What is an Intervention?

An intervention is an invitation to seek and accept care.

Seeking Help

What is an intervention? An Intervention, in all of its many forms, is an invitation for your loved one to find solutions for their substance abuse and/or mental health problems they are experiencing, seek appropriate treatment solutions and discover new healthy ways of living.

Every day, people are invited to change. Sometimes change occurs in hospitals, through the legal system, by being ask to leave school or at work.

Licensed professionals, social workers, lawyers, addiction specialists, mental health workers, and interventionists such as Dr. Stanger, invite clients to explore ways to improve their lives. As licensed professionals, we are always inviting our clients to explore ways to improve their lives. We empower clients to be the captains of their well-being.

An intervention is an invitation to seek and accept care.

Additionally, an intervention is a systemic process that helps everyone involved accept that the person they value, care about, and love has a serious problem. It may be diagnosed as a substance abuse disorder (alcohol, legal drugs, illegal drugs), or a process addiction disorder (food, internet, sex, gambling, debt) or a mental health disorder (depression, bi-polar, mania, borderline).

It may be a combination of disorders or maladies. In acknowledging this fact, participants learn about the nature of the disorder – its cause, history, and progression. Many clients and their families are often surprised to discover that addictions are diseases, similar to medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes. They take comfort in learning about this disease, its definition as put forth by American Society of Addiction Medicine, and most importantly that help, hope and health is possible.

The overall purpose of an intervention is to create an opening in the denial system of your loved one to facilitate getting help. The secondary benefit is that family and friends learn new ways of relating to one another and taking care of themselves. This is accomplished by helping everyone accept the difficult reality of the current situation and the part each person plays in the drama. Treatment options are explored, and arrangements are made for your loved one to accept the treatment being offered.

What is an interventionist?

An interventionist is a trained professional in the field of addiction and family systems. Interventionists help identify people in an addict’s life that can be most influential in a recovery team. The team is usually composed of family, friends and co-workers who can help an individual accept and receive treatment. Family interventions are the most commonly requested service, though concerned friends and colleagues have become more involved in the process.

Often, people seek out the help from a professional interventionist when they’ve reached the end of their rope. Watching a loved one struggle with addiction can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Denial is a part of most addiction, with approximately 50% of addicts in complete denial. As a result, an addict’s relationships with family and friends can become tense and difficult, and communication breaks down. Attempting an intervention without help can be intimidating, overwhelming and most often unsuccessful.

An interventionist helps to bring hope and acceptance to a difficult reality.

They can provide a new perspective and create an opening to facilitate a loved one getting help. Family and friends can begin to learn new ways to take care of themselves and support each other and healing can begin.

What does an interventionist do?

The interventionist begins the process by learning more about the addict, the situation and the most significant relationships in the addict’s life. The interventionist then identifies the most appropriate people be part of the intervention meeting and recovery team. The right approach will be determined based on the client’s unique circumstances and mental health conditions.

Then, your interventionist will create a plan, set a date for an intervention and facilitate it. Throughout the process, the interventionist will provide education, support and guidance.

Your interventionist will help evaluate different treatment options and potential aftercare programs specific to the addict’s needs and situation. Each plan will be designed to ensure that the client’s process is beneficial for all involved.

What is the cost for a professional interventionist?

The cost varies based on services, interventionist, and each specific situation. Interventionists can charge either flat fee that includes planning and follow up care or charge an hourly rate. The cost does not include any costs associated with a treatment facility.

Your interventionist should be able to discuss the specifics of your situation with you to provide an estimate of what the intervention will cost.

How long does an intervention take?

It’s important to understand that the intervention process is often more involved than people realize. The intervention itself may only take a couple of hours. However, the planning is a critical part of the process and may involve multiple meetings and counseling to prepare family and loved ones for the intervention itself. Interventionists will provide coaching for vocabulary and encourage patience as family members learn the right words to communicate effectively during the intervention. It may take several days or even weeks to plan and organize for a successful intervention. Once an intervention is completed, coaching may continue for up to 12 months.

What’s the success rate?

Interventions have an incredible 90% success rate when led by a professional interventionist. Shockingly though, less than 10% of families will make the decision to seek out professional help.


US families with at least one addict among their immediate family members.


Addicts in complete denial about their addiction.


Successful interventions when led by a professional interventionist.


Families who will make the decision to seek out professional help with an intervention.

How to choose an interventionist

If choosing to work with an interventionist, look for one who is both credentialed and experienced. While anyone can call themselves an interventionist, professional interventionists will be licensed and/or Board Registered. There is only one nationally recognized certification board, the Pennsylvania Certification Board. This means these individuals have not only completed training specific to the intervention process, but they are held to high standards within the field and have signed a Code of Ethics.

Also look for additional credentialing or licensure. Many interventionists will hold Masters degrees or licenses for mental health or substance abuse issues. Many times addiction is coupled with other mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Interventionists with advanced education and experience in counseling can address each person’s individual needs.

Experience is imperative. Ask the interventionist how many interventions they have done and inquire about success rates. Finding someone with a history or proven success will bring you confidence and relief through this difficult process.

Are interventions confidential?

