Birds — Intervention Specialist in Seattle, WA

Intervention FAQ

Q. Is an intervention the only way I can help my loved one?

A. No, you can wait until they ask for help. The problem with this is they may die first, kill some innocent person(s) in a car accident, or have to suffer in a variety of ways. They may experience expensive legal problems, lost income from being fired, failing health, not to mention failing relationships and isolation.
Q. Don't patients have to “hit bottom” before they ask for help?

It's been said that 85% of people with addictive disease never ask for help. Only about 15% will actually respond to the pain or crisis of their situation and ask for help. Most will either die or continue on in an increasingly painful lifestyle. Therefore it's not only dangerous but unethical to stand by waiting for them to “hit bottom.”
Q. Are there any risks associated with an intervention?

A. Yes, this is why an assessment is needed first to determine what's going on with your loved one, what is their history regarding suicide threats or attempts and/or any threats made to others. In this way we have an opportunity to outline ways of dealing with difficult situations that may occur during the intervention or even afterwards.
Q. I've heard that there are different types of interventions. What's the best?

A. I don't believe there is anyone type that works best for all. I've been trained in the Johnston Institute Model, the Invitational Family Systems Model, the ARISE Model and the Storti Model. Having trained and conducted interventions since 1979 I have developed a style that incorporates parts of all the above. I may lean more towards one or the other depending on the family's situation.
Q. Do I have to confront my loved one?

A. I don't believe in confrontations. I think they invite total defensiveness. What I propose is something gentle and pro-active for the family.
Q. How will I get my loved one to come to your office?

A. It depends. Sometimes an intervention is conducted in my office while other times it is in their home or the home of a friend or family member, or with executive interventions, in the board room.
Q. I know my loved one will be so angry at an Intervention I'm sure they will walk out the door. What do you do then?

A. First off in my 30+ years of doing interventions this has happened only a few times. The overwhelming majority of families I work with have that same fear. I think the reason they don't walk out is because we are changing the dynamics of the family system plus you have an outside facilitator. That sends a message that you are quite serious. It's not business as usual. However, if they do walk, I have other strategies that work for a successful intervention.
Q. Our family is spread out all over the United States. How do we include them?

A. I utilize conference call speaker phones, Face Time, or Skype for example to include people out of the area. The first meeting, which generally takes between 2 – 4 hours, is an assessment and training for the intervention. At this meeting we have all of the key people present (excluding the person to be intervened upon) to consider the possibility of doing an intervention. If the group decides in favor of the intervention, we then set the date, consider treatment options, and other tasks. The day before the formal intervention, the out of towners would gather with the others for a rehearsal or fine tuning and then on to the formal intervention. The formal intervention being the time we meet with their loved one, expressing concerns, concluding with the person entering treatment.