If you are a recovering individual or an individual who just has a passion for helping others and working in the addiction field interests you, becoming an interventionist may be for you. As an addiction interventionist, you will primarily be working with people and families who are in crisis with drugs or alcohol. You may also have to deal with behavior addictions (e.g. gambling, sex, food, etc.) and other types of disorders (e.g. eating disorders, postpartum depression, untreated diabetes, etc.).
An interventionist is a mental health professional who is trained to conduct interventions. An intervention is intended to help the addicted individual get into treatment and help their family and friends make changes to make their lives more manageable, regardless if the addicted individual go to and follows through with treatment or not. An interventionist acts as a facilitator and a meditator during the intervention process.
The Qualifications that You Need to Become an Interventionist
Becoming an interventionist requires several years of training. The requirements vary greatly from state to state and certain organizations may have their own requirements, but here are the steps to become an interventionist are:
• Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Earn a bachelor’s degree in social science or human services related field. Common bachelor’s degrees that are good prerequisites for someone who wants to work in the addiction field are addictions counseling, addictions studies, psychology, sociology, social work, and human services.
• Earn a Master’s Degree
A master’s degree is the minimum requirement for becoming a Board Certified Interventionist. Ideally, you should earn a master’s degree in addictions counseling to meet state licensure requirements, but you can always earn a master’s degree in mental health counseling or clinical social work and become specialized in addictions later on since those programs are more common.
• Complete Internship Requirements
Pretty much all states have an internship requirement for human services professionals. These requirements can be around 2,000 to 4,000 internship hours. You will most likely be placed at an internship by your university to start these hours while you are in your master’s degree program.
• Complete Other Requirements
Some states may require you to complete other requirements such as attending a certain number of self-help meetings to observe.
• Take the Certification Test
After completing all of your educational, internship, and other requirements, you are ready to sit for the certification test to become an addictions counselor, licensed professional counselor, or licensed clinical social worker. You must hold one of these credentials before becoming a Board Certified Intervention Specialist.
• Train with the Association of Intervention Specialists Certification Board and Earn Certification
After getting basic state licensure as an addiction’s counselor or another mental health professional, you will have to apply to become certified through the Association of Intervention Specialists Certification. You may have to complete a few requirements such as training hours, seminars, and passing a test. One requirement is that you will need to have 1,000,000-3,000,000 dollars in malpractice insurance.
Determining if the Career is Right for You
Becoming an interventionist is for someone who has a passion for helping others and who possess an interest in the addiction field. While personally having had an addiction is not a requirement, it is an asset because it allows you to be able to empathize with your clients. If you are in recovery, you should have at least a year of recovery before beginning this type of training. If you have never had an addiction yourself, talking to those who have an addiction and paying close attention in school is vital to understanding its complexity.
Just like being in any other helping profession, being an interventionist requires a lot of self-care. You will be dealing with difficult cases and hearing stories of traumas; therefore, you will need to develop the ability to detach from your clients. Being in counseling yourself and taking vacations from work is strongly encouraged.
A Rewarding Career
Overall, being an interventionist is a rewarding career. The job market for addiction professionals is predicted to grow about three times as average. It allows you to help people and families get into recovery and live the fulfilling lives that they were intended to. The greatest reward will be seeing how far your clients come during the duration of your time with them.
Even though becoming an interventionist is a long process, it is well worth it. During your training, you will learn much about psychology, addiction, and the intervention process that will help you see yourself and the world in a completely different light. Knowing that you are going to work to make a difference in the world will help you feel satisfied with your job.