About Family Interventions
Witnessing a loved one struggle with addiction, substance use disorder, or mental illness is one of the most difficult things to experience. Nothing in life prepares us to deal with a loved one who is engaged in these types of harmful behaviors. Unknowingly, family members who live with or are closely connected to someone engaged in harmful activities may accidentally reinforce negative behaviors, which enables the destructive process to continue. A family intervention is vital to help family members heal, learn how to effectively communicate, understand the behaviors, and avoid accidentally enabling the individual. The severity of dealing with someone who has an addiction, substance use disorder problem, or is mentally ill can have a lasting impact on family members.
Recovery from these difficult and strained relationships is possible. A properly planned intervention that is staged by trained professionals is a proven and effective way to encourage your loved one into treatment. We invite you to read through this page, and we will travel anywhere in the U.S. to help you organize and stage an intervention.
Family Intervention Candidates
A family intervention can help any family member who suffers from addiction, substance use disorder, or mental illness. Family interventions are especially helpful for spouses, family members, or adolescents affected by addictions. Often, addiction is known as a family disease because of how it impacts the entire family dynamic. By helping all family members understand how their roles and interactions enable the addict, VIP Recovery can provide guidance on creating new behaviors, healthy communication techniques, and better habits. When a loved one has an addiction problem, family members take on various roles, including:
The Enabler – To protect the family, this person is usually convinced there isn’t a problem. They will deny, make excuses, avoid, assist with finances, or blame other people. Generally, this role is taken on by the spouse, but sometimes, a child may accidentally enable, too.
The Hero – This person engages in perfectionist behaviors to portray the family in a positive light. They want to avoid shame by constantly putting on a positive facade. Typically, this person acts “perfect” or like the hero to conceal his or her feelings of fear, guilt, and shame.
The Jester – This person uses humor to deflect pain and the severity of the issue. They do this to protect themselves and other family members from feeling the painful truth.
The Scapegoat – This person “acts out” by rebelling. They do this to distract themselves from the real problem, which to them, seems to have no solutions. Instead, this member creates problems that have immediate solutions and removes the attention from the addict’s behavior.
The Lost Child – This person is reserved and tries to remain unnoticeable while the other family members play their roles.
The Caretaker – This person wants to make everyone in the family happy and is closest to the addict. Outwardly, they appear happy, but they never mention the addiction, and they tend to make excuses for the behavior, which enables the addict.
Family Intervention Steps
Preplanning for the intervention
One of the most critical parts of an intervention is the planning that goes into it. During this phase, we have several steps we follow. These steps include:
- Gather information about your loved one and answer any questions you may have
- Structure the intervention by determining the intervention model, such as The Johnson Model, The Systemic Model, or The ARISE Model
- Select the location
- Discuss what roles family members play in the addict’s life
- Determine who is involved during the intervention
- Create messages/letters
- Provide education about behaviors and communicating
- Rehearse the intervention
- Plan logistics for after the intervention
For additional information on planning an intervention or intervention model types, please review Planning an Intervention, The Johnson Model, The Systemic Model, and The ARISE Model.
Staging the intervention
After strategizing the intervention, the family members and their loved one will have a detailed discussion about how the behavior is impacting everyone. A VIP Recovery interventionist will lead the intervention to ensure a safe, healthy discussion. Depending on the strategy discussed, everyone will meet for one or multiple sessions. However, once your loved one admits they have a problem, the intervention ends. Please keep in mind that an intervention is never about shaming or yelling at the individual. We know how emotionally charged an intervention is so we work hard to prepare you. In some cases and to help start the healing, we may recommend therapy sessions and group family sessions leading up to and after the intervention.
What Happens Next?
Once your loved one is no longer in denial of their problem, we will safely transport them to a treatment center. We will continue to help your loved one at the treatment center and continue to provide hope, support, and guidance for the family members. Additionally, family members might attend more therapy sessions and group sessions at the treatment center.
It is important to understand that sometimes an intervention doesn’t work. If the individual feels angry or betrayed, they might walk out on the intervention. If this happens and depending on the intervention model type, we will try additional sessions or set strict boundaries that sever ties with the family.
Help Your Family Heal
Please don’t let stigma, anger, shame, or embarrassment prevent you from calling. The first step is always the hardest, especially with a loved one, but it’s vital to help them seek treatment. This will not only help them but also help the family start to heal. Please reach out to us if you know someone engaging in harmful behaviors. Additionally, we will make it easier for you by traveling anywhere in the U.S. to stage a safe and effective intervention.