Updated on February 6, 2024
4 min read

What Is an Addiction Interventionist?

Key Takeaways

  • An addiction interventionist is a professional who leads an addicted person to accept treatment
  • An intervention is an effective way to help someone struggling with substance use disorder
  • Interventionists provide resources, support, and guidance to help get the individual into treatment. 

What is An Interventionist?

An addiction interventionist is a professional who leads an addicted person to accept treatment. They enlist family and friends to help the person battling addiction.

They form an intervention team to help the addicted person accept treatment. An interventionist is hired on behalf of the family rather than the person who needs treatment.


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Benefits of Addiction Intervention

Addiction intervention has many benefits — and it may end up saving the life of a loved one. 

People struggling with addiction often find it difficult to reach out for help. An intervention may be the only way for an individual to get help before it is too late. It benefits addicts by:

  • Providing the first step towards recovery
  • Raising awareness of the problem
  • Creating an environment of understanding and support
  • Encouraging them to seek treatment and access resources

In addition to helping addicts, interventions can help their loved ones by:

  • Allowing them to air out grievances 
  • Express pent-up feelings or concerns caused by the addiction 
  • Help initiate the process of seeking treatment

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When to Hire an Addiction Interventionist For Your Loved One

It's difficult to determine when someone needs an intervention.  Fortunately, a professional interventionist can help.

An interventionist is essential if the addicted person also has a history of the following:

  • Serious mental illness
  • Violence or aggressiveness
  • Suicidal behaviors or actions
  • Engaging in mood-altering substance abuse

People in these situations can be unpredictable. Professional help should be sought. 

If you are unsure if an interventionist is needed, consult a medical professional. Failure to hire one could lead to avoidable problems on the path to recovery.

Is Interventionism Effective for Substance Addiction?

Interventionism is effective for both substance and alcohol addiction. That said, there are important things to consider when considering staging an intervention. These include:

  • A poorly done intervention could backfire, leading to increased substance use and strained family relationships
  • Interventions can be emotional. Members of the intervention team can find it hard to describe the damage addiction causes in their lives
  • Itemizing specific details often helps addicted people understand the harm they've done to others 

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How Many Interventions Does Someone Need?

If done right, interventions only need to occur once. Choosing the right interventionist can mean the difference between doing an intervention once or several times.

An interventionist’s role involves more than getting the individual into treatment. They must remove all obstacles and stay engaged through the entire recovery process. 

Recovery is a long-term process and not a single event. It is about changing circumstances. 

For recovery to work, the addict and the family must learn how they reached this point, what needs to change, and why. The interventionist is key in this process.

Types of Intervention Services

There are four common forms of intervention:

1. Simple Intervention 

Simple intervention involves one or more family members confronting the addicted person. The goal is to optimize safety and get the affected person help as soon as possible.

2. Classical Intervention

A classical intervention involves planning from everyone involved except the addicted person. The interventionist offers support to the addicted person and their loved one.

3. Family System Intervention

These are useful when multiple people in a family are struggling with addiction. Those involved benefit from the altered family experience and get increased motivation to recover.

4. Crisis Intervention 

These are improvised interventions. They occur when an acute crisis makes it clear that immediate action is necessary. The priority in these situations is to safely get the affected person help as soon as possible.

Models of Addiction Intervention

In addition to these forms of intervention, interventionists use these four official models:

  • Johnson Model — friends and family confront the addicted person in a surprise intervention
  • Arise Model — family comes together to address the situation without surprising the person
  • Invitation Model — friends and family invite the addicted person to a meeting with an interventionist
  • Love First Model — family and friends share letters written to the addicted person at an intervention

Qualifications an Interventionist Should Have

No qualifications are required to perform an intervention. However, individuals can earn certifications, like the certified intervention professional (CIP). 

The CIP certification guarantees those using the service that liability insurance is included. To obtain it, one must undergo extensive training and pass an exhaustive examination. This is a standard for licensed professionals.

Interventionists may also have degrees in mental health counseling or social work. They can specialize in various areas, such as substance use disorder or mental illness.

What Happens After an Intervention?

After a successful intervention, there are several treatment options available.

The first step is to detox. This is when the affected individual cleanses their system of the substance being abused.

Detox can be done either at a facility or at home. Home detox is not recommended because withdrawal symptoms require medical supervision. 

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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