When I mention the word “Intervention” what probably comes to your mind (as it does for most people) is a version of what you’ve most likely seen in TV shows or movies. While not outlandishly wrong, these portrayals tend to be inaccurate at best, and outright misleading at the worst end of the spectrum.
They tend to build presumptions and misconceptions about what are intervention programs, how they are actually handled, and most importantly WHY they work.
When someone you love gets caught in a self-destructive pattern, in whatever form it takes (Alcoholism, Drug addiction, Abusive relationships, etc.) a process begins in their minds that makes it seem like this is the rightful status quo of their lives. The way things are supposed to be.
Eventually, the person can’t or won’t even remember how things were before they had such problem, and this only sinks them deeper into that cycle.
Interventions then are one of the most influential tools we’ve developed to assist people trapped in these circles.
However, the moment of the group meeting represents just a part of a whole process that involves several stages and the participation of many of the affected person loved ones. So, in an effort to dispel some of the myths and fallacies surrounding the whole issue, I wanted to talk to you a bit about what are intervention programs, and why they work in a real-world setting.
An interruption in a pattern:
We, humans, are beings of habit. As such, we tend to fall somewhat easily in routines, even when they aren’t necessarily healthy for us. We like the sense of knowing what we’ll do next, it fills us with a sense of security; of comfort.
This is precisely why it is so easy for us to fall into self-degenerating patterns. Yes, there comes a moment when a biological dependency to the substance is formed, but in every case of addiction – whether it is to drugs, gaming, a relationship… – that dependency invariably starts in the person’s head.
It becomes comforting to grab a drink when you are feeling off. Done enough times it becomes a habit, then a dependency. Staying in an abusive relationship once a routine has been formed is easy since not doing so represents the uncertainty of not knowing.
It is in our nature to want to remain within what we know – even when it’s bad for us – instead of finding a better alternative.
What are intervention programs?
Put simply, an intervention happens when an outside force comes in and influences a person engaged in unhealthy patterns and habits to change their direction.
It involves a combination of principles and disciplines, using strategies oriented to help the patient achieve behavior changes to improve their health, while also assisting the core group of involved individuals (family, friends, coworkers) to deal with previous grievances, and participate in the recovery process.
An intervention takes different shapes and can be implemented in an array of setups to serve the patient better, seeking to produce the most effective environment of receptiveness
Why do Interventions work?
People suffering from addiction and behavioral dependencies are more likely to seek help and begin treatment after they undergo an intervention, but several elements come into play when we talk about why.
Also Read: Drug or Alcohol Intervention
Being placed into a definitive environment that the patient to face their actions has a powerful effect on people. Being stripped from excuses and rationalizations while in the presence of those who love them (and most likely have been affected or damaged by their actions) gives the person a unique perspective not readily achieved otherwise.
It makes them face the facts of their situation in an environment of safety and concern for their wellbeing. Which is precisely the other fundamental part of why interventions work.
It presents the patient with a circle of people who genuinely care and empathize with them and their situation. A group that is truly willing to help and become a part of their recovery.
Most people suffering from a dependency are isolationist in some level because they can’t quickly reconcile their actions and the damage they cause themselves (and others).
Intervention shows them they are not alone, and that there are people eager to help them get better.
Interventions are a great beginning
Finally, when people ask me “What are intervention programs?” my favorite, one-line quick answer is: “They are a great way to start healing.”
It is essential to understand that interventions are there to help people face their situation and encourage them to make a genuine commitment to getting better.
A commitment to seek treatment and overcome whatever dependency they are going through.
A commitment to themselves and to their loved ones.
Having such an experience at the outset of such process of recovery the perfect way to start on that path with the right foot.