What is an Addiction Interventionist?

Addiction interventions are attempts to encourage a person to seek counseling or rehabilitation for some form of compulsive behavior. Most people associate drug or alcohol abuse with interventions, but other addictions such as gambling, eating disorders, or codependence may also qualify. Friends and family members of the person in question generally make these interventions, with each participant having a turn to explain how the addiction has impacted his or her life. The person will then be encouraged to seek treatment, by an addiction interventionist who may facilitate the intervention.

The interventionist is most often a certified counselor with specialized training in addiction treatment. This person understands the unique struggles of both a person suffering from substance abuse as well as those of their family members. An interventionist will guide the intervention process to those wishing to stage one. He or she will make sure that everyone involved will have the chance to be heard.

How to become a certified Interventionist

To become a certified interventionist, a person will have had specific education about addiction. He or she will have completed coursework pertaining to counseling, and will often be licensed by a governing board of mental health professionals. The interventionist will be empathetic to all of those dealing with addiction, including family and friends of those suffering substance abuse.

While preparing for the intervention, the interventionist will meet with all of the participants. The interventionist will encourage friends and family to focus on the same things when it comes to setting boundaries with the person for whom the intervention is taking place. Participants will write letters to the person, telling them exactly how his or her addiction has affected them. The letters will also outline any consequences for continuing to engage in their negative behaviors.

It is important to note that the addict is not involved in the planning of the intervention. Generally, the intervention will come as a surprise to the addicted person. This may evoke resentment, anger, shame or other negative feeling from the person for whom the intervention is focused on. The interventionist will be sure to detail this possibility with participants so that everyone will be prepared.

The interventionist will have many resources for participants. He or she may encourage friends and family to engage in their own healing, often through counseling or support meetings. Addiction does not solely affect the person suffering from substance abuse; addiction has a ripple effect that spreads through an entire family.

Another resource that the interventionist will have is information on different treatment facilities. He or she can work to find one that would be a good fit for both the addicted individual and the family. It is important for the family and interventionist to work together for a greater chance of success.

An intervention is often the first step to a person’s recovery from addiction because the individual needs to admit his or her problem. It can be a scary time for a family, as there is much uncertainty about the outcome. But with careful planning and teamwork with an interventionist, there can be freedom from addiction for all.

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