An intervention is one of the most loving things a family can do, but it may require calculated deception in order to get the job done.
As an example, I need to get an addict to agree to go to treatment but telling him I am an interventionist up front is not advisable, so I’m introduced as someone the family came across over the course of researching programs. I tell the addict I’m there as a friend, a “negotiator” just to help facilitate things. If the addict asks me if I’m an interventionist, I’ll tell him I’ve been involved in a few interventions and his family offered to throw me a little something and cover my expenses to come out and help get things going.
It may seem like a fine point but it’s important that the addict doesn’t feel threatened. By putting myself on the back burner and not coming off as the person in charge, the addict perceives the ultimatums and the force behind the intervention as coming from the family, not from me. The addict can still feel safe talking to me and the treatment center can be made to seem like a refuge, not a prison.
While the use of deception may be justifiable when it comes to strategy, you do need to be careful about being dishonest in describing the program. It’s alright to exaggerate a little in terms of the amenities: If you can make the satellite TV sounds like a good place to hang out or watch football on the weekends, go ahead. If you want to make the facility’s gym sound like the perfect place for the addict to get his health back, fine. You could probably even make the whole time there sound like a vacation for him from the family. Do not, however, tell your loved one that there is a lake if there isn’t one or that they have a hot tub if they don’t. That’s playing “bad pool.” When your loved one goes there and discovers these lies, he might reject the program on sight, get paranoid about you and the facility, and wonder when the other shoe is going to drop.
In conclusion, be careful how you use deception. Don’t be afraid of it – just be smart about it. And don’t ever use deception out of anger or as a reaction; only use it if you know it will help your cause.