Tips for Finding a Qualified Interventionist

Drug and alcohol addiction can be devastating, but many people who suffer from a substance use disorder don’t feel ready to admit their problems or enter treatment. In some cases, holding an intervention can help your loved one make the decision to move toward recovery.

An intervention is a structured, compassionate conversation where family and friends discuss their concerns with the addicted individual and present treatment options.

This article will take a look at the role of an interventionist in these types of conversations: how they can support this discussion, when it’s appropriate to use one, and how to find the right person to meet your needs.

What Is an Interventionist

An interventionist, or intervention specialist, is a professional who directs the intervention process. This individual will help choose who will be on the intervention team and educate each person involved about addiction and treatment options.

The interventionist directs all planning meetings and is present for the actual intervention, helping to keep the event on track.

When to Use an Interventionist

Some people hold interventions independently, but in many cases, a trained interventionist can help families steer the conversation in a positive direction.

According to Mayo Clinic, the goals of an intervention include:

  • Providing specific examples of the negative consequences the addiction has had on the lives of everyone present.
  • Offering a treatment plan.
  • Describing what consequences will occur if treatment is refused.

Mayo Clinic particularly recommends the use of an intervention specialist in the following circumstances:

  • The individual has a severe mental illness.
  • There is a history of violence.
  • The individual is suicidal or has talked about suicide.
  • The substances of abuse include those that are severely mood-altering or cause violent behavior.

An intervention should not be attempted without professional guidance if there is a chance the individual could become violent in any way. An interventionist or family mediator can also help keep the intervention on track, as interventions are often highly emotional.

Having a professional present who is not directly involved in the situation, and who is experienced in handling different eventualities that may occur, can be helpful.

Choosing an Interventionist

There are no nationwide regulations for interventions, and state regulations vary widely. Because there are few finite requirements for an individual to be labeled as an interventionist, it is important to look for an individual with sufficient education, certifications, and practical experience.

An intervention can follow several different models, and each interventionist will be trained in specific methods that they may prefer. Psychology Today lists the Johnson Model, Motivational Interviewing, and the ARISE model as the three of the most common intervention styles.

Some models surprise the addicted individual with the meeting of friends and loved ones, and others include the individual in the planning stages. The appropriate model to choose varies between individual circumstances. What works for one person may not work for another.

Certifications, such as Board Registered Interventionist 1 and 2, ensure that the person has sufficient education and knowledge to successfully stage the event. Often, an interventionist can be found through referral from an acquaintance or a medical professional.

You can also find a specialist through online directories provided by professional interventionist organizations. The Association of Intervention Specialists requires its members to be board-registered interventionists and provides an online directory that you can search by location.

Additionally, Family First Interventions specializes in interventions that use family members and the family

FAQs for Interventionists

Psychology Today recommends asking several questions when speaking with a potential interventionist, including the following:

  • What fees do you charge?
  • Will you travel to the location of the addicted individual?
  • What services do you provide?
  • Do you continue to provide assistance after the intervention is complete?
  • What treatment centers do you typically refer to?
  • What intervention model do you follow?
  • Do you have client references?

Finding Help for Addiction

If you or someone you love has lost control of their drug or alcohol use, professional treatment can help. Our inpatient rehab near Tampa offers different levels of addiction treatment including medical detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient.

At River Oaks, we provide evidence-based therapies, treatment medications (as needed and determined by the treatment team), and evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders, as well as specialized support for Veterans, first responders, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

To learn more about our programs, paying for rehab, or using insurance to pay for rehab, contact us at or simply fill out this quick and confidential .  Our team is available 24/7 to answer questions and help you start the admissions process today.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
River Oaks is located in Riverview, Florida, which is easily accessible from Tampa.
Take your next step toward recovery:
✔ learn more about our addiction treatment programs.
✔ see how popular insurance providers such as Aetna or Carelon offer coverage for rehab.
view photos of our facility.