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What Is An Addiction Interventionist?

An addiction interventionist is a professional who leads an addicted individual to accept treatment for their drug or alcohol problem. The role of the interventionist is to find the best people — usually family and close friends —  to help the person battling addiction without seeking help on their own. 

Essentially, the interventionist creates a recovery team that helps get the addicted person to accept treatment and begin the road to recovery. 

The main purpose of an interventionist is not to conduct the intervention program on their own, but rather get the addicted person to accept treatment. This is done mainly by changing the dynamics between friends and family who want to aid in recovery. 

Most importantly, an interventionist is hired and utilized on behalf of the family’s wishes, not on behalf of the addicted person themself.

What Qualifications Must an Interventionist Have?

No qualifications are required to perform an intervention. However, individuals can earn intervention specialist certifications, like the certified intervention professional (CIP). To achieve this certification, one must undergo extensive training and pass an exhaustive examination.

A vital part of this intervention specialist certification guarantees those using the service that liability insurance is included. This is a standard for licensed professionals.

At a minimum, your addiction intervention specialist must have professional liability insurance. Unfortunately, far too many people enter the field without completely understanding what an intervention aims to accomplish, operating without insurance, and little to no training.

With the growing requirement for interventions, many treatment centers are beginning to offer the service. In some cases, treatment centers use a non-qualified staff member who is not necessarily an interventionist but instead an employee who aims to convince your loved one to join their facility. This employee may not be able to achieve what an interventionist is supposed to do and likely does not hold proper intervention specialist certifications.

If a treatment facility sends you someone in-house without recommending you to an outside professional, be sure to ask questions and ask for credentials.

A big red flag is being told that the intervention is either included in the treatment fees or is covered by insurance. An intervention is never included in the price of addiction treatment and is not protected by insurance as there is no billing policy for this reason.

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When to Hire an Addiction Interventionist For Your Loved One

Some people are able to recognize that they need help for their addiction and seek treatment on their own. But many others are unable to do so and typically require an intervention. 

If you suspect somebody is struggling with a drug or alcohol-related addiction, they may benefit from an intervention. 

It is often difficult to determine when someone needs an intervention for addiction treatment. Fortunately, a professional interventionist can help. An interventionist is essential if the person suffering from the addiction also has a history of the following:

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

People who have experienced one or more of these conditions can be unpredictable in an intervention. Professional help should be sought from an interventionist to help begin the treatment process. 

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

Types of Intervention Services

There are four common forms of intervention:

Simple Intervention 

Simple intervention usually involves one or more family members confronting the addicted person. The goal is to help them face their addiction and begin the treatment and recovery process.

Classical Intervention

A classical intervention usually involves planning from everyone involved, except the addicted person. The attendees will meet up before the official intervention to plan. This intervention technique also often utilizes a certified intervention professional, which offers support not only to the addicted person, but also the relatives and close friends involved.

Family System Intervention

Family system interventions are useful when multiple people in a family are struggling with addiction, as it also helps repair damaged family bonds. The person or people suffering from addiction benefit from the altered family experience and often find increased motivation to recover through this comprehensive support system.

Crisis Intervention 

Crisis interventions are impromptu interventions that occur when an acute crisis makes it clear that rehab is immediately necessary. The main goal in these situations is to optimize safety and get the affected person help as soon as possible.

In addition to these forms of intervention, there are four official models that professional interventionists use in conjunction with families and friends of the addicted individual. The intervention needed depends on the severity of the situation and the willingness of the individual. 

These four intervention models include:

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

Benefits of Addiction Intervention

There are many benefits of addiction intervention — 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. 

In addition to their effectiveness for helping addicts, interventions may also help families and close friends of addicts by: 

  • Allowing them to air out grievances 
  • Express pent-up feelings or concerns caused by the addiction 

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Is Interventionism Effective for Substance Addiction?

Interventionism is effective for both substance and alcohol addiction. With that being said, there are important things to consider when thinking about staging an intervention.

If an intervention is not done properly, it will not only undermine its effectiveness and potentially lead to sustained substance use, but it could also strain family relationships. 

Interventions are emotionally charged. Members of the intervention team strive to describe details of how the addiction is causing pain and suffering in their own respective lives. Itemizing specific details often helps addicted people understand the harmful nature of their behavior that affects the people they love. 

Independent research shows that up to 90 percent of interventions guided by professionals will succeed in getting the addicted person to accept treatment. 

What Happens After an Intervention?

After a successful intervention, there are several addiction treatment options available to aid the individual through recovery. The first step is to begin detox, where the affected individual can begin to cleanse their system of the substance being abused. This can be done at a residential treatment center or under the care and watch of medical professionals. 

Depending on the substance and the severity of the addiction, detox can also be done at home by the individual. However, this is not recommended because withdrawal symptoms can be serious and should be managed by medical professionals. 

How Many Interventions Does Someone Need?

If performed correctly, interventions only need to occur once. When working with an addiction intervention company or individual that focuses on serving families and their loved ones as a priority, the interventionist and their team can help a family choose the best treatment plan.

Choosing the right interventionist with the right skills and knowledge can mean the difference between performing an interventionist once or several times.

A drug interventionist’s role involves more than getting the individual into treatment. It consists of removing all obstacles to treatment and remaining engaged through any issues that you and your loved one will experience through the recovery process.

Interventions are not complete when an individual agrees to treatment. Recovery is a long-term process and not a single event. Most addicts in rehabilitation typically do not attend a treatment center close to home. Typically, they travel several states to separate themselves from the enabling, co-dependent family system and comfort zone that enabled them to drink or take drugs.

Even when an interventionist is local, they still travel with your loved one to a destination outside the geographical comfort zone, reducing the ability to leave when issues arrive. As such, it does not matter where the interventionist is local or must travel.

Hiring an interventionist is not usually about the location or simply getting the individual into treatment. It is about changing circumstances and leading to recovery. For recovery to work, the addict and the family must learn how they reached this point, what needs to change, and why.

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NIDA. "Types of Treatment Programs." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 3 Jun. 2020,

NIAAA. “A Pocket Guide for Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

AAP. “Substance Use Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth.” American Academy of Pediatrics.

Levy S, Bagley S. Substance use: initial approach in primary care. In: Adam HM, Foy JM, eds. Signs and Symptoms in Pediatrics. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2015:887–900,

DSM-5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition; NIAAA, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Us); Office of the Surgeon General (Us). Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, And Health [Internet]. Washington (DC): Us Department of Health and Human Services; 2016 Nov. Chapter 4, Early Intervention, Treatment, And Management of Substance Use Disorders, 

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