Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Art of the Intervention Part III

What's a Professional Interventionist?

As of this writing, that's a tough question to answer. There is no one certification or license; no one specific training process, graduate school of Intervention. So here are some things to look for. Don't be shy, ask questions. Ask a lot of questions, if you need to. And ask for references. Any of us who have been around for a while should have no problem furnishing you with several family members who have participated in past interventions and are willing to share their experiences.

  1. Experience: If anyone can hang out a shingle and say that they are an interventionist, then you have to ask a lot of the hard questions. How many interventions have you done? What was the outcome?
  2. Education: What specific training have you had in addiction? Remember, training or education as a counselor does not automatically qualify someone to do addiction intervention. Any good Interventionist will be able to identify a specific course, training or other educational process directed toward competency in Intervention.
  3. Cost: Do not be squeamish about cost. There is a broad divergence in the cost of Intervention. My personal belief is that Interventions can be made available to any family at an affordable price. Talk about the cost with an interventionist and if it seems excessive, move on. In Pennsylvania PRO-ACT can recommend Interventionists who charge reasonably, and locally, in my little corner of the world, The Delaware County Interventionist Network is committed to finding affordable ways to help families in need of Intervention.
Why do you need a professional?
Family loyalties, problems, tensions and arguments are extreme. Feelings run deep, resentments, too. Trying to organize all of this into a focused and specific intervention can be like trying to nail jelly to a tree. What begins as a well-intentioned talk about a loved one's problems turns into a free-for-all.

A professional Interventionist will:
  • Help the family to understand addiction as an illness.
  • Work with the family to master the art of effective confrontation.
  • Plan an effective post-intervention strategy for both the subject of the intervention and the family.
Interventions are not events, but processes. An Interventionist is someone who knows the process, and can help the family to negotiate it.

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