You may have reached the point of feeling that you cannot sleep, focus, or fully enjoy your own life until you have actively done something to attempt to fix the troubling situation of your addicted loved one.
You may have heard about interventions and seen dramatic versions on television. You may feel that until you have invested substantially in a similar way (and perhaps at great cost) you will never be able to be rest easily. You may experience a sense of pressure to quickly take action to focus on the needs of the addicted family member and to figure out how to get him or her into treatment.
A sense of urgency around getting your loved one’s situation under control as quickly as possible is totally understandable. And high price interventionists often bank on this sense of urgency – with lavish but at times hastily prepared ‘showdowns’ that may include escorting the addicted family member to treatment. Often little is done to set up appropriate long term supports, limits, and contingencies for the addicted individual or for the rest of the family upon his or her return from treatment. In short, there is often too little attention to the needs of the family, or to adequate planning for the long run.
Finding a therapist with very specific skills will avoid these problems and produce a more satisfactory outcome.
The Effective Therapist for Intervention
Look for a therapist knowledgeable about addictions and familiar with effective treatment options (including residential treatment, day and evening programs, outpatient groups, and self-help programs). Equally important, is the therapist’s ability to understand family dynamics and how to effectively intervene. This will require a therapist able to do a sophisticated assessment of the family situation, available supports, financial resources, and leverage that can be brought to bear to effect change. She will hear out family members’ concerns and reservations, including fears related to unsuccessful past attempts, and will assess the likelihood of family members supporting one another in whatever plan is undertaken.
Finally, she will help you and your family understand what can realistically be expected with various levels of intervention. She will help you decide if a formal intervention is likely to produce the desired result, and if the timing is right for doing it now. And if you do decide to do a formal intervention, she will help you do so in a way that will provide peace of mind about the steps you have taken, regardless of what happens ultimately to the substance abuser (whether or not he or she makes it to a treatment program, remains for the duration, or succeeds after discharge). You should also come away with a better sense of the choices and options available for your own future self-care even if your loved one’s behavior continues to be unpredictable.
© 2018 Marsha Vannicelli