Worst Seat on the Plane
So here I am, sitting right next to the bathroom with a door constantly opening and shutting as the myriad of faceless travelers drop trowel and alleviate themselves. I try and think of funny jokes as I worry that the droplets of hot water that just danced across my new laptop will send it spraying into never-never land, and I will be faced with yet another trip to the apple store; though this time I have insurance.


Funny thing about insurance, most of the clients we work with on life-saving missions ask – do we take insurance? When we explain that intervention services are not covered by insurance, there is no real code as you are not doing individual therapy or family therapy. The truth is that one’s clinical license is usually state-specific, with little reciprocity across a few state lines.


As anxious families reconcile themselves that interventions take many person-hours, are professional in nature, take training, skills, etc and are not charitable work and do cost money; just like other professionals, they retain doctors, dentists, counselors, etc. They seem to be content that the scope of work, its intensity, long hours, and length of engagement are worthy of remuneration. 

The Next Big Question

And then comes the NEXT BIG QUESTION – WILL INSURANCE COVER MY LOVED ONES TREATMENT EXPERIENCE? And then you share that you will work hard to find a facility that matches their loved one’s needs and is “insurance friendly.” That in and of itself is an art and a science. And secretly,  you have disdain for insurance companies as the benefits are often confusing, complex, and not all that great.

What families do not know is that insurance policies are as varied as a kaleidoscope on steroids.  Some people have HMOs meaning that they can only go to those facilities that their insurance is contracted with. Some are PPOs (meaning Preferred Provider Networks), some have large deductibles, others have little to no coverage, and some have little to no coverage at all, only covering medical Detoxification. Seniors are tricky as even medicare instances are tricky, and not many places are medicare friendly. Life-wide, not all military families are covered by Tri-Care.

My Thoughts as a Clinical Interventionist

As a clinical interventionist, when families ask that question, I know they do not know the depth of research that all of us must do to find the RIGHT Behavioral Health facility that matches their presenting issues; albeit, mental health or substance use – process disorders, physical maladies, age, geographic region, cultural considerations, etc. So as Professionals, we do our best to navigate through these big questions so that we can help families whose lives are ravaged.

Ravaged is an interesting word meaning “devastated.” Truth is, our clients are devastated. Devastated by the sleepless nights they have had, the screaming, knock-down fights, the verbal abuse, the nagging, cajoling, begging and pleading they have done to try and get their loved ones to get help. Picture yourself on the airplane, the exit doors are locked, and there is no Exit. There’s a person raging next to you. There is nowhere to go. NO EXIT DOOR. No out, you sit, you squirm and feel hopeless.

And then you Remember what you get to do and who you are.

I believe those in behavioral health get to be torchbearers (picture yourself running and holding the Olympic Torch). You are transformed, and you become the torchbearer of hope of light, of possibility, of solution, of change, and for those who have had no hope. Now in my mind, that is a terrific job; there is no better feeling than when you help a family move a loved one to change and no better feeling when years later you get a note thanking you for being a torchbearer along the way. And then, as you drift back to your current situation of being squeezed like a sardine next to the plane’s bathroom.

It doesn’t matter that flight is never-ending or the plane is cold – for you are off on a new adventure armed with grace, compassion, a toolbox of skills, a talented teammate, full of possibility and hope that tomorrow you get the gift of helping another wayfarer along the road.


If you are seeking help for a loved one, contact me for a confidential initial consultation.