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The Role of an Addiction Intervention Specialist

It is simply not possible for a family to conduct a real intervention without assistance from professionals in the field of addiction intervention and treatment. There is a tendency for some people to want to get opinions or assessments from other professionals such as doctors, therapists or lawyers. But when it comes to dealing with addiction, including drug and alcohol interventions, detox, treatment and aftercare, the people whose opinions should matter most are the professionals working directly in the field with people in that situation each and every day.

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An Addiction Intervention Specialist Is Not A Therapist

An addiction intervention is completely different from therapy, and the professions noted above have no place in the intervention field.

A therapist, psychiatrist, or doctor could do drug interventions with the proper training, credentials, and insurance, but it would be inappropriate to wear both hats.  In fact, the licensed therapist or psychiatrist hat would have to come off while performing interventions, which is something professionals learn during CIP training.

The client at the drug intervention is the family, not the addict or alcoholic, and the interventionist’s job is not to be the primary or permanent therapist.

A professional interventionist is there to do the job of intervention, not trauma resolution.

Trauma therapy is the responsibility of the treatment center that your loved one will be entering. They will assume the job of his or her primary therapist or psychiatrist, all of which follows the intervention.

Interventionists are not to act as therapists, psychiatrists, or doctors and vice versa.

Evaluating the Addiction Intervention Specialist Certifications

Unbeknownst to many, no credentials are required to perform an intervention.

There are, however, intervention specialist certifications one can earn such as the Certified Intervention Professional (CIP).

To obtain this certification, one must undergo extensive training, have several hours of study in the addiction field, and pass a comprehensive examination.

A key element of this intervention specialist certification ensures those using the service that liability insurance, which is standard for licensed professionals, is included.

At a minimum, it is extremely important that your drug intervention specialist have professional liability insurance.  Unfortunately, far too many individuals enter this field without understanding precisely what an intervention is supposed to accomplish and operate without insurance and little to no training.

With the growing need for interventions, many treatment centers are starting to offer the service.

Oftentimes, the center sends a non-qualified person who is not necessarily an interventionist but rather an employee whose goal is to convince your loved one to enter their facility.  The employee is not necessarily there to accomplish what an interventionist is supposed to do, and likely does not have the proper intervention specialist certifications.

If a treatment center sends you someone in-house without referring you to an outside professional, then it is crucial to ask the right questions and to do your homework.

The biggest red flag is being told the intervention is either included in the cost of treatment or is covered by insurance.  An intervention is not included in the price of treatment, and it is NOT covered by insurance as there is no billing code for this purpose.

Hiring a Solo Drug Intervention Specialist Versus an Intervention Company

An intervention done thoroughly, professionally, ethically, and properly cannot possibly be done by a solo operator.  This is not to say that drug intervention specialists who practice alone are ineffective, because some are quite able.  However, so much is involved in an intervention that it is nearly impossible for one person to accomplish everything accurately and effectively.  The more professionals involved, the better the outcome for you and your loved one.

Whether a solo operator is successful or not, what is going to happen when you need advice but you are unable to contact your addiction intervention specialist who may be working with another family?  In the matter of selecting the treatment center, how can that be accomplished without a support staff?  Consulting with professionals on a team about the most appropriate fit increases the likelihood of a successful outcome.  How can ongoing support be provided by someone who is not available?

The intervention is the easy part.  The part of preparation, selection of treatment, logistics, and the post-intervention are where things become difficult.

If your loved one wants to leave treatment and starts calling you, what are you going to do if you can’t contact the interventionist you hired?  You have but one shot at this, and the intervention process is supposed be sustainable for years to come.  The more people you have working for you will improve the chance of a successful outcome.  Keep in mind, also, that the cost of an intervention company versus a solo addiction intervention specialist is surprisingly similar.

You Need an Addiction Intervention Specialist – Not A Lawyer or a Doctor

A high percentage of substance abusers seeking drug abuse treatment find themselves in some kind of legal trouble. Although this can be a helpful catalyst in getting someone into treatment, we have seen attorneys make recommendations on types of programs and the treatment involved. Sometimes they can end up swaying the decision of the person needing help, and that’s often not in their best interest of their long-term recovery when compared with other potential options.

Similarly, most doctors don’t have extensive training on addiction and how to treat the disease. Physicians who work specifically in the recovery field and/or are Board Certified Addictionologists are going to have much more information.

