What to Ask an Interventionist to Find the Best One for Your SituationAnna Ciulla
Staging an intervention for an addicted loved one can be scary and stressful. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. Breathe more easily with this much-needed advice for how to find an interventionist you can trust.
Hiring an interventionist is not something to undertake lightly. Usually, when loved ones, family members or a spouse or partner of an addict contemplate using the services of an interventionist, the situation is already spiraling out of control. Emotions run high. Objectivity is difficult to maintain, if it’s there at all. You want the best interventionist to help get your loved one struggling with addiction into treatment as quickly and effectively as possible.
How do you find a professional interventionist? Check the member directories of the Network of Independent Interventionists (NII) and the Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS). After you’ve identified several, here are some questions you should ask.
1. WHAT IS AN INTERVENTION?
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), professional intervention is, quite simply, a directed education process and a coming together of family members, friends and loved ones, sometimes employers, of an addicted individual with the express goal of getting the addict to accept and go into treatment. The addict may be in complete denial of the existence of a problem with substance abuse, process addictions and/or co-occurring mental health disorder and be recalcitrant, belligerent, and unwilling to seek treatment. A professional interventionist is trained and skilled in breaking through tough walls of defense and denial, showing the addict that there is both a connection between addiction and the life problems he or she has been experiencing while presenting a path in the form of a structured opportunity to obtain help to overcome addiction.
2. WHAT IS YOUR TRAINING, CERTIFICATION AND LICENSING?
Professional interventionists will have sufficient training, certification and licensing to qualify them to conduct an intervention in your state. As you’ll want to secure the services of the most qualified interventionist that can best serve your loved one or family member’s needs, look for the designation “CIP” after their name. This is a credential that stands for “certified interventionist professional,” and is from the Pennsylvania Certification Board, which covers interventionists in all U.S. states. Other titles to look for, in addition to CIP, are Board Registered Interventionist (BRI-I or II). The interventionist may have various counseling degrees, such as psychotherapist (PhD to an M.S.), licensed alcohol and drug counselor (LADC), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC), and/or certified chemical dependency counselor (CCDC), among others. The key credential, however, is CIP after the interventionist’s name.
3. DO YOU CARRY LIABILITY INSURANCE?
Also inquire about liability insurance. The National Association of Intervention Specialists requires Board-certified intervention specialists to maintain a minimum malpractice liability insurance of $1,000,000 to $3,000,000.
4. WHAT INTERVENTION MODEL DO YOU FOLLOW?
There are several intervention models used by professional interventionists. Some have even developed their own approach after years of experience performing interventions. Similarities exist between the models, and the interventionist you’re considering may have combined several elements of the different models in his or her practice. What’s most important isn’t the model the interventionist uses, it’s the explanation of the different models to be used. The most common intervention models include the Johnson Intervention Model, Pressures to Change, ARISE, Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), and Systemic Family Intervention (SFI).
5. WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS?
During the initial conversation or meeting with a potential interventionist, it’s important to ask what process he or she follows. In addition to the intervention model, what can you expect in terms of how intervention is carried out, who is involved, what kinds of information and resources on addiction, intervention and getting the addict into treatment will the interventionist provide you and other participants in the intervention?
6. WHAT IS YOUR SUCCESS RATE FOR INTERVENTIONS?
When the situation involving your loved one or family member’s addiction has gotten to the point where you don’t know where to turn and previous attempts by you and other concerned individuals has not resulted in the addict’s agreeing to enter treatment, the decision to go with a professional intervention may be the best hope of treatment possibility. A key question to ask is what the interventionist’s success rate has been for interventions. While the primary goal is to have the addict accept treatment and immediately go to the treatment facility, not every person’s schedule is conducive to such abrupt action. A few days may be necessary to get things in order. If the addict goes into treatment within a brief period, the intervention can be considered a success. Ask the interventionist what success he or she has had in getting addicts to accept and go into treatment. According to the Association of Intervention Specialists, “most interventionists will state that their success rate…is in the 80-90 percent range,” and AIS records “bear this out.”
7. WHY DID YOU START DOING INTERVENTIONS?
You may wish to casually ask why the professional began doing interventions. This will likely give you a better indication of his or her personal experience with addiction, as many interventionists have either directly gone through addiction and treatment, or have extensive training and experience with addicts in terms of counseling and encouraging treatment. Hearing the interventionist’s recovery journey will give you a better glimpse into addiction and recovery, what to expect, and help you feel more confident with the interventionist. Make sure that any interventionist you select is solidly in recovery.