Despite what is seen on television, interventions are not meant to be dramatic events. Confidentiality is essential and discretion keeps the intervention a respectful and safe environment for all.

Can an interventionist help with my family?

An interventionist helps family problems by educating family members and friends on the disease of addiction. They also provide support and guidance as family and friends learn to create healthy lifestyles and boundaries. They can help diffuse tense relationships and improve communication.

Interventionists can help a variety of families in crisis – from those struggling to cope with substance abuse, mental health, chronic pain, process disorders or other complex behavior issues.

Interventionists often work closely with other professionals, physicians, therapists and treatment centers to insure an individual and families success during their journey.



What An Intervention Is Not

Interventions are not like the scenarios played out on television screens. As a licensed professional, Dr. Stanger believes the TV show, ‘Intervention’, exploits the despair and pain of families living with addiction and turns the situation into a soap opera. A confidential, respectful, invitational intervention is very different then what you see on TV. Confidentiality and discretion are paramount.

Interventions are not conducted when a person is intoxicated, under the influence, suicidal, known to be violent, extremely depressed, in mania, or suffering from another serious mental health disorder.

Families are carefully assessed to confirm that Dr. Stanger’s method of intervention is the right approach. For example, extra precautions are taken when doing an intervention with a male client who has a history of violence. Or when a patient is addicted to cocaine and is also in a manic stage. Or when a young girl is suffering from both anorexia and depression.

The utmost care is taken that the entire process is safe, caring, and beneficial for everyone involved.


“Your inspirational leadership saved our son & transformed our lives.”


Interventionist Louise Stanger

Dr. Stanger’s Approach

In contrast to many intervention styles, Dr. Stanger is committed to helping intervention teams-consisting of family, friends, business acquaintances, personal assistants, hairdressers, employers, and anyone who has an interest in and cares for the identified loved one, become healthier and stronger as well.

She helps each member of the team develop and practice self-care, setting clear boundaries. She believes each member of the intervention team will feel challenged to love your loved one and yourselves from a very deep place, and that no one will remain unchanged after your time together.

I can tell you that the time we will spend together is some of the most valuable and dynamic time I get to spend in my professional life, and for this time I am honored and grateful. -Dr. Louise Stanger

Together, treatment options are explored, and arrangements are made for your loved one to accept the treatment being offered.

Reasons To “Team” When Doing An Intervention

Working Together

Over the years, Dr. Stanger has learned that working with another highly skilled and talented professional team enhances the intervention process and allows family, friends and the loved one more flexibility and ability to relate in a safe way.

What Is an Invitational Intervention?

In doing so, Dr. Stanger is known for invitational interventions. She believes that interventions are a “process” not a “model”. Starting, where the client is and meeting the client where they are, is the most important aspect of her work. One of the greatest strengths with this process is the ability to create movement within the family.

She works hand-in-hand with another highly trained professionals when performing interventions as she believes her clients get better service and value from two highly trained professionals working in tandem to help inspire individuals and families to move towards health and wellness. Safety issues are addressed in a robust fashion.

Working in tandem gives clients the opportunity to relate to the person they feel most comfortable with.

Currently, she teams most often with Jeffrey Merrick, who is also an interventionist and practicing attorney, forging one of the few highly trained teams in the country that specializes in complex mental health, substance abuse cases.

Dr. Louise and her teammate believe working with individuals who are in the midst of a mental health, substance abuse and other crisis demands the utmost sensitivity, flexibility and professional skills. Lastly, as a licensed clinician and mandated reporter, clients are insured of the highest ethical standards.

The #1 reason people call for an intervention is when they see a loved one suffering & they have lost hope.

Contact Dr. Stanger

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Family Interventions

Family Interventions Are Delicate

Family interventions are difficult and delicate matters. Anger and profound sorrow often result when someone is forced to look at his or her own behavior. Family members often experience mournful rage, deep sadness, and powerful guilt over previous failed efforts.

Family members are gently asked to look at their own behaviors and explore the intricacies of relationships and behaviors that have been built around the addiction.

Professional Intervention Guidance

It is imperative for a professional to be present to help coach everyone along the way. As a professional interventionist, Dr. Stanger has learned that a safe, comfortable, and respectful atmosphere is essential for success.

After careful coaching, planning, and wise deliberation, the intervention is conducted in a respectful, loving, caring manner in which all participants come together for a common cause – helping your loved one get treatment. In doing so, you strengthen your bond and respect for one another.

What Is an Intervention

The final step of the intervention is the follow-up. The intervention is just the beginning of our working relationship.

While your loved one is in treatment, Dr. Stanger provides case management services with the treatment center. Additionally, she continues to work with the family to provide Solution-Focused Coaching to help each person identify a plan for their own healing process. Support and guidance for the family and client during their transition from treatment to home or new living situation is also included.


Family Resources

It is important for every family to have their own resources for healing. In addition to Dr. Stanger’s services, it is always advised that each family member consider going to their own support group the find the healing community that is right for them. Long-term healing is often more successful when it involves a community. Depending on your situation, you and your family may each consider one or more of the following resources:

Alcoholics Anonymous
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institute on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence
Adult Children of Alcoholics
Overeaters Anonymous
Debtors Anonymous
Gamblers Anonymous
Narcotics Anonymous