In terms of addiction and addiction treatment, the term “intervention” probably became famous based on the A&E television show, appropriately titled “Intervention.” Starting in 2005, the reality show followed the stories of individuals in active addiction and their concerned loved ones, as a professional interventionist brought the family members together and intervened on the person in active addiction in an attempt to get them into rehab and find sobriety.

To go broader or to take it a step further, outside of simply active addiction and looking at a larger health scope, an intervention (or more specifically, a clinical intervention) is described as any intentional action designed to result in an outcome, meaning an intention action is taken to change the course of a health or behavioral health issue, and steer an individual towards a specific outcome. In the case of a typical intervention for someone that is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, a professional would intervene on the active addiction to steer the individual to rehab or addiction treatment and, ultimately, sobriety and recovery.

An interventionist and the family members performing and intervention on a loved one in the grips of addiction

The truth is, while many people believe an intervention is what they’ve seen on the A&E television show, there are many different ways to conduct a professional intervention, many different approaches to take when intervening on someone in active addiction, and many different techniques a professional interventionist can use when intervening. In short, an intervention when a family or group of loved ones hires a professional to implement a specific strategy in order to help an addicted individual stop their drinking and drug use and find appropriate help. Most often, this means meeting with the person in active addiction and other stakeholders, such as family, friends, and loved ones, and getting them into a detox or rehab. However, based on the situation and need, an interventionist can also help an addicted person find other resources for help, such as an intensive outpatient treatment facility, psychiatrist, therapist or counselor, or recovery support like sober coaching and case management.

An intervention typically includes a number of parts. First, is the initial call made by the family or friends to a professional that can intervene and conduct the intervention. Next is typically a free consultation with the family, friends, and interventionist. Once completed, the interventionist most likely will send over a contract, indicating services, cost, and timelines associated with the intervention. This can vary, based on need or cost, but most intervention professionals before holding the intervention will have multiple calls or zooms with the family and friends to gather information, as well as work with the loved ones to identify what rehab or treatment center would be the preferred destination for the addicted individual, based on their clinical needs, location, and finances. Next, right before the planned intervention, the interventionist would hold a day with the family and friends to comprehensively prepare for the intervention. Next, the intervention would take place. Based on the outcome, many interventionists then offer ongoing services such as family support, consultations, and case management for several months, if not ongoing case management and sober coaching for the addicted individual for an undetermined amount of time. Additionally, while in treatment, the interventionist often acts to support both the family and loved ones while the patient is in rehab, as well as works with the treatment team at the detox and treatment center to plan ongoing care, support, and post-treatment aftercare.

This is just the basic outline or general understanding of an intervention. However, there are different types of intervention approaches and they all do not necessarily take this exact step-by-step process. Here are some of the types of interventions and intervention methods and approaches employed by professional interventionists:

  • Crisis Intervention
  • ARISE Intervention
  • CRAFT method intervention (Community Reinforcement and Family Training)
  • Confrontational Model of Intervention
  • Invitational Intervention
  • Johnson Model of Intervention
  • The Love First Approach to Intervention
  • The Systemic Family Model of Intervention

Additionally, there are many different types of intervention professionals. There is no national licensure for professional interventionists. Some interventionists are simply people in recovery who believe that their work in the 12 Step fellowships or communities quality them to be a professional interventionist. This is often not the case. However, there are people in recovery or addiction treatment professionals who have been mentored for years and undertaken years of training via the mentorship of another intervention professional. There are licensed clinicians such as therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists that also perform drug and alcohol interventions. Then, there are certain certifications interventionists can achieve through ongoing training and work in the field. The Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) is a national network of interventionists that are Certified Intervention Professionals (CIP). The ARISE Network, founded by interventionist Judith Landau, MD, DPM, LMFT, CFLE, CIP, CAI, offers its own training and certification network, so that people seeking an ARISE intervention can be sure that the professional intervening has gone through the necessary training and certification to be an ARISE interventionist.

The ultimate goal of an intervention is to bring in a professional that can help objectively guide a family system in the outcome of getting their addicted love one the help that they need. An intervention can be helpful to both the person needing help and the family system as a whole. A successful intervention sometimes occurs when the person immediately accepts help and enters treatment, but an intervention is not necessarily unsuccessful if the person being intervened on refuses help. Often, once an intervention takes place, there is a window of time where a resistant patient initially refuses, but ultimately accepts help later on. An intervention can also be a vital piece of support for family members and loved ones throughout the process of the addicted individual entering treatment and finding recovery. And a professional interventionist can be an asset and an advocate for both the patient and the family, as the patient engages through an addiction treatment continuum of care.

If you or someone you know needs help with addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at