What Is an Addiction Intervention Specialist?

An addiction intervention specialist is a trained professional who helps people plan interventions. With the help of an addiction interventionist, you and the other participants can develop a stronger plan. One of the main reasons why it is so important to enlist the help of a professional is because the intervention should be as meaningful as possible to increase its chances of success.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention is a group effort, which usually involves four to six people who are important to the individual who struggles with a substance use disorder, or SUD. During an intervention, you and the other participants try to persuade a loved one to seek addiction help. The goal of an intervention is to compel a person to enter a treatment facility before the addiction leads to worse problems.

If it is not planned properly, the person with the addiction is less likely to accept help. Also, an intervention without clear boundaries and consequences may be ineffective. Since some well-meaning groups of friends and family members only have one chance to stage an intervention, it is critical to make it count by hiring an interventionist.

How Can an Interventionist Help Your Family With Intervention Planning?


Since an addiction intervention specialist has plenty of experience planning these events for people in similar situations, the professional brings a wealth of knowledge and insights. These are some of the specific ways that the professional can help and why each one is important.

Creating a Team

If you do not have a list of participants yet, the addiction interventionist can help you identify the people who are most important to your loved one. A professional knows the right tactics and approaches to help you gather the most effective participants. Having a team of people the person likes and trusts is important for maximizing the positive impact it has on the individual.

Identifying Circumstances

Working with you and the other team members, the professional identifies specific concerns, challenges, and goals. A customized approach is essential for success. For example, if your loved one also struggles with paranoia, it is important to consider that in planning every other step. Each individual has unique circumstances, and considering them all helps the professional develop a more comprehensive plan.

Setting Boundaries

Healthy boundaries are rules or guidelines that establish self-respect and care. One of the most important reasons for someone who is close to your loved one to set boundaries is because of how addiction affects the brain. It often causes people to act irrationally. Since a person’s brain chemistry changes with addiction and causes severe cravings, the person will do anything to obtain more of the substance. This can include lying, manipulation, and other tactics.

For example, the individual may ask a family member to lie about his or her whereabouts to a boss or someone else. Not wanting the individual to lose the job, the family member may cooperate. In this case, setting a boundary that there will be no lying is a healthy choice that prevents enabling. A professional can help each participant identify important boundaries to set.

Deciding Consequences

Without consequences, there is little motivation for a person to seek help in overcoming addiction. An addiction intervention specialist shows intervention participants how boundaries relate to consequences. Also, the professional helps participants decide on effective consequences to enact if the loved one rejects help. For example, the person who is misusing a substance may also be going through financial hardships. A well-meaning family member or friend may pay the loved one’s rent. In this case, cutting off financial assistance is a good consequence.

Developing Impact Statements

An impact statement is a personal account of how addiction affects a person. People who struggle with addiction often do not realize the effects their addiction has on others. Hearing the specific effects can help put the impact of the addiction into perspective. Although not all people will acknowledge the thoughts and feelings of loved ones, it is important to try to show them.

Creating a Strategy for the Intervention

Once all the previous details are in order, a professional helps develop a plan for the actual event. Where will it take place? Who will start? There are other factors to consider as well. It is important for the intervention to happen in a place where your loved one feels safe. If the environment feels threatening or uncomfortable, even a well-planned intervention may fail. The structure is important. Also, it is helpful to have a plan for who will talk first and how individuals will respond to possible objections.

Providing Direction and Feedback

After the strategy and all other details are arranged, an addiction intervention specialist reviews the plan. Some may attend a practice session virtually or in person. The professional helps coach each person on how to most effectively deliver impact statements, maintain boundaries, and more. Practicing the intervention ahead of time may help everyone feel more comfortable when the time arrives for the real event.

How Can You Find an Intervention Professional?

There are several professionals who work mostly online. They may offer virtual consultations and services for the convenience of concerned loved ones. Searching online is one way to find these professionals. However, it is important to ensure that the individual is qualified. Another way to connect with resources is to contact a trusted treatment facility. A facility may have several reliable resources for virtual or local intervention specialists.

Challenges That Intervention Specialists Help Families Overcome

Addiction Treatment After an Intervention in Missouri

The biggest challenge that an interventionist helps group participants overcome is choosing the right approach. For example, the Systemic Model approach is often more effective for people who are not good with confrontation. Using a different approach that is not ideal for someone who is not good with confrontation may be less likely to succeed.

One challenge that most people face is identifying key issues, and a related challenge is connecting the right solutions to them in terms of boundaries or consequences. A specialist can help family members and friends identify issues that they may not know to look for. Also, based on evidence from research, specialists can help determine the right consequences or boundaries in complex situations.

Another challenge with interventions is being assertive. Some intervention specialists stay for the event and take charge of it. In some cases, it is helpful to have such an authority figure. Also, a common challenge in executing an intervention is escorting a person to a treatment facility. Many successful interventions require the loved one with a SUD to seek immediate treatment. Leaving the individual to seek treatment independently is often an unsuccessful approach. Some specialists may escort the person to a facility alone, and some may help other participants escort the loved one.

What Is an Interventionist Selection Guide?

The most important factor to consider is the desired level of involvement from the specialist. Some people want the addiction interventionist directly involved in the event and planning, and some people prefer help only in the planning process. A good intervention specialist knows how to effectively remove barriers that people with SUDs build. To find someone who can help do this, consider the following questions:

Specialists should collect plenty of information about the person with the SUD. After doing this, a specialist should provide specific suggestions and not vague ones. Also, a specialist with ample experience should be able to answer questions knowledgeably and with detailed answers. Good specialists are also familiar with a variety of approaches, such as Systemic, Johnson, and ARISE.

Addiction Treatment After an Intervention in Missouri

If you know that a family member, friend, or coworker is misusing a substance, it is important to contact an addiction intervention specialist. Since people who misuse substances are often secretive, it may be hard to confirm the misuse. 

These are some common signs of a SUD:

An addiction intervention specialist will also recommend contacting a treatment facility where your loved one can go after a successful intervention. At Sana Lake, our recovery program provides a supportive environment where members receive professional care. We help people discover the keys to beating addiction and living a fuller life. Please contact us to learn more about our Missouri addiction treatment programs.