Doing An Intervention

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2004

This is when a group of friends and/or family get together and loving tell the person about the problems they see.  Often they, as a very caring group, can help the person see that there is a problem. 

Much love has to go into an intervention.  There should never be any shouting, on the part of any member of the intervention group.  Voices should be kept low and slow.  Often, the person whom the intervention is for, will be angry at first and perhaps yell.  Keep calm!  Reassure the person that that s/he is loved and deeply cared about, that is why you are there. 

Since it is a difficult thing to come up with just the right words that will soften the person’s heart into getting help, it is highly suggested that all involved pray for help from God/their Higher Power, to get the inspiration they need.

Have each person prepared with a specific instance where false information was passed about him/her.  Each must have irrefutable evidence to show that the person was misinformed, so they can see the damage that they have done. 

Use soft caring words whenever possible, for example.  Instead of using words like “lied,” use the words, “falsely accused.”  Do not use harsh works, because they provoke a fight and that is not what you are there for.

Tell her, “It is important for you to get the help you needs so you can continue as part of the family.  Otherwise, your behavior will continue to tear our families apart, which can no longer go on.  We love you and always want you to be part of our lives, we need you to get help to stop this behavior, or we will be forced to keep you out of our lives.  We don’t want that, but our families come first.”   Those are softened words.  What people might end up saying, if they are not trying to be tender with the feelings of the person whom the intervention is for, is something like this:  “Get help or get out of our lives.”

The best course for the intervention group to take is to have the person take action immediately.  An appointment should be made in advance for a time just after the intervention takes place.  After the intervention, if it has worked out positively, the person is immediately escorted to the counseling appointment, right then. Loving reassurance and support is given before and after the appointment and thereafter, as long as the person is trying to change the unwanted behaviors.

If this doesn’t work, then there is absolutely nothing else you to make this person change, unless the person is a danger to himself, and/or others.  In this case the state’s certified mental health counselors are called and they make arrangements to have the person incarcerated in a mental health facility for 48 hours for a mental examination to see what is to be done to help this person back to good mental health and safeguard the person or others until this can be done.


Annette Nay, Ph.D.

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