Family Intervention - The 3 Phases
There are usually several stages to a family intervention.
If you haven't yet read the introduction to this topic,
visit the Addiction
page, or the previous Page 3 - Crisis
(Hoes does an intervention work?) for
What can I expect once I
make a gambling addiction treatment center selection?
you select a facility and an interventionist (these may be the same
people/place), you can expect three general elements to the family
This involves the interventionist learning about your
loved one, the problem gambler.
Learning about their family background, their lifestyle, any
you know they have been struggling with, and their state of mind.
Understanding their state of mind will allow them to help
objections your loved one may have if they resist the idea of getting
treatment. While techniques can vary, this phase generally
each person participating in the intervention to write a letter to the
gambling addict that will be read on the day of the intervention.
The letter usually includes
things you love about the gambler, a summary of concerns
regarding their problem gambling behavior, and consequences that will
be imposed (by you personally) if the gambler doesn't agree to go to
treatment. As a group you'll also compile a list of possible
objections the gambler may have for not wanting to seek treatment.
This can include things like: "I don't have a
problem. I can stop on
my own. We can't afford it. Who will take care of
the kids? Etc."
The team will prepare responses to each possible question as
the preparation phase.
intervention practice day involves each person taking turns reading
your letters in an environment that
mimics the day of the intervention. There's usually a role
someone will take on the role of the problem gambler, and react to the
letters, including throwing up objections. It's usually best
prepare for the
worst case scenario, being that the gambler will be very upset, angry,
feel betrayed, be generally uncooperative, and even try to run away.
The practicing phase is extremely important, and truly
to giving intervention day the best possible chance of success.
This is the actual day of the family intervention!
(except for your gambler of course) will be at the venue well in
advance of the meeting time, maybe even two or three hours ahead.
want to run into the possibility that the gambler will arrive before
everyone is in place, or even see someone they're not expecting to see,
and be tipped off as to what might be happening; i.e. they run!
intervention usually won't take place at the gambler's home; this is
too comfortable and familiar, and makes it easier for them to escape to
another room, lock themselves in the bathroom, etc. I know
all of this
sounds somewhat extreme, but good planning, preparation, and day-of
execution can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful
intervention. There will be a trusted party responsible for
the person there. The circumstances surrounding the situation
person are so unique to each case that I won't even attempt to provide
any rules or recommendations around this aspect. But just to
an idea, it could be an invitation to lunch, or an event; anything that
gets them there at a specific time.
You may have noticed
that I described the three step process as being three distinct days.
Some interventionists may try to do all three steps in two
or even one day. From what I've learned from talking with
experts, as well as my own personal experience, anyone purporting to be
able to effectively accomplish these steps in one day is taking a
massive risk. I'd say that they either aren't qualified, or
such a busy schedule that they're trying to simply fit it in for their
own convenience or for the convenience of the participants.
me, despite any inconvenience or additional cost to meet, it's well
worth it. The planning process is not easy, and can be even
emotionally taxing than the actual day of the family intervention!
you have personal experience with participating in an intervention,
definitely please share it with visitors to this site by using the
anonymous submission form on the Gambling
Return from Family Intervention to Addiction Intervention
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