What credentials should an addiction intervention specialist have?

How can you be sure you’re hiring the best? A checklist for families who are searching for the best addiction interventionist possible.

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When You’ve Run Out of Ideas

When the person you love cannot stop drinking or using (and will not accept treatment), it’s common to feel:

  • Frustrated
  • Powerless
  • Hopeless

We’re here to tell you that there is hope. In fact, a group of licensed, certified professionals can help.

Here, we’ll review the main role interventionists during a talk with a loved one who is experiencing a substance abuse or mental health disorder. Plus, we’ll weigh in with industry expert, Dr. Louise Stanger, on what credentials MUST BE IN PLACE as you choose a professional interventionist to help. Dr. Stanger has been a professional interventionist for decades and has helped literally thousands of families get help for addiction. Finally, we invite your questions about intervention at the end. Please send them in! We love to hear from our readers…and make every effort to provide real-life questions with a personal response.

What’s an interventionist?

A professional interventionist guides families, friends, business executives, and others through the intervention process for a substance abuse, mental health, chronic pain, and/or  process disorder (sex, gambling shopping, disordered eating problem). During an intervention, a person addicted to alcohol and/or other drugs and compulsive behaviors is encouraged to accept help. During an intervention, caring loved ones work together to break through an addict’s denial. The main idea is to break the addiction cycle before it’s too late. What does the interventionist do?

Families frequently employ the services of a professional interventionist to facilitate an intervention. Let’s not mince words. A heart centered talk is often a difficult one. An interventionist not only guides the process, but helps the people involved. S/He plans an organized, meaningful, thoughtful, heart-centered and productive conversation with the main goal of having the individual who is in crisis enter treatment..

Are Interventions Successful?


The Association of Intervention Specialists reports that more than 90 percent of addicts accept treatment following a successful intervention. Recent studies have demonstrated that self-referred and intervention-based clients have equal chances of experiencing rehab as a positive thing. IN this way, addiction treatment – to substances or compulsive behaviors – might be started or re-started with an intervention.

What Do You Need from an Interventionist?

Industry leader and long-time interventionist, Dr. Louise Stanger says this:

1. You need someone with experience.

Look for an interventionist who can tell you about their effectiveness and experiences anecdotally and on record. Also, look for someone who can customize the experience. I employ an invitational , heart-centered and individualized, hands-on concierge approach to bring hope and healing to clients experiencing substance abuse, process addiction and/or mental health disorder.

2. You need someone who is certified.

Look for Certified Intervention Specialists and members in good standing of the following professional organizations:

  • NII (Network of Independent Interventionists)
  • AIS (Association of Intervention Specialists)

It also helps to work with someone who is credentialed in the profession of mental or behavioral health. For example, Dr. Stanger has been a licensed clinical social worker since 1973.

Finally, it helps to work with someone who is committed to continuing education. For example, I’m a trainer and have training in the following areas:

  • Intervention Models and Processes
  • Solution Focused Therapy
  • Solution-Focused Coaching for clients and loved ones, estate attorneys, wealth managers, and work-related personnel
  • Safe Passage
  • Recovery Management Services
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Certified Daring Way/Rising Strong Facilitator

As such, I am skilled in Case Management, Family Work, Recovery management Services

3. You need someone who understands current trends in addiction.

It’s best to work with someone who is on “the pulse” of addiction. Look for an interventionist who comes referred by others or who is recognized in the industry. As a behavioral health care expert, for example, I write about topics ranging from:

  • The Opioid Epidemic
  • Wealthy clients and addiction
  • Family dynamics
  • Treatment centers and recovery
  • Marijuana and other drugs
  • Tips and helpful advice in the field

These are some topics that your chose interventionist should be able to talk with you about, as well. While I write for the Huffington Post, The Sober World, Recovery Campus, Addiction Blog , Counselor Magazine, and globally at DB Resources…your interventionist should be able to refer you to reading sources like these. I keep up with the latest behavioral health technologies, trends and changes in the field. Your interventionist should, too.

In sum, your chosen interventionist might not have as much exposure to national events as I do, but they should be able to know what’s going on locally in your city or state.

4. You need someone who integrates the family into the treatment process.

Look for someone with a track record of follow up from intervention to treatment. Look for someone who works closely with clinicians and rehabs directly.

Treatment centers or therapists often refer me to complicated families to work with and facilitate while their loved one is in and out of treatment. My concierge-style approach to problem solving transcends traditional therapeutic boundaries and I often meet people in their homes or on Skype. I also offer family workshops which are customized to meet the unique needs of the family.

Look for these qualities in an interventionist, as well.

Find the Interventionist You Need

In our opinion, Dr. Stanger represents “the best of the best” when it comes to interventionists. She’s a regular speaker at
Behavioral Health Care Events across the United States, after all. If you want to learn more about her and the work she does, check out her website or her memoir Falling Up! available on Amazon – it’s chock-full of tips and tricks for living a happy and healthy life.

If you’re in the market for an interventionist, you can find one via:

About the author
Louise Stanger, Ed.D. is a clinical social worker LCSW and Certified Intervention Professional CIP with over 35 years experience in substance abuse and mental health disorders, grief and loss. She has been a university educator (SDSU & USD) and researcher. She is active in the Network of Independent Interventionist and Association of Intervention Specialists and is also a Motivational Interviewing Trainer of Trainers. More at All About Interventions .
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