Denial is a common factor in substance abuse, dual diagnosis and mental health disorders. People with these conditions may fail to recognize the severity of their problem and how it is affecting not only their lives, but the lives of everyone around them. In such cases, a formal intervention can be a powerful tool in persuading someone to agree to get treatment. An intervention is a structured meeting during which family members and other loved ones have an opportunity to express their concern about how the problem is affecting them and share their wish for the individual to take the necessary next step and seek help.
Because it forces a candid discussion about emotionally charged topics, choosing to stage an intervention is never an easy decision. However, recognizing the signs of substance abuse and mental health problems and determining when they have advanced to the point where they require an intervention is the first step. If your loved one’s substance misuse or co-occurring disorder is adversely affecting their life and the lives of people who care about them, consider planning an intervention with a professional specialist who knows how to help mentally unhealthy people break their cycle of denial.
Many loved ones assume they can stage an intervention on their own. However, the primary benefit of having a professional orchestrate the meeting is that the interventionist has no emotional entanglements with the family or the individual. When families attempt to approach the individual alone, the meeting often devolves into disorganization – or worse, the “blame game.” In contrast, structured interventions can help loved ones express their feelings positively.
A professional interventionist is a person who is trained and qualified to facilitate and participate in interventions for substance misuse and mental health disorders. An interventionist’s role is to serve on the front line of the recovery team by guiding loved ones through an intervention process that encourages someone with these problems to seek the help they need.
No, you don’t have to wait for a “breaking point” – in fact, it’s best to stage an intervention sooner, rather than later. As loved ones of someone with an addiction or co-occurring mental health disorder, an intervention can help you regain control, set boundaries that hold the person accountable and help give your loved one the gift of a new life in the process.
Having worked in the treatment industry for more than 30 years, Rich Whitman has been successfully staging interventions and helping people access treatment since 1984. He has coordinated more than 500 interventions in all 50 states – with more than 90 percent of his clients agreeing to pursue treatment – and has helped thousands of family members and friends access treatment for their loved ones. He has shared his expertise on more than 50 episodes of the Dr. Phil show beginning in 2004.