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Performing Interventions For Teens

Interventions are a helpful tool to encourage your teen to recognize that he or she has a problem that requires outside assistance. There are many different ways to conduct an intervention.

Specialists are available to help facilitate the actual intervention, if needed, as well as help prepare loved ones for participating in interventions. It is highly common for the issues that may warrant an intervention to be personal and sensitive, bringing up strong emotions. For this reason it is helpful to have a professional’s assistance to achieve the best possible outcome. This is to help the young person realize that they have a problem and accept help.

Who Is There

The structure and number of individuals present at an intervention will vary on the needs of the teen. Due to the personal nature of the topic at hand, most interventions are done with the close loved one’s of the teenager. This can help to keep the process intimate and personal. While it is not uncommon for the teen to feel threatened and/ or ganged up on, being surrounded by people that are familiar can help ease some of the discomforts that arise for the teen during the intervention. It can also be helpful to have a mental health professional present to keep the intervention on track and to act as a facilitator.

Structure and Goal

Most frequently, an intervention will follow a specific, predetermined plan. Arranging for treatment immediately post the intervention is customary. In some cases the teenager will come into the intervention without prior knowledge. Typically an intervention will consist of loved ones sharing how the teenager’s actions have negatively affected their lives and asking the teen to accept help being offered. After each person has shared, the type of treatment will be presented to the teenager and he or she will be asked if he or she is willing to accept. The primary goal of an intervention is for the teen to accept the help being offered.

Be Prepared

Interventions are riddled with high emotions. The two options for a young person at the end of an intervention are either to accept help or to reject it. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a teen to be unwilling to accept help right away. Be prepared that the choice is ultimately up to the teen, regardless of the effort and time put into preparing for the intervention. If a teen chooses to reject the help being offered, know that it is impossible to help someone that does not want to help him or herself. For this reason coming up with a plan post intervention for either outcome can be very helpful.

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact an individual for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family.



  • Anastasia, T. T., Humphries-Wadsworth, T., Pepper, C. M., & Pearson, T. M. (2015). Family Centered Brief Intensive Treatment: A Pilot Study of an Outpatient Treatment for Acute Suicidal Ideation. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 45(1), 78–83.
  • Blueprints Program for Healthy Youth Development website
  • California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare website
  • Kinney, J. M., Madsen, B., Fleming, T., & Haapala, D. A. (1977). Homebuilders: Keeping families together. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 45(4), 667–673.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Monitoring the Future Survey: High School and Youth Trends.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, Dec. 2017.
  • National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
  • Risky Business.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 29 June 2017.

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