How to Prepare for an Intervention

Your teen is struggling; that much is clear to many of those who love and care for them. But how do you know when it’s time to take the next step? How do you prepare for an effective intervention to get them the help they need? Here are a few things to consider.

Understand What an Intervention Is (And Isn’t)

An intervention is a carefully planned meeting to address a person’s addiction or drug abuse. In some instances, it can be as simple as outlining ground rules that your teen needs to adhere to, as well as strict consequences for breaking them. In others, an intervention might include inviting close friends, family and even a mental health professional to discuss how the addiction has caused disruptive and hurtful behavior and to plan steps for recovery. It does not call into question the individual’s moral character, nor should it be done without the advice of a professional.

Make a Plan

To begin with, it’s helpful to make a concrete plan. Start by observing your teen’s behaviors and making notes about what you see. Talk to those that care about them to see if they have any perspectives to offer. This way, you will have a set of things to discuss with your teen during the intervention.


Image Alessandra Celauro

Consider the “Team”

If this is the first time you are addressing your teen’s drug abuse with them, perhaps the only “team” you really need is you and your spouse or immediate family members. If the issue has escalated more significantly, it might be time to draw on the support of extended family, your teen’s friends or even their teachers for assistance. Be sure to only involve people who want to actively participate in your teen’s recovery process.

Decide on a Recovery Process

For an intervention to be truly successful, it’s important to establish clear expectations for your teen’s recovery process. Do you want your teen to attend fewer parties, rebuild trust and make curfew? Be direct about this. Does your teen need to see a therapist? Explain your reasoning. Should your teen go to a treatment program? With the help of a mental health professional, provide them with concrete options. Be sure to express how you plan to support your teen and be involved in their recovery process.

Feature image Amanda Tipton