Working with people who have drug or alcohol addictions is both heartbreaking and rewarding. You interact with people who are at their lowest ebb in life. Their relationships are falling apart, they are in dire financial straits, they may have lost their job, and they have lost all hope. On the flip side, you get to see the same people at their best, when they have put in the work to achieve sobriety and confront the issues that led them to the addiction in the first place. Watching rehab alumni return to their homes and build happy, successful lives for themselves makes the earlier heartbreak worthwhile.
There are many ways to become involved in the recovery efforts of people with addictions. One of the toughest jobs of all is getting the addicted person to take the first step and agree to get help. This is the role of a drug intervention specialist.
What Is a Drug Intervention?
People with addictions are often unwilling or unable to acknowledge that they need help. Eventually, close friends and family members may come to understand that without treatment, something catastrophic could happen: a child in home could be harmed, a spouse could experience violence at the hands of the addicted person, or the addicted person could die.
And so the individual’s inner circle may decide to stage an intervention. This is a gathering where the loved ones take turns reading statements that contain three essential elements: examples of how the addiction has impacted them, a request for the addicted person to accept the help that is being offered, and the consequences to the addicted person of not accepting that help.
Although families can hold interventions themselves, in general, they should use the services of an intervention specialist. This is an individual who can help them plan the intervention, give them information about their loved one’s addiction and how it progresses, help them choose an addiction treatment program that is a good fit, and connect them with any support resources they may need for themselves. Most intervention specialists are also able to arrange immediate transportation to rehab if the addicted person accepts help.
What Training Is Needed to Become an Intervention Specialist?
The education requirements vary from one province to the next. Many rehab facilities offer intervention services, and they have their own sets of requirements for the intervention specialists they employ. From an educational perspective, there are several paths to a career in intervention. One of the most common of these is a bachelor’s degree in psychology or social work. Some colleges offer diplomas and certificate courses in drug intervention, but several of these require students to have either a bachelor’s degree or a prior diploma in a related field.
Some organizations will only hire addiction professionals, including intervention specialists, who have master’s degrees. If you are planning to set up your own intervention business, having a master’s degree makes sense. One of the factors potential clients look for in an interventionist is their level of education. Following this path of study also allows you to gain an in-depth knowledge of addiction as well as some practical experience in the field.
What About Certification?
In some parts of North America, addiction is one of the few areas where you can work without being certified. However, without certification, you will be limited in the work you can do.
There are several professional organizations offering certifications that are recognized across Canada and the United States. One of these is the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF), where you can apply for the Canadian Certified Intervention Professional (CCIP) designation. This is only available to individuals who already have a designation as a Canadian Certified Addiction Counsellor (CCAC).
Other requirements for CCIP include the following:
- Proof of at least 150 hours of education in the following domains:
- Intervention competence
- Professional and ethical responsibilities
- Proof of 4,000 hours of work in drug intervention and related services
- Evidence that you have, in the three years prior to application, participated in at least five interventions and facilitated at least five interventions
- 100 hours of supervision with at least ten hours in each of the domains listed above
- A portfolio of activities and achievements addressing each of the following mandatory categories:
- Intervention modality: an essay describing which intervention modality you primarily use and why
- Professional experience: an essay describing a successful intervention you led and how you used your interventionist training, your areas of expertise relating to interventions and addiction, what strengths you have that make you a good interventionist, and what areas you feel you could improve on, and why you want to work in the field
- Performance evaluation: evaluations from agencies, supervisors, or behavioural health organizations that highlight your strengths as an intervention specialist
- Signatures indicating that you have read the Consent to Release Information and the Canon of Ethics Principles documents
Career Opportunities for Certified Intervention Professionals
The range of opportunities for people with intervention training and a CCIP designation is broader than you might have thought. In addition to drug and alcohol addiction rehab facilities, intervention professionals are used in settings that include:
- Correctional facilities
- Counselling facilities for youth and adults
- Your local court system
- Group homes
- Young offender facilities
- Mental health centres
- Emergency shelters
- Safe injection sites
- Medical detox facilities
Looking for an Interventionist?
If you are in need of an intervention specialist so you can get help for a loved one, call Intervention Rehab. We will take the stress of planning the intervention away from you so you can focus on taking care of yourself. With our access to addiction treatment programs and our compassionate approach, we will help you help your loved one.