Interventions: Definition, Types, and Getting Treatment for Your Loved One

Intervention may immediately bring to mind a picture of family members in a circle, talking about the issues of a person so they can begin getting the help they need. While this classic trope from movies and TV is true enough, a real intervention goes deeper than that.

The definition of intervention: noun – the action or process of intervening

-Oxford Definitions

An intervention serves as a means to help someone realize that their loved ones and friends are concerned something is jeopardizing their happiness. Hoping they understand that they need help, they can choose professional treatment that allows them to recover from whatever issue they’re facing or acknowledge the truth is out in the open, there are people who love them and boundaries are discussed so help is available if they ever choose to seek help.

In the political arena, a government intervention or military intervention is set into place to protect a state, country or set foreign policy. In the medical community, when treating disease, timely intervention to relieve pain, especially the spine and surrounding anatomy, connective tissues, and other body structures is pertinent before providing treatment.

In this article, La Hacienda Treatment Center is going to focus on interventions for alcoholism and substance abuse. Treating substance use disorders involves various steps, and an intervention is considered the first and often most important stage if someone is in denial. How does an intervention work? What are the styles of intervention? How can addiction treatment centers like La Hacienda help?

Here’s what you need to know.

Early Intervention | La Hacienda

What Is an Intervention?

People with alcohol or substance abuse problems don’t recognize that there’s something wrong with their habits. Often, they do not perceive their frequent use as something problematic, so they’re more likely to continue abusing these harmful substances and refuse to seek help. These attitudes continue the cycle, which leads to dependence on the drug.

The point of an intervention is to raise awareness. An intervention is meant to help someone recognize their behavior and create an action plan that will help them face what is happening and undergo a natural healing process.

Thanks to pop culture, intervention is often shown as a group of people meeting with the intent to talk to and help an individual with substance abuse problems. However, an intervention is not a singular event. An intervention is a focused plan that involves lots of behind-the-scenes planning, consultations and discussions with interventionists and the participants.


Interventions may involve professionals who can facilitate the specific points along side family and friends. The term interventionist is a trained professional who does not have bias to the original party, but instead to the goal of assisting all who need to recognize the effects of what is happening, guiding all individuals to get the help needed.

Working with an interventionist can help diffuse the cycles of anger and shame within family systems, so the family can look at the problem from a wide angle view and not just focus on an identified patient. With the guidance of interventionists, the act of intervening is more structured and often leads to better results.

There are models of intervention that can be done without an interventionist. Debra and Jeff Jay developed the model “Love First” and have a book by the same title.

One thing to remember is that intervention is not therapy. Intervention is simply a way to offer a troubled individual help.

Treating Disease Symptoms | La Hacienda

The Purpose of Intervention

Intervention has three goals. The practice is meant to raise awareness, motivate the individual, and create an action plan that will help them get the treatments and medical procedures they need.

Raising Awareness

Alcoholism and substance abuse disorders are progressive issues that often come with denial and delusion. When left to their own devices, an individual will continue down a road where they become heavily dependent on the substance. In the wake of their path, are strained or failed relationships, an unhealthy body, and many other negative effects that will continue to get worse.

An intervention is an option to open someone’s eyes to what they’re doing and the effects of addictive substances on their behavior. In general, early intervention can address problematic behavior. However, intervention can be done at any moment as the need arises. Loved ones shouldn’t have to wait for someone to hit “rock bottom” before they can offer help. Timely intervention is key.

Motivating the Individual

Once the system of denial is finally broken, families often feel like they’re in the middle of a crisis. At this stage, the intervention participants provide the support and motivation that the each person needs. Offering love, support, and guidance can give someone true hope and strength to fight for themselves and relieve illness to fully recover.

Many family systems agree the interventionist is best to take charge to prevent confrontational behavior from arising. Reminding all involved that one individual is not the problem it is the disorder they’re combating.

Creating an Action Plan

The last goal of an intervention is determining where to go after a successful session. Once an individual agrees to get help or treatment, there should be a plan that outlines what they need to do and how they’re going to do it.

Typically, the action of an intervention has been discussed and already set before the intervention session. No one knows when the right time will occur and who will ask for help.

This outline will include:

  • Treatment-based programs the individual can enroll in
  • Services — especially medical procedures like dental treatment and mental health therapies — that can help them recover from the mental and physical effects of substance abuse
  • Facilities where they’ll stay as disease symptoms arise and to recover from drug addiction, alcoholism, dual diagnosis, mental illness, detoxification, etc
  • What action family members can do to support the their family as they embark on this journey
Intervention Types | La Hacienda

Types of Intervention

Effective interventions have a common theme of being structured. There are participants and interventionists who each have distinct roles to play. The only major difference among each type is the relationship of the participants to the troubled individual. Here are the three common kinds of interventions.

