s essential to invite those who have a personal relationship with the person, and who are genuinely concerned for his or her well-being. Sharing gives the person concrete examples of why his or her behavior is negative and how it is affecting others.

Don’t include anyone who also participates in the negative behavior or in any way enables it. Most importantly, invite people you trust and whom the person is likely to listen to.

2: Prepare and Rehearse In Advance

Meeting and rehearsing ahead of time can help participants feel calm and prepared for the actual intervention. It gives everyone a chance to share and get feedback on their statements. It’s also a chance to identify and address any charged emotions that could interfere with or harm the intervention process if they came out on the actual day.

3: Choose an Appropriate Time and Location

Choose a time when the person isn’t busy or doesn’t have other commitments. Doing so will minimize distractions and help make sure the person is available at the time you’ve chosen to meet. Selecting an appropriate time of day is important, as well. For instance, a time early in the day is sometimes because that’s when the person is most likely to be sober.

Use a location that is familiar and non-threatening when staging a family intervention. It should be private, as well as somewhere there will be no interruptions or distractions. A neutral site is good, but a home or office can work as well. Avoid holding the family intervention at the person’s home unless absolutely necessary since they will feel more empowered in their own space and it may be more difficult to get them to listen.

4: Don’t be Judgmental or Confrontational

The tone that is set by the way people speak at a family intervention can have a big impact on whether or not the message is heard and acted upon. Being supportive and positive, rather than judgmental and confrontational, can help set a positive tone and make the addict more willing to listen.

Speak in “I” statements instead of “you” statements. “You” statements can sound aggressive and can cause a person to become defensive.

Avoid negative words such as “failed” or “neglected.” Using positive words will help maintain a constructive tone and atmosphere in which the person is more likely to listen to what you have to say

5: Stay Focused On the Goal

A major part of the process of organizing a family intervention is agreeing on a goal. Know what actions you want the person to take. Do you want the person to seek help or attend rehab? Do you want them to see a counselor or join a self-help group? Make sure you have an end-goal in mind, around which the entire intervention will be structured. At the end of the family intervention, you’ll need the person to make an immediate decision as to whether or not to accept treatment. To do this, the person will need to be presented with the agreed upon course of action — the goal.


 If you or a family member is in need of treatment for alcohol or drug addiction, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.








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