Sometimes you might have relatives with a serious drug or alcohol abuse problem, a gambling problem, or some other type of excessive behavior. One way to get through to them is by holding a family intervention. This is to stop and turn them from their destructive ways.
Family interventions for whatever reason should be handled with care and understanding. It should be dealt with through firmness and finesse at the same time. You cannot simply berate a person into abandoning a lifelong debilitating habit. You cannot condescend either. Making them feel bad and guilty about what they do is not enough. The intervention must start and trigger the mechanism that gives that person the will to change the destructive lifestyle. It should also make them decide to fix the problems that they have because of this.
Of course, every family is different, and every situation presents its own unique problem, but here are a few things to remember that can be applied to almost every situation:
Schedule the interventions. Tell all attending family members or relatives about the intervention or schedule it with them at least 3 days to a week in advance. People have their own lives and problems to deal with, and this alone might take some time to schedule depending on the urgency of the matter.
Know the purpose. Make sure all attending family members and friends are aware of what the purpose of the intervention is. Let them know what and how they can contribute to the intervention.
Let the person know. Make sure that the person you’re doing the intervention for arrives at the set time and location. You can be a little bit vague but do not lie to them. This is an immediate betrayal of trust and will start the intervention on the wrong foot.
Express feelings and support. Hold the intervention. Let people do their own thing and express what their feelings are about the matter, avoid finger-pointing and having negative attitude. Make sure that everyone expresses their love and support for the person who needs the intervention.
Keep the atmosphere positive. Do not berate the person about the bad decisions that they have made in the past. The intervention is not the venue for that. Instead, focus on what can be done so they can improve their future.
End on a positive note. Always reach for a positive resolution. There might not be an immediate effect on that person as interventions can be a little bit jarring and they will need some time to think and organize their thoughts. While it would be nice to achieve what you set out to do, letting that person know that there are people out there who love and support him might convince them to reconsider his lifestyle and change his mind.
Always remember that an intervention aims to help that person improve their quality of life. You are not just there to confront that person with his own problems and deficiencies. Sometimes it is enough to let him know that there are people in the world who care about him.