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5 Things to Know Before Calling an Interventionist

5 Things to Know Before Calling an Interventionist

When a loved one refuses to recognize the power an addiction has over his or her life, an interventionist can often provide the necessary support

When a loved one refuses to recognize the power an addiction has over his life, an interventionist can often provide the necessary support. But there are certain things it is important to understand before you reach out to an addiction professional.

What Is an Interventionist?

This goes without saying, but the first thing to understand before contacting an interventionist is what this type of individual can do for your loved one, and by contrast what an interventionist cannot or will not do.

According to the Association of Intervention Specialists, “The interventionist is the individual who helps identify the appropriate people in the addict’s life who will become an influential part of a recovery team. The team will enable their individual and family to accept treatment and recovery. The interventionist supports, educates, provides guidance, direction and training, as well as the facilitation of the intervention and aftercare.”

The interventionist supports the family and friends who are lovingly confronting the addict in a non-threatening way. Together with the interventionist, this group of people who love and care for the addict can provide a structured and supportive opportunity to seek the help necessary to win the fight against addiction.

When you choose to seek the help of an interventionist, it is vital to know what will not happen as well. To a certified interventionist, an intervention is:

  • Never an ambush
  • Not coercive or shame based
  • Fundamentally founded on love and honesty
  • A planned interaction among friends and family intended to modify harmful addictive habits

The Association of Intervention Specialists stresses that an intervention is primarily based on love and honesty.

What Questions to Ask the Interventionist

Hiring an interventionist is no different than hiring any other professional. You want to make sure that you ask a series of questions to get the best candidate. Yet many don’t know what questions to ask a person for this role. The following list, though not exhaustive, is a good start for any interview with an interventionist:

  • What type of intervention do you suggest?
  • What is your educational background, and are you certified?
  • What other types of families have you worked with in the past?
  • What are your fees, and how are they arranged?
  • What are your next steps, if the intervention succeeds? If it fails?

You want to feel comfortable with the interventionist and trust his or her experience and expertise.

Learn About the Specific Addiction

Before planning an intervention or reaching out to an interventionist, it is vital to have an understanding of your loved one’s specific addiction. While certain characteristics are common across all addictions, there are various symptoms that vary across substances. An alcohol addiction and an addiction to methamphetamines will present very differently at all stages of recovery. You will need to understand each of these stages, in order to be prepared and aware of what “normal” looks like in recovery.

A number of resources are available for you to research. The Mayo Clinic is a great source of information at your fingertips. Another strong resource is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, which provides both clinical and social resources. The National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence is a third powerful resource available to you. Your local library or primary care physician will also have a great deal of information for you. Regardless of where you choose to gather your data from, it is vital that you become informed.

How Does an Intervention Work?

While many people believe that an intervention is a single meeting where friends and family gather to confront an addict, the truth is that so much more goes into the process. One key and often overlooked component of an effective intervention is the presentation of a united front. It is vital that all individuals participating in the intervention are on the same page, giving the same message, for the same reasons.

Any divergence of purpose or intent in the intervention will only serve to lessen the impact and usefulness of the intervention. For this reason, it is typical that all those interested in participating in the intervention have at least one meeting, and potentially more, to discuss the language and process that will be used. Once everyone is on the same page, or those who are unable to come to a place of unity exclude themselves, then it is the right time to plan the actual intervention.

Will the Intervention be Successful?

There is never a guarantee that any attempt will work, but statistics show a 90 percent success rate when an interventionist is used. Note that this statistic measures the number of individuals seeking outside help after an intervention, rather than the number of individuals who successfully beat an addiction.

It is important to note that even the “failed interventions” are generally successful later. The goal of an intervention is to push a loved one to seek help, and sometimes that person is just not ready. But a properly executed intervention will still set the stage for him to seek help at a later time, and most do just that after the fact.

You Intervene Because You Care

Intervention is always difficult, whether it is successful or not. It is vital to remind yourself over and over again that you choose intervention because you love the person struggling with an addiction. The person you try to help may not be thrilled with your choice, and may even throw angry or accusatory words your way. These painful words don’t change why you make the choice for intervention though.

If your intervention is a success, rehabilitation may be the next step. If your loved one is ready for a change, there is support available. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction. They can help you find your way.