As a result of Mr. Daranyi's extensive involvement and experience in the fields of mental health, rehab, and drug and alcohol abuse treatment, Mr. Daranyi has developed a professional practice of coordinating interventions in special circumstances where his services could be of use.
The Frequently Asked Questions section below answers common questions about interventions such as the process, the costs, and what participants and potential clients can expect or anticipate. The following section is a comprehensive description of the intervention model employed by Mr. Daranyi. Every intervention is unique and unpredictable in outcome. Although some essential structure is implemented to help control the process, it does not guarantee a specific outcome.
It should be understood that Mr. Daranyi's professional practice as an intervention coordinator is completely separate from his legal practice. Although he draws on his experiences and education in law to skillfully assist clients and participants in the intervention process, he does not and will not provide any legal service, opinion, or counsel to any person involved in an intervention that he coordinates. If you find that you have legal questions or concerns during any part of this process, please seek independent legal counsel to help address those concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions
I. What is an intervention?
As the word implies, an intervention is an event that intervenes in or intercedes into a dysfunctional situation or process. It stops something and allows something else to emerge. In the context of alcoholism, addiction, or self-destructive behaviors, an intervention is a carefully choreographed and orchestrated event that aims to significantly impact a person’s life with the intention of redirecting that person to sustained recovery and health.
The subject of an intervention is referred to here as the "beneficiary." In order to have the most impact, interventions in this context are prepared without the beneficiary's knowledge, and the element of surprise is a necessary factor. All of the participants are volunteers.
II. When is an intervention useful or appropriate?
Usually, an intervention is useful or appropriate when the family system or any other system that is involved in the beneficiary’s life has been unable to influence change; the system has been witnessing the beneficiary's continued demise. Often, a family is complicit in the problem. That is to say, the family has been actively enabling, tolerating, or excusing the beneficiary’s behavior. When one or more members of the system decide that they want change for themselves first, an intervention may be appropriate.
III. What situations may call for an intervention?
The obvious situations include untreated alcoholism and all forms of drug addiction (legal and illegal). Others include gambling, sex addiction, food addiction, internet addiction, unhealthy isolation, depression, anxiety and a broad range of mental and emotional disorders that are treatable but have not been adequately addressed. In one case, a family member is observed squandering the family fortune. In another case, a loved one is completely obsessed with work, sports, a project, travel, and other activities that, on the surface, appear normal but are actually causing significant dysfunction and unhealthy consequences for the beneficiary and his or her family.
IV. When is an intervention not useful?
An intervention is not useful when there is little or no chance of a beneficiary accepting the offer of help. Additionally, an intervention is futile if not properly planned and delivered. An intervention is also not useful when the interveners themselves are not fully committed to seeing the process to the end: meaning, when the "system members" are invested only in changing someone else and not in looking at their own part in the underlying problematic dynamics. Lastly, an intervention is impossible when there is insufficient leverage exerted on the beneficiary and when clear, useful bottom lines are not delivered and enforced.
V. Who is the client?
The client is usually one or more of the beneficiary’s family members. Sometimes it is a partner or employer of the beneficiary. Sometimes it is a concerned friend. Sometimes it is a professional organization like a bar association or medical board. The beneficiary is not the client.
VI. Who does the intervention ultimately serve?
Ultimately, if successful, an intervention can serve all of the participants and those impacted by prior negative behaviors. Even if unsuccessful, an intervention changes the old dynamic and creates a new one for the participants. Nothing is ever the same after an intervention, regardless of whether or not the beneficiary agrees to seek help. Those intervening feel like they have been heard and feel as though they have finally taken a stand in their own lives.
An intervention is primarily intended to serve the client group members, not the beneficiary. If the beneficiary "gets it," then that is still a valuable result. But if the beneficiary does not recover, it does not mean that the intervention failed. One of the keys to a successful intervention is educating the participants in letting go of their expectation or need to have it turn out in a particular way.
VII. What happens prior to an intervention?
1. A preliminary assessment is made of the situation to determine whether or not an intervention is warranted. This usually happens by a phone conversation between the intervention coordinator and one or more of the interveners. It can usually be done in an hour or less.
2. An agreement is reached between the client and the intervention coordinator. This can be achieved by phone and can be done quickly.