8. CAN YOU PROVIDE A LIST OF REFERENCES?
For something as important as getting your addicted loved one to accept and go into treatment, you’ll want to obtain a solid list of references from the professional interventionist. These should include at least 10 from state-licensed treatment centers the interventionist has worked with in the past five years, as well as five personal references you can communicate with regarding the interventionist’s credentials, process, effectiveness and recommendations.
9. WHAT PREPARATIONS ARE THERE FOR THE INTERVENTION?
Ask about the preparations you and other participants in the intervention must make, including how many and how often, as well as how long, the interventionist meets with the group agreeing to be a part of the intervention. Learning healthy ways to address the addict’s addiction and effective tools to use going forward, such as how to counter objections, and present a united front in the overarching goal to convince the loved one to accept and go into treatment should be discussed. Be sure all your questions get answered to your satisfaction.
10. WHAT DOES THE INTERVENTION COST?
Professional interventions are not inexpensive, yet they are often the most effective way to convince someone who’s addicted to drugs, alcohol, process addictions, a combination of substance abuse and mental health disorder, poly-drug addiction, who refuses to believe there’s a problem, has had multiple legal, health, career, family and other negative consequences due to addiction to accept treatment. A professional intervention can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 or more as out-of-pocket expense, since insurance doesn’t cover intervention. Some of the expense may, however, be tax deductible, so check with your CPA or tax preparer on this item. Expect fees to be on the higher end if you choose a more experienced interventionist or if there is travel involved. Since fees are non-refundable, and you must sign a contract and pay upfront, make sure you understand everything that is involved in this transaction before you sign. Also, remember that the interventionist is employed by you, not the addict. Only you can retain the interventionist’s services.
11. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
In addition to finding out specifics for the pre-intervention phase, be sure to ask what you must do during the intervention itself. This includes obtaining information for others participating in the intervention, making sure you have enough pamphlets or material that can help explain the intervention process so that others can make the choice to support and encourage your loved one, family member or friend to accept treatment.
12. CAN YOU PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TREATMENT CENTERS?
You’ll find that most interventionists will be able to provide a list of treatment center recommendations based on those his or her clients have gone to. Be sure to do your own homework, however, not only checking references but also contacting the center to make sure it’s a good fit for your addicted loved one or family member, what the financial requirements are, the cost and if the center takes your insurance, where the facility is located, type of benefits and amenities offered, if the facility specializes in treating your loved one or family member’s specific addition, client to staff ratio, and other concerns.
13. ARE YOU AVAILABLE POST-INTERVENTION, POST-TREATMENT?
Interventionists may have different processes and be available for consultation or to answer questions following the intervention and even after treatment. You may be concerned that your loved one who’s accepted treatment following the intervention returns home and appears to be slipping, or decides to quit treatment.
14. HOW DO I KNOW IF THE INTERVENTION IS A SUCCESS?
One of the most-often asked questions when hiring an interventionist is how to know if the process has been successful. The easy answer is that the intervention is considered a success if the individual for whom it has been held agrees to go into treatment and then does enter treatment, whether immediately after the intervention or within a week or two. Depending on the model of intervention used, success can also be defined as loved ones, family members and others participating in the intervention are better equipped to support the addict’s recovery, having gained knowledge about addiction and how to avoid enabling behaviors that may threaten recovery.
15. WHEN ARE YOU AVAILABLE TO DO THE INTERVENTION?
If you’re satisfied with the interventionist’s answers to all your questions, the next thing you’ll want to determine is when he or she is available to conduct the intervention. Keep in mind that your loved one or family member’s addiction didn’t start overnight and learning to overcome addiction is a process that takes time. In addition to the interventionist’s schedule, you need time to arrange for treatment, consider any necessary details such as helping arrange for your loved one or family member’s time off work, getting appropriate childcare or other assistance so there’s minimal disruption and as much as possible is handled ahead of time.
If you are looking for professional intervention help, let Beach House help with our intervention services.
American Psychological Association, “Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT).” Retrieved August 24, 2017
American Psychological Association, “Johnson Intervention.” Retrieved August 24, 2017
American Psychological Association, “Pressures to Change Procedure.” Retrieved August 24, 2017
Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS), “Intervention – What is the Success Rate?” Retrieved August 23, 2017
Career Trend, “How to Become an Intervention Specialist.” Retrieved August 23, 2017
Mayo Clinic, Diseases and Conditions, Mental Illness, “Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction.” Retrieved August 23, 2017
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), “Intervention – Tips and Guidelines,” “What is an intervention?” Retrieved August 23, 2017