About Interventions and Interventionists
- Interventions are face-to-face meetings between a person abusing drugs or alcohol and people who are affected by that abuse.
- Family and friends can stage drug or alcohol interventions or seek help from a professional interventionist.
- An intervention comes with serious risks that you should consider before carrying one out. An interventionist can help manage these risks.
- If the intervention doesn’t work, you may need to reach out to a professional for additional help.
- Not sure whether you need to do an intervention? Look for warning signs of addiction such as changes in weight, poor personal hygiene, and evidence of theft to obtain drugs or alcohol.
What Is an Intervention?
An intervention is a professionally directed face-to-face meeting between a person struggling with addiction and people who have been affected by that person’s addiction. This may include family, friends, and sometimes employers and/or coworkers.
The goal of an intervention is to motivate a person with an addiction to seek help with his or her drug and/or alcohol problem.
What Is an Interventionist?
An interventionist is a person who is trained in organizing and orchestrating effective interventions. They have the educational background and experience necessary to conduct a productive intervention.
Look for the certifications BRI I and BRI II when seeking an interventionist.
The Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) is one of the most widely accepted certification boards for interventionists. To become an AIS Board Certified Intervention Specialist, members must demonstrate ample experience in the field of intervention as well as the proper educational background to support their counseling career.
AIS has two levels of interventionist certification: BRI I and BRI II. The second level, BRI II, represents more experience in the field of intervention than the BRI I certification. Look for these certifications when seeking professional help with organizing an intervention.
To find an AIS Board Certified Intervention Specialist in your area, check out the list of certified specialists in your state.
Working With an Interventionist
A professional drug interventionist can help you orchestrate a meeting to try to help the person with addiction acknowledge they struggle with substance misuse and seek treatment. The interventionist facilitates and supervises everything that takes place in an intervention.
The interventionist will often meet with family members and friends of the affected individual prior to the intervention. During this preliminary meeting, the entire group will work together to design an approach and rehearse the intervention strategy. This may include preparing individual letters that detail personal experiences or describe pain that has been caused by the addiction.
As part of the intervention process, the interventionist will present treatment options and intervention approaches to the individual. There are many treatment options available today, including inpatient residential and outpatient programs.
Is Intervention Necessary?
Although some addicts do recognize the problems their addiction has created and seek treatment and recovery on their own, this is not the case with everyone. Many people are unable or reluctant to recognize that their substance abuse is responsible for the problems they are experiencing at work, with their health, and in their relationships.
In some cases, individuals suffering from substance abuse may blame circumstances or other people for their problems. When this happens, a trained interventionist can help to break through this cycle of denial and help the individual recognize the effects of his or her substance abuse.
If you are uncertain whether an intervention may be necessary for your loved one or family member, consider the following warning signs of addiction that may indicate the need for an intervention:1
- Significant changes in weight.
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Fights with friends and family members.
- Promises to get help that are not kept.
- Withdrawal from family functions.
- Untruthful accounts of whereabouts.
- Evidence of theft or other crimes in support of ongoing substance abuse.
- Denial of drug and/or alcohol use.
Types of Interventions
Several intervention services are available, and the type of drug intervention service you select will depend on your situation.
- For instance, if you are concerned that a coworker may have a drug or alcohol abuse problem, a corporate intervention may be a viable solution, where only employers and coworkers are present.
- Alternately, if you have a family member who is currently battling addiction, a family drug intervention may better suit your situation. This involves only the immediate family in the intervention process.
- Intervention services are also designed specifically to assist teens. These include Teen Intervene, which involves a therapist meeting alone with the teen at risk before the entire family meets together to discuss the teen’s substance use.
In addition to these services, a number of different intervention approaches are available. Two commonly used approaches are:
- The Johnson Intervention – The user is confronted by a group of people who care about them, and they discuss the negative consequences of the person’s abuse, including what will happen if the person does not seek treatment. One study found that the Johnson Model had a higher rate of success compared to four other intervention types.
- The ARISE Intervention – A less confrontational approach, where the user is involved in the intervention process from the beginning. This style emphasizes compassion and the group healing of both the substance user and the ones who care about them so that everyone works toward recovery together.
Risks of Doing an Intervention
Arranging an intervention does not work for every situation. The process can be difficult and painful for everyone involved. Sometimes, the plan can backfire and the substance user may end up feeling alienated and distant from the ones who care about them.
These risks should be carefully considered before deciding to organize an intervention. The help of a trained professional can help mitigate these risks. Interventionists are experienced in the risks and struggles that come with interventions, and they know how to best prepare to avoid these negative consequences as much as possible.
Breaking Through the Cycle of Addiction
It is possible to break through the cycle of addiction. With the help of drug or alcohol intervention services, you can assist your loved ones in recognizing the effects of their substance abuse and help them find the assistance they need.
Call 1-888-319-2606 Helpline Information to discuss available treatment options and for assistance in finding a professional interventionist or substance abuse intervention program that is right for your needs or the needs of your loved one.
For more information on professionally directed formal interventions, check out any of the following organizations:
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence National Intervention Network (NCADD)
- SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
- SAMHSA’s Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)
. National Institute on Drug Abuse. What are some signs and symptoms of someone with a drug use problem?
You are never too old to improve your health and quality of life!