How to Find an Interventionist

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You have come to the conclusion that your loved one is in desperate shape – his or her addiction has spiraled out of control and all your attempts to get them help have failed. Now you are considering hiring an addiction interventionist with the hopes that this will finally convince your loved one that treatment is the only option.

Where do you start?

There are many “addiction specialists” out there claiming to be interventionists. However, it is critical that you find someone with exceptional credentials, references, and significant experience if you want your intervention to have the best chance at success. If you choose someone without the proper skills, at best you get lucky, at worst you alienate your loved one and make it even harder to get them to accept treatment.

The first place to go is the Association of Intervention Specialists. They have a code of ethics and a respected route to credentialing through their AIS Certification Board. Those who earn this certification will put the BRI-I or BRI-II credentials after their name. Confirm through AIS that the interventionist has indeed earned the right to use these credentials.  Here on Addiction Intervention we are also building an intervention directory of interventionists with superlative reputations in the field.   You can also call 877-413-6997 and ask for referrals to some interventionists.

Many interventionists will have other degrees, such as an MSW, CCDC, or CSW. These indicate that they have taken the time to train and develop expertise in helping people with mental health or substance abuse issues.

When you call the intervention professional be prepared to give them some basic information about the person who needs treatment. Interventionists have varying processes, but most will want some initial background:

They may also ask questions about other family members and friends who might be involved in the intervention process.

In choosing an interventionist, consider finding someone with case management experience.  An intervention is more than an event. It is a process that involves pre-intervention work, the actual intervention, finding the right treatment center, monitoring the treatment, and developing an after-care program. An interventionist with case-management experience can help you through each phase of the intervention. You most likely do not want an interventionist who stops as soon as your loved one enters treatment.

If you have specific concerns about problems or obstacles (resistant family members, for example) who might sabotage the process, be sure to talk to your interventionist about this. You want to make sure he or she is prepared to deal with any issues you know will come up during the process.

In the end, your goal is to hire an interventionist who has successfully gotten highly resistant people into treatment before. This may be your only opportunity to help your loved one – you want to do it right the first time.