The Role of Intervention - The Palm Beach Institute
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The Role of Intervention

An intervention can be defined as a carefully planned process in which family members, relatives, friends and other support systems related to the family unit gather together to confront a person regarding the consequences of their addiction and ask that person to accept treatment.  An intervention needs to be both formal and focused in terms of approach and involves careful planning before the actual intervention event takes place.  Not only does the group confront the addicted person about the consequences of their abuse on the family system, it offers a pre-arranged treatment plan with clear goals and structure.  An intervention also spells out what loved ones would do in the event that the addicted family member does not accept treatment.

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In general, a typical intervention involves careful pre-planning before the actual meeting takes place.  Initially, a family member or friends forms a planning group.  It is ideal that a trained professional who specializes in interventions be consulted and part of the team.  Due to the potential volatility that the intervention may bring, a trained professional can guide the planning group to the best possible routes to take as well as outcomes.  In this planning group, they gather information regarding the extent of the loved one’s addiction and research the condition and possible treatment options.

After information gathering, the planning group then forms the formal intervention team that will be active participants in the intervention.  A date and location will be set and the team will work together in order to formulate and rehearse a consistent message and treatment plan.  In the event that the loved one refused the treatment option that is offered during the intervention, each of the active participants in the intervention must decide on consequence that he and she will take.

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Each active participant in the intervention will also need to write down those specific incidents where the loved one’s addiction has caused them and/or the family problems, including emotional and financial problems.  The extent to which these problems have affected the family dynamic must also be written down and expressed during the intervention meeting.  While it is important to express the extent of the behavior, each individual needs to also express care and support.

Once it is time for the intervention meeting itself, the loved one will be summoned to the designated meeting area without the real intention of that meeting being revealed.  Members of the core intervention team take turns in expressing their concerns and feelings to the loved one.  After those feelings and concerns are shared, the loved one will be presented with the offer for the treatment plan that was agreed upon by the group.  If the loved one refuses the offer, the consequences of that decision will be expressed to that loved one.

It is crucial that not only is the intervention well thought out and planned, but there should also be active involvement from a trained professional.  A trained professional is crucial in the planning stages, especially if the loved one has a history of mental illness or violence, or may be under the influence of several substances.

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