Family Intervention

A family intervention — as the name implies — has participants that are closely or directly related to the person with substance abuse disorder. These people usually feel angry, sad, frustrated, and even scared for their troubled family member. Participants may include parents, siblings, and other relatives who’ve witnessed the extent of the person’s behavior. They may also have been on the receiving end of the troubled individual’s problematic habits, which have led to strained relationships, animosity, and even estrangement.

The family intervention process needs to be more than just a means to help the troubled individual get help. This type also involves unifying the whole family and letting them understand the nature of the disorder and improve their attitudes toward the troubled individual. The strategy and action plans also involve creating healthy family dynamics, determining enabling behavior, and setting boundaries.

Thanks to these other goals, family intervention demands carefully structured training and preparation before the actual intervention session. Setting aside time to achieve the goals mentioned above will not only help the individual; the practice also helps families adjust to reality, come together as a united group, and start their own healing process.

Executive Intervention

Disease symptoms arise in any setting, even in professional situations like the workplace. Someone with a substance abuse disorder can be constantly late at work, have decreased productivity, and commit expensive mistakes that cost the company. These sudden behavioral changes can be signs that an employee has some form of alcohol or drug problem.

For most employers, simply firing the troubled worker is the best way forward. However, empathy can go a long way. Helping these employees can also allow companies to retain top talent. Executive intervention is the ideal approach in this unique situation.

Alcohol and drug abuse interventions done in professional or business environments need to be structured, much like family and adolescent intervention. However, there should be a layer of professionalism during the session. Since the participants could include co-workers, bosses, and other people in the company, executive intervention also needs to be highly confidential for the safety and confidence of the troubled employee.

How Is Intervention Structured?

A structured intervention is recommended when it comes to helping troubled individuals begin their path to recovery. Here’s the methodology commonly used.

  1. Initial Assessment: The concerned family members or co-workers meet with an interventionist to discuss the situation and facts about the person with alcohol or substance abuse disorder. During this stage, the interventionist determines if intervention is the best approach for the situation and if there are other services the family may need.
  2. Lecture/Class Series: During these sessions, the family, friends, or co-workers will learn about substance addiction as a disease and what they might be doing that’s contributing to the troubled person’s issues. The participants can also talk about habits and patterns that may have contributed to sheltering the individual from getting help. During the last class, the participants can set the date and practice their roles for the actual intervention.
  3. Intervention Session: The concerned participants and the interventionist meet with the troubled loved one and discuss what they’ve been planning the past few sessions. The goal is to tell the person about their illness, what they can do to recover, and what kind of help their loved ones can offer.
  4. Follow-up: During the follow-up session, the interventionist can discuss the events and assure the participants that they’ve acted in the troubled individual’s best interests. During the meeting, the participants can also process their feelings about the intervention and resolve a few things that might have opened up because of the discussions.
After An Intervention | La Hacienda

What Comes After an Intervention?

In the best case scenario, the person with substance abuse disorder will finally accept that they have a problem and are willing to start restoring health and get medical care. What happens then?

  • Medical Detoxification: A detox is required if withdrawal symptoms are a possibility. A detox facility monitors a persons vital signs, sleep habits, and has around the clock nursing. Having a doctor onsite 7 days a week like La Hacienda offers eases a patient’s mind. To help relieve illness and any pain the person may be experiencing, all under medical supervision is important. In a detox, healthcare providers will also help the patient manage withdrawal symptoms.
  • In-patient Rehabilitation Program: An in-patient rehab program involves training patients to go about their daily lives without access to controlled substances. Thr patients at La Hacienda have access to our 40 acre campus and participate in thrapy groups, individual counseling and a daily regimen that involves physical, mental, and emotional exercises.
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation Program: Those who are enrolled in an intensive outpatient program can participate in activities like therapy and group sessions, but they can have a job and live in a sober living or at home. The treatment plan is based on what is the best options for successful living..
  • Therapy: Therapy-based treatment involves sessions with psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and groups. During these meetings, patients can talk about their struggles and find ways to improve their mental well-being, so they can avoid abusing controlled substances altogether.

Getting Medical Treatment for a Loved One With Alcohol or Substance Abuse Disorder

The psychological and physiological effects of abusing alcohol and drugs can severely affect a person. Intervention is an option to helping a troubled family and individual recover from these effects.

La Hacienda does not provide intervention services, but we vet and work with numerous interventionists across the country.

Ethically, a great interventionist works with a family to find the best treatment options. While those who are on our list believe La Hacienda is a great treatment facility, we trust they will do what is right for the family seeking help. When it is determined La Hacienda is the best choice for the patient, we will gladly work with your family and interventionist.

If you are seeking an interventionist, and do not where to turn, call La Hacienda and we will gladly guide you to find the right fit.

Contact La Hacienda Treatment Center Today

When an intervention is needed for a loved one who’s abusing controlled substances, La Hacienda Treatment Center can help you find an interventionist, so you can begin facilitate the process. Contact us today, and let’s discuss your options.