A Checklist for Hiring an Addiction Interventionist

A complete guide to selecting a family addiction interventionist. Plus, a checklist for how to select the person who’s right for you and your family.

minute read

ARTICLE SUMMARY:This article offers guidelines on how to select a professional interventionist when you are ready to confront a family member about a drug or alcohol problem.

ESTIMATED READING TIME: Less than 10 minutes.


Readiness for Help

So, you’re ready to find an interventionist.

Most likely, you’re at your wit’s end. You may not be sleeping at night from worry. You might feel like the world is spiraling out of control. And you may be angry, frustrated, and downright sick of the person in your family who’s using drugs or alcohol.

Guess what?

These are all normal feelings!

Selecting and working with an interventionist might be the best thing that you can do for your family. The right person will have just the right combination of techniques and words to move your entire family into a new era. The right person will also have experience and a track record to show for it. Plus, the right person will not only get your loved one into rehab, s/he will guide your family on what to do next.

So, the decision about WHO is best for your family should not be taken lightly. Your choice will be informed by your specific needs, situation, and case. And you need to do your research. We hope that this informative article will help!


Currently, addiction interventionists are not required to attend university, pass certification exams, or be approved as “clinicians” before they begin to practice. In fact, it’s a bit like the Wild, Wild West.

Still, a skilled interventionist should be highly trained in addiction interventions. The right person can help you and your family get unstuck. However, it can be tricky to make a decision on credentials alone. Some interventionists are licensed clinicians, some are trained by colleagues, while others have experience under their belt.

Q: So, what should you be looking for, in terms of credentials?

A: Basically, you need to know that the person KNOWS what they’re doing…and has the experience to back it up.

Clinical skills are helpful and desired when looking for an interventionist. However, credentials are not a prerequisite. Experience matters. Plus, it can also help to work with other professionals who complement interventions. Trained attorneys, psychiatrists, psychologists and others who themselves are in recovery are excellent allies.

THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: Regardless of the interventionist’s academic background, you need to figure out:

  1.  What they know.
  2.  Who they’ve been trained by.
  3.  What mentoring they’ve had.
  4.  What skills they bring to the table.

How Much Do Interventionists Charge?

Interventionists charge from $2,500 to $10,000 or more for their services. The price will depend on the level of service offered and the person’s experience with interventions. For example, some interventionists offer coaching to families for 3-6 months after the intervention is over. Others will end their work with your family when your loved one enters treatment, or after a family weekend.

When interventionists partner with or work for treatment centers, the intervention may be lower priced than for someone who works independently. This is because the intervention may be just another service of the entire rehab process. Note also fees are not necessarily less if you pick an interventionist in your state versus across the country.

When considering costs, keep in mind the ultimate value of the result. The upfront costs might seem high, but in exchange, you’re increasing the chances your loved one will attend rehab and get their life back on track. How much is that worth to you?

As a comparison, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2017, the average annual salary of counselors working in the field of addiction was $43,300. Interventionists on the higher end of the earnings scale, or 90th percentile, earned $60,000 and those on the lower end of the earnings scale, or 10th percentile, earned $25,140.

How to Find an Interventionist

There are a few ways you can identify the best person for your family.

1. Search member directories of the professional associations.

It is important to find someone with experience, the appropriate licenses/certifications for your needs, and a strong code of ethics. Two professional guilds list members’ credentials, licenses, and certifications. So, where finances are concerned, be sure that you clarify fees and services up front.

To look for an interventionist, search the member listings for the NII and AIS:

2. Seek a reference from a mental health professional.

Second, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence recommends that you seek help from the following professionals for intervention services:

  •  An alcohol and addictions counselor
  •  An addiction treatment center
  •  Psychiatrist
  •  Psychologist
  •  Social Worker

Some of these professionals may have experience in interventions themselves. Other times, a mental health professional can refer you to a colleague or someone with a good reputation in the field. The organization also suggests that you reach out to NCADD Affiliates to be connected to referrals.

3. Call us for help.

The telephone number listed on this page will connect you to a helpline. All calls will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC). Caring admissions consultants are standing by to discuss your treatment options, which can include family intervention specialists. The helpline is offered at no cost and with no obligation to enter treatment.

Whatever route you choose, we recommend picking up the phone and interviewing at least three people that you want to work with. Use the checklist at the end of this article to guide your conversation. Finally, confirm references that the person offers and have conversations about the person’s methods.

Do Interventionists Work?

Yes, professional interventionists work.

According to the Association of Intervention Specialists, research suggests that up to 90% of professionally guided interventions succeed at getting the person into treatment. Whether your loved one will find and maintain a drug-free life is more of a long-term investment. In fact, someone facing addiction needs to put in a great deal of effort to change their thoughts and behaviors.

But if you’re doing an intervention correctly – and using the Collective Intervention Strategy outlined in the book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions – the family system will change. So, regardless of whether your loved one goes to treatment or not, the system will never be the same.

Therefore, every addiction intervention has the possibility to be successful.

A Printable Checklist

It’s important for families who hire an interventionist to first check out an interventionist’s credentials and amount of time they have spent in the field. You’ll also want to know more about their services, costs, and personal experience with addiction. Here are is a checklist of questions that you can use to help you vet professionals. Feel free to write answers to the questions…or use the space for your own notes.

□ Credentials
□ Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, LPC or LCPC
□ Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC
□ Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCSW
□ Masters or Doctorate of Psychology, Masters in Psychology, Psy.D.,
□ Marriage and Family Therapist, MFT


Member of professional association (circle any of the following)

• AIS: Association of Intervention Specialists

• NII: Network of Independent Interventionists

• American Hospital Association

• NATAP: National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers

• NAADAC: National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors

• NASW: The National Association of Social Workers

• CARF: Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities

• CADAC: California Association of Alcohol and Other Drug Counselors

□ Is the interventionist independent or employed by a particular treatment center or centers?


□ What is the person’s academic background, training, and/or experience background?


□ Is the interventionist in recovery him/herself, or not?


□ Does s/he work alone or have a team?


□ What exact services does s/he provide? What is the cost?


□ What services do they not provide?


□ What are their professional affiliations?


□ What do they specialize in (not all people can do everything)?


□ What does their engagement offer? Length of service and actual services.


□ What is the length of time for their engagement? Does the person work with you and your family AFTER initial treatment placement?


□ How accessible is the person or their team to you? Can you reach the person 24-7? What’s the turn around time on phone calls, emails, etc?


□ Does the interventionist have references you can call for verification?


Your Questions

We hope to have set you on the right path for getting help.

But we understand you still may have questions.

Please ask any question in the comments section below. We do our best to respond to each real-life situation with a personal and prompt reply. And if we can’t help…we’ll refer you to someone who can!

We wish you all the best.


Reference Sources: The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions, A Collective Strategy
Available via Routledge Press or on Amazon.
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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