Intervention derives from the Latin word intervenire, meaning “to interrupt or come between”. Although interventions are most commonly used in behavioral health as a way for families and loved ones to address alcohol/drug addictions and substance abuse-related issues, they can also be utilized with mental health, compulsive or acting out behaviors such as eating disorders, gambling and video gaming.


“He needs to want to get well for an intervention to work right?”
“We were told to wait until she hits ‘Rock Bottom’.”
“Nothing will work until he is ready to quit.”
“We can’t make him do anything he doesn’t want, can we?”


These are the most common statements and questions Hired Power hears during an initial call from a family or loved one, inquiring about an intervention. Unfortunately, those statements and questions are also heard in offices of therapists, doctors and other community-based professionals. These illusions prevent families and professionals from intervening in disease processes that are impacting and killing millions in the US.


And so, obviously, the decision to intervene can often be a difficult but necessary one. An intervention changes the way a family thinks about their own situations and options. Empowering a family to understand and define healthy rules and boundaries can by itself be a great motivation for change. Tony Robbins summarizes the family dynamic by pointing out that “change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater the pain of change”. Families and loved ones often have more leverage, and agency, than they understand.


An intervention creates an opportunity and definition of achievable goals, rather than passively waiting for a hard destructive and sometimes deadly bottom. Planning an intervention while a loved one still has connectedness and the potential can shine the light on hope and the possibility of health and recovery.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nanette Zumwalt ICADC, ICCJP, CIP, CAI is the founder and CEO of Hired Power Transitional Recovery Services which provide a variety of services such as Intervention, Safe Passage, Personal Recovery Assistants, Sober Monitoring and Recovery Care Management in the mental health and addiction fields. She has toured and evaluated over 800 treatment centers nationally and internationally.

To read a brief history of Interventions, click here.