1-855-373-6271
1-855-373-6271

How Do I Find an Interventionist?

A drug or alcohol intervention is a process that helps friends, loved ones and co-workers get an addict that they care about to accept treatment. An intervention is commonly used after other attempts have been made unsuccessfully to get someone to accept that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol. An intervention is done out of compassion and concern and is meant to be nonjudgmental in nature. The ultimate goal would be either the individual in treatment, or consequences enforced as a result of treatment being refused. An intervention can be a difficult process for all concerned, and it is most often necessary to have a professional interventionist in on the process to help offer structure and guidance.

Addiction is an emotionally charged issue and negatively impacts everyone involved. It can be difficult to discuss addiction even casually, and the idea of confronting the addicted person in an intervention can be quite overwhelming. It is for this reason that a professional interventionist can be helpful and even necessary. An interventionist can put the participants in control, and help make it the success that everyone is hoping for. A professional interventionist can also add their professional expertise and help with the more difficult cases such as individuals who suffer from mental illness or are exhibiting violent or self-destructive behavior, in which case a professional interventionist is a necessity not a luxury.

Professional interventionists specialize in dealing with people with addiction who are resistant to help. Most professional interventionists are licensed or credentialed specialists who offer a full spectrum of services that includes the pre-intervention work such as preparing intervention participants, overseeing the actual intervention, and helping to follow through on the critical post-intervention work. Many professional interventionists also have another degree or specialization, such as being a certified chemical dependency counselor.

There are sure to be many individuals out there claiming to be interventionists. Be sure to examine the credentials, references, and experience of the interventionists being considered to ensure that your intervention is a success. If the so-called interventionist is not a reliable choice, you run the risk of alienating your loved one and making it even harder to get them into treatment. One way to be sure is to check the individual's credentials through the Association of Intervention Specialists. Interventionists who are certified through the AIS will have BRI-I or BRI-II after their name.

Minimum requirements for BRI I are:

  • Hold a current ICRC (International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium) /NAADAC (The Association for Addiction Professionals) certification and/or a state recognized certification/license in a counseling related field.
  • Have malpractice insurance, a minimum of $1,000,000/3,000,000.
  • Successfully complete a minimum of 14 hours of training/education on intervention.
  • Have a minimum of two years of work experience conducting interventions.
  • Submit 3 peer evaluations and supervised practical experiences.
  • Comply with BRI Ethics Code.
  • Passing an oral and/or written exam may be required.
  • A letter from your board showing your license is in good standing.
  • Must continue training by obtaining 5 continuing education credits per year.

Minimum Requirements for a BRI II:

  • Be or meet the requirements to be a BRI II.
  • Successfully complete a minimum of 14 hours of training/education specific to addictions other than to alcohol and drugs, i.e. gambling, food, sex, etc.
  • Have three additional years of work experience conducting interventions.
  • Submit supervised practical experience.
  • Passing an oral and/or written exam may be required.
  • Must continue training by obtaining 5 continuing education credits per year.

Professional drug rehab programs also carry directories of interventionists, and are more than happy to release information and refer intervention participants to the interventionist that would best suit their needs. Intervention participants will want to work with an interventionist who has successfully gotten addicts into treatment before. After all, an intervention is sometimes the last opportunity for participants to help their loved one, and it must be done right.

Once you have located someone who may be a prospect for your intervention, find out which intervention model they utilize. For example, the Johnson Model focuses on the positive aspects of the individual's personality and the negative changes that occur as a result of their addiction. The addict is confronted with specific examples of this which is presented in a loving, caring way with all participants reaffirming the same message. This model often results in a successful intervention, with on average of more than 90% of addicts accepting treatment. If the addict declines treatment, the group enforces consequences that will make a considerable negative impact on his/her life which often is enough to convince them in the end to accept treatment.

The Systemic Model involves the entire family, with all persons involved going into recovery. All participants are educated about addiction and receive counseling, with or without the addicted person. Regardless if the addict chooses to participate in treatment or not, the family members that are being adversely impacted by the addict's behavior is making the changes that will hopefully motivate the addict to stop and get help.

