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What Is An Intervention?

An intervention is where the family and / or friends of an individual take action to persuade the person to enter treatment. This is used where the individual is unwilling to get help or refuses to see that he / she has a problem and that it is affecting their loved ones.

It is important to understand that each family’s circumstances are different and therefore family interventions will vary. What works for one family may not work for another. It’s therefore important to find an interventionist with whom the family members feel comfortable and can discuss how the process will work for them.

There are two possible routes open to you:

  • Assessment and Intervention Programme
  • Family Intervention

What Intervention Services Does Life Works Offer?


Assessment and Stabilisation Programme

Our 1-week Assessment and Intervention Programme is a multi-disciplinary, medically-based assessment programme designed to both thoroughly assess and, if needed, stabilize the individual. In addition, this programme is suitable for individuals who may be unwilling to commit to lengthy treatment or are unsure of their need for treatment.

The Programme also allows the individual to be properly assessed medically, physically, socially and psychologically and to identify the most appropriate continuing care or treatment options.

If you would like to know more about arranging an intervention, please call us on 0800 081 0700. One of our dedicated counsellors will be happy to answer your questions or concerns.

Family Intervention

This is conducted through a professional interventionist and involves participation from the individual’s close friends and family.

The family intervention process is carried out in the following stages:

  • Planning
  • Practice Meeting
  • Intervention Day



The individual’s friends and family meet to gain a better understanding of the individual’s problem, to learn how they can take care of themselves and to make preparations for Intervention Day. The planning stage often includes additional meetings, including the practice meeting, and friends and family members also plan how they will take care of themselves during and after the intervention.

Practice Meeting

This usually takes place immediately before Intervention Day and gives the family and friends a chance to understand how the meeting will run and what they will need to say and do.

Intervention Day

This involves friends, family, a professional Interventionist and the individual all meeting at an agreed place and time. The individual will not be aware of the intervention prior to it taking place, for example, he / she may simply be invited to a family gathering.

What Happens During An Intervention?

During the intervention, the individual is invited to join his / her friends and family, who will already be seated. The interventionist’s role is to lead and control the meeting.

Each family member or friend will have written letters to the individual and each person reads their letter to the individual. Typically, the letters will share how much the individual means to that person, the effect of the individual’s behaviour on that person and a description of how they want their relationship to work in the future. Each person will ask the individual to accept help now. They will also share that arrangements have been set up so that the individual can get treatment immediately after the intervention – if they will agree to this.

The intervention is conducted from a position of love, respect and support. However, the message is firm and there is no room for negotiation or debate. All those present want the individual to accept help now.

Ideally, at this point, the individual will agree to entering treatment and the interventionist then calls the treatment centre to confirm the arrangements that have been set up. Someone from the group will then take the individual directly to the treatment centre immediately after the intervention meeting.

After Intervention Day, friends and family members will begin putting their plans for taking care of themselves into practice.

Why Conduct an Intervention?

Friends and family members usually choose an intervention when they have tried everything else and have not been able to persuade the individual to get help.

Where individuals are unwilling to admit they have a problem, or to see the effects of their addictive or compulsive behaviours, an intervention can be an effective way to persuade them to accept help and enter treatment.

Interventions are effective for a number of reasons. Enlisting the help of a professional interventionist means that the meeting can be controlled, stay on track, and prevent deviating from the purpose of the intervention. Involving several friends and family members, rather than just one other person, can be a much more powerful way to convey the message to the individual. Additionally, the participation of people who are all very important to the individual makes it more difficult for the message to be ignored. The powerful nature of this experience can temporarily disturb the individual’s destructive thinking long enough to hear a firm but loving message and agree to get help.

Who can help me with arranging an intervention?

We can help you find a professional interventionist.

Interventions can be a difficult, challenging and often emotional experience for all those who attend. It is therefore essential that the family enlist the help of a dedicated professional who can effectively facilitate the session with sensitivity, respect and clarity. It is not advisable to conduct an intervention without the involvement of a professional interventionist.

Please contact us on 0800 081 0700 for further information about intervention specialists.

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