3. An intervention team of specialists is gathered, organized and briefed by the intervention coordinator. This intervention team can include physicians (usually a psychiatrist and/or addiction specialist), psychologist, counselor, family counselor, or children’s therapist (when applicable). Depending on the complexity of issues, this can usually be done within a week of the initial agreement to proceed.
4. An extensive process of education, training and practice is undertaken by all of the participants to prepare for the event. While this is occurring, the team is choosing the appropriate care facility for the recovery of the beneficiary. This is typically the most time consuming part of the process. Most of it can be done by phone, fax, email, and telephone conferencing. Again, depending on the complexity of issue and number of participants, the process can take from five to twenty hours. It culminates in a face to face meeting, usually the night before the actual intervention, between all of the participants. This is the final "dress rehearsal" for the event and is the most critical part of the preparation process. It usually takes several hours to make the final arrangements.
5. After all is coordinated and properly prepared, the intervention itself occurs. It is usually the shortest and least complicated part of this process. The preparation is the key. Most interventions take an hour or less, but can sometimes last several hours.
VIII. What happens during an intervention itself?
This final event in the process is the opportunity for the interveners, with the support of the team and the coordinator, to tell the truth to the beneficiary about what the impact has been on them individually and on "the system." It requires the participants to experience the paradox of feeling difficult emotions caused by truth telling and the liberation of ending the old dynamic. This is done with compassion, directness, and love.
The intervention includes a strong request that the beneficiary agree to seek professional treatment (arrangements for which have been made in advance). Finally, an ultimatum, or bottom line, is addressed to the beneficiary by each participant. The ultimatum is the lever by which the beneficiary fully appreciates what he or she stands to lose if the request for treatment is ignored.
At the end of the intervention, the beneficiary is given an opportunity to briefly speak and then to decide whether to seek treatment, or to suffer the consequences presented by the ultimatums.
Interventions are not negotiations or conversations between the interveners and the beneficiary. They are unilateral declarations and statements of boundaries. If properly prepared and delivered, the vast majority of interventions result in the beneficiary accepting help and going to treatment.
Please note, however: An intervention is not a guarantee that the beneficiary will agree to treatment, complete treatment, get into recovery, or sustain recovery. It is merely the first important step in a process. An intervention does afford everyone an opportunity to create a new vision for the future. It breaks the old, unhealthy codependency that the system has with the beneficiary. It establishes a new foundation for a new relationship on different terms with all of the participants. But, it does not guarantee healing or recovery for anyone.
IX. What happens after an intervention?
Usually, the beneficiary agrees to seek treatment and immediately leaves for the treatment facility. He or she is escorted by one of the professional team members to assure safe passage. The interveners and the remaining team members stay and debrief the experience and then return to their lives. Under this model of intervention, the team is assembled only for the steps leading up to and including the actual intervention. They are not part of the ongoing treatment team, nor do they continue any involvement with the beneficiary or with the beneficiary’s family after treatment is commenced or concluded.
X. What happens if a person refuses help?
Usually the outcome for the person who refuses help is quite bleak. Most of these illnesses and conditions get worse over time, not better. And if the interveners hold to their bottom line boundaries, the beneficiary is no longer going to be enabled or supported in an unhealthy way in the future. This can be difficult, but it is an important part of the healing process for the interveners and for their system of origin.
XI. What does it cost?
With this suggested approach, there is no such thing as a cheap or inexpensive intervention. These are complex situations with complex systems and dynamics.
Sometimes, what is being confronted has existed in the system for generations. And, because this is a team-approach model of intervention, it requires the independent hiring (by the coordinator) of multiple professionals (depending on the circumstances) with different specialties. There is not a flat fee associated with this model. Each intervention is independently evaluated and priced. Many factors go into the pricing, including: location, complexity and size of the intervening group, complexity of the clinical issues involved, security needs and concerns, the amount of time required to adequately prepare and deliver the intervention, travel time, and so on. Out-of-pocket costs incurred by the intervention team for travel, lodging, meals, and so on are billed separately and are not part of the quoted cost below.
Typically, a local intervention will cost at least $5,000.00. Out of state interventions can be considerably more expensive.
XII. How are financial arrangements made?
Usually, at the time the contract is made, a one-third, non-refundable deposit is delivered to the coordinator.
The second third is paid at the time that the intervention team is assembled and the formal education and preparation process begins with the interveners.
The last third is payable prior to the time of the actual intervention. All payments are made either in cash, by wire transfer, or by cashier’s check. Personal checks and credit cards are not accepted.