What is the Role of an Addiction Intervention Specialist?

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Watching a loved one struggle with addiction is painful and upsetting. If they have repeatedly refused to go to rehab or accept the help you have to offer, you and your family may consider staging an addiction intervention. Interventions are careful, delicate processes that have a lot of opportunities for error, but little room for failure. The best way to stage an effective intervention is to hire an experienced addiction intervention specialist.

A drug and alcohol intervention specialist is someone who guides you and your family through the entire intervention process. This person may be a board-certified interventionist through the Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) as a Certified Intervention Professional (CIS) or he or she may be a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor (CDAC) or another type of mental health professional. As long as a person is licensed in the state in which they practice, has a background in counseling, and is experienced in addiction interventions, he or she can be considered an addiction intervention specialist.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you really need to hire a professional to help with your intervention, understanding the various roles of an addiction intervention specialist can help you see why these individuals are so critical to the process.

Understanding the Role of a Drug and Alcohol Intervention Specialist

An interventionist is not a therapist nor are they a motivational speaker. Their job is to help your family sort through the challenges at hand and facilitate a trip to rehab for the addicted individual. Throughout the intervention process, this person has various roles and responsibilities.

Planning The Intervention

It’s never a good idea to throw together a last-minute intervention. Successful interventions are carefully thought out and planned. You must decide who is going to participate in the intervention, what each group member is going to say, where and when the conversation is going to happen, and how to get your addicted loved one to participate. This process can feel overwhelming and confusing, especially if you’ve never tried to convince someone to go to rehab before. Your best bet is to hire an addiction intervention specialist to take care of the planning for you. This person will guide you and the other group members through the entire process by helping you prepare dialogue, choose a location, and much more.

Educating Family Members

Another role of an interventionist is to educate family members. The disease of addiction is difficult to understand unless you’ve experienced it yourself, and if you don’t understand addiction, you won’t be much help to your addicted loved one. A drug and alcohol interventionist can provide addiction education in regards to the way your addicted loved one thinks and how his or her addiction affects the entire family.

Staging The Intervention

Once the entire group is prepared to go through with the intervention, it’s time to host it. Interventions can be very emotional and it is impossible to predict how people will react. Your addicted loved one may get angry, upset, or violent. Or, your loved one may shut down and refuse to participate. Addiction intervention specialists are trained in crisis de-escalation and mental health management, so they can calm down situations that get heated. They will ensure the intervention remains productive and safe for all parties.

Providing a Referral to Substance Abuse Treatment

If your loved one accepts the help being offered, the next step is to send him or her to an addiction treatment program. Interventionists are often familiar with local treatment facilities and can evaluate your loved one’s needs to match them with a program that is right for them. This takes the guesswork out of choosing the right rehab center and places it in a professional’s hands. As a result, you can rest assured your loved one will receive the best possible care.

Giving The Family Continued Support

Regardless of the intervention’s outcome, members of the group may experience difficult emotions or feel stuck navigating through the damages caused by addiction. Drug and alcohol interventionists are able to provide support not only for the addicted individual but for the entire family, as well. He or she can refer you to counseling services, local support groups, or facilitate a family therapy session that involves the addicted individual.

Learn How an Addiction Intervention Specialist Can Help You Today

Ultimately, a drug and alcohol intervention specialist handles all of the dirty work so you don’t have to. Rather than worrying about making a mistake or causing a failed intervention, you can focus on what matters most–taking care of yourself and helping your addicted loved one.

Here at New Jersey Addiction Interventions, our trusted interventionists have years of experience in facilitating successful interventions and convincing people to get the help they desperately need. Between hosting interventions, referring people to treatment, and helping family members, we’ve got all the bases covered. If you know someone struggling with addiction, give us a call today to see how we can help.

Medically Reviewed: October 5, 2021

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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