The ARISE Model is a three-phase process that actually invited the addict to join the intervention process right from the beginning with no surprises. The ARISE process steers clear of laying blame and guilt that accompanies addiction, and brings everyone together to take part in the process. All that have been touched by the individual's behavior becomes involved, with the process focusing on both individual and family healing and recovery. The ARISE model has an 83% success rate of getting addicted individuals into treatment, with 61% sober by the end of the first year.

Professional interventionists may also have a specialty field, and you may want to find out what that is when doing your research. For instance, the individual that you are trying to get into treatment may be a teen or young adult. Or maybe the individual that the intervention is being held for is an alcoholic only, and has never touched drugs. The addict may also have a dual diagnosis, whereby they are struggling with addiction to several different kinds of abusive substances. Whatever the case may be, see if there is one field on particular that your interventionist specializes in and has had success getting individuals into treatment for.

An intervention is more than a one-time meeting, it is a prolonged process and you will want to work with an interventionist who will stick with you through it. An interventionist with case-management experience can help you through each phase of the intervention. The first phase typically entails the interventionist interviewing the participants to determine which factors will help and which will distract from getting in the addict to accept treatment. It also gives the interventionist the opportunity to discover who has been enabling the addict's habit, so that this can be remedied as part of the confrontation and intervention process. Participants which may undermine the intervention process can also be weeded out at this point to ensure the intervention will be a success. All concerns and foreseen obstacles can be brought up at this time and resolved prior to the actual meeting.

It is important that the intervention participants are carefully selected, because as mentioned above you wouldn't want to have anyone present that would undermine the intervention. The final list of participants and their performance during the intervention will ultimately decide the failure or success of the process. A professional interventionist can assist in the selection process and will be able to give an unbiased opinion of who should be part of the intervention and who shouldn't. Ideally, an intervention would include anywhere between three and eight participants who are well-respected, loved and admired by the addict. This can include the partner or spouse, siblings and immediate family members, extended family members, close friends, colleagues and teachers. It is important not to include individuals who have or may have their own problems with addiction, or anyone else who may sabotage the intervention even if they are well-liked by the addict.

One of the most crucial steps that many families need help with is choosing the right treatment program for the addict. An interventionist knows what types of drug and alcohol rehab programs are available and often work with these facilities in the course of their work. An interventionist spends time at these types of facilities and can give first-hand accounts regarding the standards of care and success rates. At a drug or alcohol rehab facility the addict will be able to address all areas of their life that present challenges to their recovery. They will take part in counseling and other treatment services and techniques which will help them develop coping skills so that they don't fall back into a life of substance abuse when treatment is complete.

An interventionist can work with the drug rehab and addict to develop an appropriate aftercare program as needed. An aftercare plan may include 12-step meetings, outpatient treatment, living in a transitional house, and other steps which would ensure that the individual continues to have consistent gains and remains sober. Some aftercare plans may include the individual residing at a sober living facility or halfway house upon completion of treatment. This will help them re-acclamation to society and is a smoother transition than just being thrown back into an environment that could cause a relapse.

An intervention is a process that can be stressful for everyone involved, and the more help that intervention participants can get the better. While an intervention can be conducted without a professional interventionist, family and loved ones always run the risk of running into a situation during the intervention that they will not know how to resolve or overcome. This will only jeopardize the success of the intervention, and give the addict even more reason to go out and continue their destructive behavior. Why put everyone back at square zero or worse, when there are professional interventionists that are knowledgeable and experienced and can get the individual in treatment and give their family and loved ones relief.

It takes a great amount of knowledge and skill to become an interventionist. When looking for one, you can start out by asking intervention experience history, intervention methodology, their training, and their certification status. It is also important that you trust the interventionist, as whoever you chose could mean the difference between your loved one getting help or continuing their destructive behavior. If you need help orchestrating an intervention for your loved one, contact a drug rehab near you to find a directory of professional interventionists in your area that can make this happen.