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Updated on December 9, 2022
5 min read

4 Types of Interventions & When to Hire an Interventionist

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

This is done by changing the dynamics between friends and family who want to aid in recovery.

Essentially, they form an intervention team to help the addicted person accept treatment. 

Most importantly, an interventionist is hired on behalf of the family, rather than the person who needs treatment.

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 not only to the addicted person, but also their loved ones.

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.

In addition to these forms of intervention, there are four official models that interventionists use.  

These include:

  • 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

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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 substance abuse, they may benefit from an intervention. 

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.

What Qualifications Must an Interventionist 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.

At minimum, they must have liability insurance. 

Unfortunately, many people enter the field without understanding what an intervention aims to accomplish. They may operate without insurance, and with little to no training.

With the growing requirement for interventions, many treatment centers are beginning to offer the service. In some cases, treatment centers may use a non-qualified staff member.

This person is not an interventionist, but an employee who aims to convince your loved one to accept treatment.  

This employee may not be able to achieve what an interventionist is supposed to do. They may lack proper training.

If this happens be sure to ask for credentials.

If you're told an intervention is included in the treatment fees or covered by insurance, this is a red flag. Interventions are never included in the price of addiction treatment and are not covered by insurance.

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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 helping addicts, interventions can help their loved ones in two ways:

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

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.

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. 

Research shows 90% of interventions guided by specialists succeed in getting the addicted person to accept help. 

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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. 

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. It entails removing all obstacles and remaining 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.

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Updated on December 9, 2022
6 sources cited
Updated on December 9, 2022
  1. NIDA. "Types of Treatment Programs." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 3 Jun. 2020.
  2. NIAAA. “A Pocket Guide for Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  3. AAP. “Substance Use Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth.” American Academy of Pediatrics.
  4. 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.
  5. DSM-5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition; NIAAA, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  6. 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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