Drug Rehab Centers Explain: What Does an Interventionist Do and What Qualifications Do They Possess?

Drug Rehab Centers Explain: What Does an Interventionist Do and What Qualifications Do They Possess?
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It is common for people struggling with addiction disorders to be in denial about their substance use. Some families hire an interventionist to help them stage an intervention to get their loved ones into drug rehab centers.

If done incorrectly, an intervention can place more stress on family relationships and give the individual an excuse to cut ties with family members altogether. Working with a certified interventionist can help an intervention be successful. Many drug rehab centers employ qualified interventionists to help plan and facilitate interventions that get the desired results.

What Is an Addiction Interventionist?

A substance use interventionist is a trained professional who guides interventions. The Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) states that an interventionist educates, supports, provides guidance, and facilitates both the intervention and the aftercare.[1] This can also include physically escorting the person to drug rehab centers after they’ve agreed to treatment.

A professional interventionist determines the most effective format after interviewing family members and assessing the situation. Once a strategy is developed, the interventionist takes the lead, helping the family plan the intervention. The interventionist is part coach, part referee, part medical expert, and part host.

Do Drug Rehab Centers Certify Interventionists?

Many interventionists receive a board certification through AIS, not the rehab center they work for. To be AIS certified, a candidate must meet the following qualifications: [1]

  • Education: Interventionists may be licensed mental health professionals, social workers, or recovery experts
  • Certifications: The AIS offers two levels of certification and requires applicants to have proof of specialized training, peer evaluations, references that document their experience, and malpractice insurance
  • Ethics: Candidates for certification must adhere to the AIS code of ethics

Not all interventionists are board certified. The best way to find a certified interventionist is to speak with a qualified recovery center.

What to Expect from an Interventionist

Even the best interventionist is not a miracle worker, but you can expect them to take every possible step to get your loved one to accept treatment. Some of those steps include:

  • Collecting information about the person and the best treatment options for them
  • Sharing input on who should be involved with the intervention
  • Organizing the format (who will speak first, what happens if the person tries to leave, etc.)
  • Assisting friends and family members with what they will say and how to say it
  • Helping friends and family decide on appropriate boundaries and how to communicate those boundaries
  • Traveling with the individual to a treatment center
  • Providing follow-up information, including support and mental health treatment options for loved ones

Before deciding to work with an interventionist, ensure you understand and are comfortable with their approach.

Who Can Benefit from an Intervention?

People seeking addiction treatment come to drug rehab centers in many different ways. Going through the intervention process is unnecessary to be admitted into rehab. However, if your loved one is resistant to treatment, a trained interventionist can help.

Any person with a substance use disorder who is resisting treatment can benefit from an intervention, but some may need the extra support more than others. The Mayo Clinic [2] suggests working with a certified professional if your loved one:

  • Has a history of violent behavior, or you fear they may become violent when confronted
  • Is taking mood-altering drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, or depressants
  • Has a co-occurring mental health disorder
  • Has exhibited suicidal behavior or talked about suicide recently

The goal of every intervention is to guide individuals into the most appropriate drug rehab centers. It is not an opportunity to air family grievances, point fingers, or force a person into rehab against their will. Confronting the effects of substance use disorder can be a highly emotional experience. An interventionist helps keep the entire team focused on the goal and minimizes non-productive behaviors.

The Intervention Program at Clear Life Recovery

At Clear Life Recovery, we know that the right intervention program can start a person’s recovery journey. Not all drug rehab centers include holistic therapies, life skills, or some of the other programs available at Clear Life Recovery, but we understand that substance use disorder impacts the whole person. Call Clear Life Recovery today if you need information about scheduling an intervention. 



[1] https://www.associationofinterventionspecialists.org/learn-about-intervention/

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/intervention/art-20047451