No family ever pictures holding an intervention.
It’s an uncomfortable place to be and you’ll want to be sure that you pick the right person to guide you through the process.
By the time your family reaches this point, you have likely gone through a lengthy period of stress watching your loved one struggle with addiction. You may have already tried to intervene on your own or you may prefer to work with a professional interventionist only. How do you pick the right interventionist for your family’s needs?
An Interventionist Works with the Entire Family
When you are trying to pick an interventionist, keep in mind that the person you choose will be working with your entire family. The reason for this is simple: addiction is a family disease.
Your addicted loved one may be the person who is abusing drugs or alcohol, but the rest of the family is feeling the effects of the disease. Substance use disorders have a profound impact on relationships within the family.
A professional interventionist takes time to get to know the people closest to the addicted person. Often family members and friends do things under the guise of “helping” an addict that can make the situation worse. These people need help changing their behavior to support the recovery process.
When looking for an interventionist, it’s important to keep in mind that the person selected should be someone the entire family will respect and listen to throughout the intervention process.
How to Pick an Interventionist to Work with Your Family
A good strategy for choosing an interventionist is to write up a list of questions you would like to ask in advance. Ask the same questions to each interventionist on your “short list” and compare the answers to help you make your final decision. The following are some suggested questions to ask candidates.
How did you become interested in becoming an interventionist?
It’s not uncommon for people who become interventionists to be in recovery themselves. However, this is not a requirement to enter this career field. Some interventionists are drawn to it from previous experience with an addicted family member or friend. Others come from a background in social work, counseling, or psychology.
An interventionist should expect that a new client will have some questions about his background and be prepared to share some basic information as part of the hiring process.
What are your credentials?
You’ll want to find someone who carries the professional credentials, “CIP” after their name. This stands for “Certified Intervention Professional” and indicates the interventionist has completed a minimum of two years of work experience in a position providing substance abuse interventions half the time, completed at least five interventions, and facilitated in five interventions within the previous three years. Certified Intervention Professionals must also pass a written exam.
Do you have experience with the type of addiction our loved one is dealing with?
Feel free to ask whether the interventionist you are considering has ever worked with families in a similar situation to yours. Different situations require different skills. For example, teens and young adults need a different approach from an interventionist than a middle-aged adult who has been abusing alcohol for years while holding down an executive level position.
What type of intervention model(s) do you use?
If you have seen the television program “Intervention,” you are familiar with the type of intervention that takes the addicted person by surprise. This is not the only model that interventionists can use when working with families. Some interventionists have a preferred method or methods they use, while others are more flexible in their approach.
What is your fee and what services does it include?
The interventionist’s fee will vary, depending on his level of experience. It will likely include spending time with your family before the intervention, attending the intervention, and traveling with your loved one to a treatment center if the offer of help is accepted. If the interventionist has to travel to your home to conduct the intervention, you will likely have to cover these expenses as well.
Can you help us find a treatment center for our loved one?
It can be overwhelming for a family to try to find a treatment center for a family member that treats their type of addiction, is appropriate for their needs, and will work with the family’s insurance coverage and available funds to make the cost of treatment manageable. An interventionist may offer this service; if so, ask whether the interventionist routinely works with certain treatment centers or is independent. You’ll want to choose someone who can consider the addicted person’s needs and recommend the appropriate treatment center.
What happens if the intervention is unsuccessful?
The intervention could be considered unsuccessful if your loved one refuses to show up or turns down the offer of going to treatment. Ask the interventionist whether he will schedule another session with your loved one and/or be available to provide advice and support for your family members as they stick to the “bottom lines” they shared during the intervention.
What is your availability?
Once you have made the decision to hold an intervention, there isn’t any advantage to the addicted person to wait. You’ll want to find an interventionist who is available to work with your family within a reasonable time to move things forward. If an interventionist you are considering isn’t available for several months, you may want to look at another candidate.