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5 Family Intervention Tips

Don't be Judgmental or Confrontational

The tone that is set by the way people speak at an intervention can have a big impact on whether or not the message is heard and acted upon. Being supportive and positive, rather than judgmental and confrontational, can help set a positive tone and make the addict more willing to listen.

One easy way to stop yourself from taking an accusatory stance is to speak in "I" statements instead of "you" statements. "You" statements can sound aggressive and can cause a person to become defensive. The indirect approach of an "I" statement will be received better and is less likely to come across as insulting [source: Pachter].

Avoid negative words such as "failed" or "neglected." Using positive words will help maintain a constructive tone and atmosphere in which the person is more likely to listen to what you have to say [source: Pachter].

Another way to keep an encouraging tone is to address the benefits of seeking help rather than focusing solely on the negative aspects of the person's behavior. These benefits can be physical, such as sleeping better or having a healthier body, or emotional and relational, such as being able to spend more time with friends and family.

Lastly, remember to be respectful. Hearing bad news is never easy, and hearing it in a harsh way is even worse. It's important to reinforce the fact that you want to help your loved one, and are not simply trying to point out faults.