HOW TO DO A SUCCESSFUL INTERVENTION
Successful interventions are the often the first step in providing treatment to a loved one who is unable to voluntarily seek help for his or her addiction. It is important to know what emotions to expect and how to effectively respond to them.
- The most common emotion experienced by the patient is anxiety.
- The sense of anxiety is often overwhelming for the patient.
- The patient will often express anxiety as denial.
Anxiety is a state of excessive fear and nervousness about an unknown outcome or event. Anxiety can be expressed with a range of behavior including aggression, crying, insulting others, shifting blame, threats, and denial. It is important to keep in mind that the patient may be experiencing heightened arousal from the effects of drug use or early withdrawal symptoms; an intervention is often perceived as a moment of crisis.
Although displays of anxiety and denial can be unpleasant, they are an expected reaction to the intervention process. The group’s response to the patient’s crisis is the most important part of the intervention and often determines its outcome. The group’s response should follow many crisis intervention techniques, including:
- Empathic listening; focused on the emotion expressed by the patient more than the words.
- Repeating any concerns or statements back to the patient, calmly, to show your attention is focused.
- Be conscious of your tone, cadence (rhythm of speech), and volume of speech; try to keep the tone non-accusatory and non-judgmental, the cadence calm and steady, and the volume loud enough to hear, but refrain from shouting over the patient.
- Avoid power struggles and unrelated topics or issues
- Remain focused on presenting the group’s concern, support, and commitment to enforcing realistic consequences if the patient refuses treatment
It is often difficult for families and loved ones to avoid power struggles, revisiting past offenses, hurt feelings and the patient’s own reaction to intervention efforts. For this reason, it is best to have the assistance of a trained interventionist. Interventionists help plan, facilitate and mediate the intervention process, thereby increasing the chances of a positive outcome and voluntary admission to detox and treatment.
NewportOne Treatment Center has a highly trained staff of interventionists, specialized in working with families and loved ones to plan an intervention that is not only effective, but also supportive and meaningful to the patient.
Intervention services at Newport One Treatment center begin with a preliminary meeting between the intervention specialists and the intervention team made up of the family and loved ones involved in the planned intervention. During the preliminary meeting, the intervention goal and the potential challenges or concerns in reaching that goal, are discussed. Our intervention specialists will work with each member of the group in preparing letters or notes for the intervention service. Personal letters are encouraged because they help keep the intervention focused, even during crisis moments; the letters also provide an opportunity to express how the patient’s addiction has negatively affected his or her life, other lives, and the consequences of continued use. When properly facilitated, this part of the intervention can be very therapeutic to the patient and each member of the intervention group. After an intervention plan is agreed upon, rehearsed and each member is comfortable, the date of the intervention is set. Our specialists will also assist you in creating an intervention environment that is comfortable and receptive.
On the day of the intervention, the specialist will meet with the intervention group and address any last minute questions or concerns. During the intervention, our intervention specialists will help you and your loved ones navigate through communication barriers and breakdowns. They will help mediate as needed. Finally, the specialist will present information on the offered treatment, including its options, benefits, and immediate availability. The positive outcome of a successful intervention will mean one an additional service by the intervention specialist: accompanying your loved one on the first few steps to treatment and an empowering journey to a new, healthy and sober, life journey.