Intervention Strategies That Work

Ongoing strife and contention may best describe the circumstances that prompt the decision to stage an intervention for a loved one. While the decision may be born out of utter frustration and despair, the importance of devising intervention strategies beforehand can mean the different between a loved agreeing to seek treatment or not.

Intervention strategies can work for most any type of addiction problem, be it alcohol, drugs or gambling. Intervention strategies have to do with setting clear, straightforward objectives in terms of the purpose of the intervention, planning ahead and possible outcomes.

Intervention Objectives

Motivating a loved one to get needed treatment help should be the overall objective for staging an intervention. Intervention strategies should advise on knowing when to hold an intervention and how to conduct it.

drug intervention

Having an intervention can help your loved one realize the severity of their substance abuse problem.

In general, a good intervention strategy will include the following components:

  • Scripted examples of how a loved one’s destructive behaviors impact the lives of those around him or her
  • Clearly spells out consequences should the loved one refuse to get treatment
  • Provides treatment plan guidelines that delineate steps and goals a loved one must agree to

As most any form of addiction stems from both physical and psychological dysfunction, good intervention strategies will always enlist the help of an intervention professional. Loved ones may experience anger, resentment and feel betrayed during an intervention, and in some cases, the risk of violent behavior is high.

When the possibility for violence looms, it’s especially important to enlist the help of an intervention professional. Other reasons to seek professional help beforehand include:

  • Your loved one has a history of violence
  • He or she has talked of or attempted suicide
  • Your loved one has a history of mental illness
  • Is currently abusing several different types of drugs


According to the Mayo Clinic, careful planning gives an intervention the best chance of a productive outcome. Intervention strategies that work include the following plans and provisions:

  • Deciding on who to include in the intervention – people who matter to your loved one, such as friends, family, work colleagues, spiritual advisors
  • Developing a script as a group beforehand and rehearsing it at least once
  • Identifying and laying out specific consequences from each person involved in the intervention should your loved one refuse treatment
  • Making all necessary arrangements with a treatment facility beforehand so your loved can go directly into treatment once he or she agrees to get help

The Intervention Team

A good intervention strategy will take certain considerations under account when deciding who participates in the actual intervention. People whom your loved one likes, works, admires and/or depends on are usually good picks. To avoid being overly confrontational, a team of four to six people should suffice for an intervention.

The less confrontational, the intervention the better so anyone who may not be able to contain him- or herself during the meeting or follow the pre-planned script may not be a good fit. If this applies for someone who’s especially important to your loved, it may be best to have that person write a short letter that can be read by someone else during the intervention meeting.