Having been involved in conducting and coordinating interventions for over 10 years, I’ve encountered many types of interventionists from different walks of life. Many times people ask, “How did you get started, and how can I become an interventionist?” When I first started delivering interventions, there wasn’t any formal certification to become an interventionist.
I loved to help the families and suffering addicts and alcoholics in my own personal recovery, and the next thing you know, I was traveling all over the country “talking” people into treatment. In the beginning, I thought that’s what an intervention was…talking someone into treatment. If they went, I felt I was successful, if they didn’t…it was a failure. I think that many of the early interventionists (and even people today) mistakenly start doing interventions thinking that’s all it is.
Although I was usually successful at getting someone’s agreement, I didn’t fully understand, in the beginning, the complex family dynamics that need to be influenced to increase long term success rates after treatment is finished. Again, there was little formal training outside of traditional counseling. However, an intervention is not really a counseling or therapy session.
Many of us were either counselors or people in recovery that did the best we could to come in and help a family that was frustrated and often hopeless after years of trying to have an effect on their loved one. And interventions became more and more popular. As interventions have become more of a science, training and models have begun to appear. Johnson Model interventions were the first, but now there are others.
Family Systems, Systemic, or Invitational model interventions are now more and more popular. Understand, however, that without an overseeing entity, there was little accountability in the early days, and families often had little recourse if their intervention wasn’t delivered as promised. In worse cases, an improperly trained interventionist did more damage than good, due to improper training, certifications, or education.
Fortunately, an organization does now exist that seeks to certify, oversee and help regulate what has been for many years a relatively unregulated field. The Association of Intervention Specialist Credentialing Board (AISCB) is now the recognized leader in intervention certifications with their Board Registered Interventionist Level I/Level II certifications or BRI-I and BRI-II.
Whereas before, an interventionist had only to claim to be one, now there exists the beginnings of oversight as well as an eventual direction towards licensing of interventionists. Although being a Board Registered Interventionist doesn’t necessary mean that one is a “good” and skilled interventionist, it does mean that, at the minimum, a Board Registered Interventionist has:
Minimum Requirements for Board Registered Interventionist Level I:
- Hold a current ICRC/NAADAC certification and/or a state recognized certification/license in a counseling related field.
- Have malpractice insurance, a minimum of 1,000,000/3,000,000.
- Successfully complete a minimum of 14 hours of training/education on intervention.
- Have a minimum of two years of work experience conducting interventions.
- Submit three peer evaluations and supervised practical experience.
- Adhere to Board Registered Interventionist Code of Ethics.
- Passing an Oral and/or Written Exam may be required.
- Provide a letter from your licensure or certification board verifying your license and/or certification are current and in good standing.
Minimum Requirements for BRI II:
- Be or meet the requirements to be a BRI I.
- Successfully complete a minimum of 14 hours of training/education specific to addictions other than to alcohol and drugs, i.e., gambling, food, sex, etc.
- Have three additional years of work experience conducting interventions.
- Submit supervised practical experience.
- Passing an Oral and/or Written Exam may be required.
The applicant will have the following work experience conducting interventions.
BRI I: Minimum of two years of supervised work experience, completing a minimum of 5 supervised interventions. Supervisor must be approved by the AISCB.
BRI II: Meet the BRI I work experience requirement, plus an additional three years of supervised work experience conducting interventions and demonstrate experience with addictions other than to alcohol and drugs, i.e., gambling, food, sex, etc. in their practice. Successfully facilitate a minimum of 3 supervised interventions of a nature other than to alcohol and drugs. Supervisor must be approved by the AISCB.
Supervised Practical Experience/Mentoring includes activities designed to provide training in specific intervention tasks. All of the hours must be spent being observed (directly or indirectly) in the performance of the intervention task and in receiving individual or group feedback on the performance of the tasks. Individuals considered qualified to provide supervision/mentoring include only those who are pre-approved by the AISCB.
BRI I: Fourteen (14) hours of training/education on intervention to minimally include:
1. History of interventions
2. Suicide and homicide screenings
3. Stages of Change
4. Family Therapy
5. Johnson Intervention Model
6. Systemic Intervention Model
7. ARISE Intervention Model
8. Other types of intervention strategies
9. Ethical consideration of an interventionist
10. How to determine what intervention model to use
BRI II: Meet all training requirements to become a BRI I and provide documentation of a minimum of fourteen (14) hours of training on Intervention techniques for the following:
1. Food Addictions
2. Sex Addiction
3. Gambling Addiction
4. Domestic Violence
5. MISA clients
6. How to work with special populations, i.e., lawyers, pilots etc.
7. Choosing the right intervention approach
Of the 28 clock hours of training/education needed for the BRI II, 14 hours must be based on the Johnson, A.R.I.S.E., Systemic or other models recognized by the AISCB.
Sources of education are college courses, seminars, conferences, in-services, etc. (one college semester hour = 15 clock hours, one college quarter hour = 10 clock hours, one college trimester hour = 12 clock hours).
All requirements must be met and documented before the credential is issued. Upon obtaining registration, the interventionist will display the board registration at his/her primary work site. A Board Registered Interventionist is responsible for renewal of his/her credential.
If you are looking to become a Board Registered Interventionist and feel that you meet the criteria found above, the following websites below can be a great source of information:
-David S. Lee, CCDC, BRI-I, Board Registered Interventionist