Without that specialty training, you may have doctors underestimating the severity of an opiate addiction; for example, a doctor who recommends outpatient buprenorphine treatment rather than an inpatient detox and long-term residential treatment program.

Treatment centers and addiction intervention specialists focus on why drugs and alcohol are being used and what needs to change to avoid escaping reality with chemical solutions.

If you think about why you are calling for help in the first place, it is most likely because of the harm being done every day to the loved one and how it is affecting you and the family.  The drama, chaos, confusion, and heartache are bringing you and your loved one to the breaking point.

Where Our Professional Interventionists Are Located

The majority of families inquiring about intervention services first ask: “Where are you located?”

Families soon realize that drug intervention specialists are not as readily accessible as therapists, psychiatrists, and doctors.

In fact, few addiction intervention companies have professional certifications, an office with support staff, offer additional services such as drug and alcohol test monitoring, provide lifetime consultation, and carry professional liability insurance.

Further, few drug intervention specialists work independently outside the guidance and/or referral base of a treatment center.  In general, most intervention counselors are reached through referrals from treatment centers or via the centers’ own in-house intervention counselors.

In many cases, addiction intervention specialists work directly or indirectly for a center and are obligated to bring clients to that center.  This in no way impugns the treatment center you’ve contacted or the intervention counselor to whom you’ve been referred.

What it does mean is you are limited in terms of treatment choices as the focus then becomes that center’s particular treatment rather than addressing the larger issue of educating and healing a family.

Because that is what an intervention is: helping to repair a family system that has allowed and enabled your loved one’s addiction.

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When Families Turn Against the Addiction Intervention Specialist

Families love us… until they don’t.  Once the intervention has occurred and treatment has been agreed to, the family often rejoices.  After the initial euphoria, things can go downhill quickly.

“Yes” does not mean the loved one will no longer try to change minds and cause problems once in treatment.

It is the job of the addiction intervention specialist to continue to work with the family and provide updates on progress made and, when necessary, on setbacks.

When families turn on the drug intervention specialist and the treatment center, it is due to misplaced feelings of frustration and fear.

If your loved one leaves treatment, he or she will do everything to convince you that we are only in it for the money, that we didn’t like him or her, and will offer complete fabrications and dishonest examples of the experience at the treatment center.  Chaos and confusion will be re-introduced into the family system in order to disrupt it.  The family often turns on those trying to help rather than their loved one who is causing the drama.

This is why we urge families not to engage in conversation with their loved ones without the presence of a professional, whether they are doing well at the center or they have left.

This same turning on the professionals can also result from the loved one saying no.  The longer he or she resists going into treatment, the more a family can feel that the intervention was a bad idea and shouldn’t have been done.  Families start to unravel, to turn on one another, and things can get ugly.  All this can be avoided if everyone sticks to the script.

For those reading this who feel this is too much for the family to handle, remember that any chaos, confusion, drama, or misplaced emotions you are experiencing are of your own doing.  You’re allowing the same thing that occurred before the intervention.  This is exactly what the addict or alcoholic wants, for you to break down and feel like this was a horrible idea.  If you go that route, you will be right back where you started, and the chances of the loved one not going to treatment at all increases.

If Done Correctly, Interventions Need Only Occur Once

When working with an addiction intervention company that focuses on serving families and their loved ones as the number one priority, the drug addiction specialist and his or her team can help a family select the best treatment plan for their loved one without any outside influence or obligation.

That can mean the difference between doing this only once and having to doing it again.

A drug intervention specialist’s role consists of more than getting the loved one into treatment.  It entails removing all obstacles to treatment and staying engaged through the trials and tribulations that you, your loved one, and family will have through the recovery process.

Interventions aren’t complete because the loved one agrees to treatment.  This is a long-term process, not a single event.

Most addicts and alcoholics in rehabilitation typically do not attend a facility close to home.  Rather, they almost always travel several states away for various reasons, the most important of these being the need for separation from the enabling, codependent family system and the comfort zone that allowed them to drink or drug.

Even when the drug intervention specialist is local, he or she still travels with your loved one to a destination outside the geographical comfort zone, thereby limiting the ability to leave when problems arise.  Thus, it doesn’t matter whether the intervention counselor is local or has to travel.

In the end, it isn’t just about the cost, the location, or simply “getting them in the door.”  It is about everything being different this time and how you came to this point.

For this to be done correctly, the addict or alcoholic and the family must learn how they arrived at this point as well as what needs to change and why.  Barring this, you are almost certain to go back to the way it was.

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