Treatment Trauma: The Intervention Gone Wrong

There’s a common stereotype of what an intervention looks like, often propagated by movies and TV: there’s shouting, tears, a waiting van, and then the person struggling is practically snatched into recovery.

By the time family members call for an intervention, they’re usually at the end of what they can endure, having tried every tactic they can think of to shepherd their loved one into recovery. (By the end of the road, this can often look like yelling at the loved one that needs help.) The idea of forcing someone into rehab can sometimes, to these families, seem like it might be the only thing that will work.

However, an intervention done properly is actually a very loving meeting. A good intervention is about enabling the suffering person to understand their situation – the goal being to get them to acknowledge that they need help and begin to ask for it.

What is an Intervention?

Forcing someone into treatment doesn’t work. Inpatient treatment centers are not lock-down facilities; people who don’t want to be there can leave, and they sometimes do. For rehab to work, the individual needs to want to stay and want to do the hard but rewarding work of recovery. On the other side of the coin, trying to push someone into treatment can be very traumatic, and have extremely negative consequences. A bad intervention—or even a bad treatment program—can turn someone off to ever considering treatment again.   

The best way into recovery is through attraction rather than promotion. Telling someone to go to treatment, or, worse, coercing them into going to treatment, rarely works. Most likely, for an affected family, that strategy has been failing for years by the time they start considering an intervention.

A really good interventionist can be a great help to the family. They will know the best treatment programs in the area, they will have seen patients progress through treatment and will have worked with them afterwards, and they will have spoken to many people who have been through different treatment centers. A good interventionist will help you choose the right program for your loved one, and will be able to gently guide them towards choosing recovery.

Adam Banks is a certified recovery coach and interventionist at Suntra Modern Recovery.  He received an MBA from the University of Chicago and built a company which United Health Care acquired. He learned his rigor and attention to detail from his career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Suntra Modern Recovery provides medical treatment for alcohol and opiate addictions via video visit with medical doctors. Suntra’s alcohol and drug intervention services are available in New York, Long Island, and the Hamptons. Treatment for opiate and heroin addiction, including Suboxone treatment, can start today.

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