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Professional Intervention: Can It Work After the Family Has Failed?

  • anonymous Asks ...

    My sister is an alcoholic. Last year we had a family intervention and we all got together a really tried to make her get into some treatment. We even had a place all arranged for her to go to. But it did not work and now she is drinking more than ever before. We do not know what to do. Some of the family want to try again but this time they want to hire a professional interventionist to help us. Others think this is ridiculous and that if it did not work once she is not going to be fooled by it a second time. I do not know what to think. Is it a ridiculous idea to try a second intervention on an alcoholic within a year?

  • Delisted Expert Says ...

    For a complicated treatment problem, I am going suggest a simple answer. Contact a professional interventionist or interventionist organization and obtain their best professional opinion about the feasibility and effectiveness of a professional intervention after the family failed to assist a family member from entering treatment. Some good websites where you can locate professional interventionists are:


    One spot of hope. It is very common for family to try to get another family member into treatment, informally or formally, using some form of plea bargaining or intervention. These attempts can easily fail. When this happens it is appropriate to refer the family and impaired family member to an intervention professional. I have done many successful professional interventions in hospitals, treatment centers, and in the community after the family has exhausted their hope or best efforts. Please do not give up on your sister. Let the rest of the family know what the professional recommendations are. Your sister can get sober if not in one attempt or but numerous attempts. Her odds are greatly improved if she can obtain some form of treatment which exceeds 180 days. This can be inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient, and a half way house.

    I wish your family, your sister and you every kind of success.

    Respectfully yours,

    John W. O’Neal, Ed.S, MSW, MA, LPC, NCC


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