An intervention is a cautiously designed process involving family members and friends and sometimes other parties for instance colleagues and clergy members who care about a person who is struggling with the disease of addiction. During the intervention, these persons get together to confront the addicted person about the consequences of their addiction and ask him to accept help and treatment.  Particularly, an intervention has three core objectives:

  • Provides specific patterns of destructive behaviors and their negative impact on the addicted person and loved ones
  • Offers a prearranged treatment plan with clear steps, objects and guidelines
  • Predefined what each person will do if a loved one refuses to accept treatment

Muhib-e-ZahraMs. Muhib-e-Zahra is a Clinical Psychologist. She discovered her interest in Clinical Psychology while studying at Government College University, Lahore. She thought that it would be more challenging for her intellectual drive.  Later, she became a student of the ADCP (Advance Diploma in Clinical Psychology) in University of the Punjab. She completed her ADCP and then she got the opportunity to practice all that she had learnt as a Clinical Psychologist in Willing Ways.

Editor: Ms. Shumaila Batool

Although an intervention can be a great tool and influential for a loved one or friend who is uncertain or refuses treatment, interventions must get the help of a professional such as an intervention specialist, clinical psychologist or mental health professional.  Seeking professional guidance is paramount, especially if the loved one or friend has the following:

  • Has a history of serious mental illness
  • Has a history of violence
  • Has had suicidal behavior or presently talked about suicide
  • Might be taking numerous mood-altering substances
  • Is in denial, likely to become angry, or tends to minimize his or her situation

The purpose of an intervention is of course to help your loved one, to see that he or she badly needs treatment – and to agree to get that treatment immediately. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go that way. Many addicts completely refuse to go to rehab, no matter how flawlessly planned the intervention is or how heartfelt and intense the statements of his or her loved ones are. Does that mean that the intervention is a failure?


Yes and no. Although the goal was for your loved one to agree to go to treatment right away, yet an intervention that doesn’t end with a “yes” still has its benefits. Those who are addicted might refuse help for a number of reasons.  The addict is just not prepared to stop using drugs and/or alcohol, or they may be fearful of the stigma that is associated with drug treatment and in being an addict.  Moreover, an addict may refuse help because of pride, and they may believe there are ways they can struggle their addiction problem such as willpower or self-invented detoxification methods. While the addict may refuse help, there are means that you can offer help to a loved one struggling with substance abuse.