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Training readies interventionists to be grandparented under new credential

January 24, 2014
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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With requirements for a relatively new credential for interventionists becoming more stringent in a couple of months, several leading names in intervention have been sponsoring trainings to help interventionists move closer to becoming certified under the less demanding rules.

Ken Seeley of Intervention 911, John Southworth of Southworth Associates and Caroline Smith of Pine Grove Behavioral Health will conduct a training hosted by Delray Recovery Center Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in Delray Beach, Fla. The training offers 28 continuing education hours, a major step toward fulfilling educational requirements under the Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) credential managed by the Pennsylvania Certification Board.

When the one-year anniversary of the credential's introduction is reached this April 1, educational and experience standards alone will no longer suffice for the CIP, as all new applicants for the credential at that time will be required to take an examination as well.

The CIP's establishment in 2013 added another opportunity for legitimizing a discipline within the addiction community that has been unregulated and is prone to receiving criticism over inconsistent or questionable practices. Ironically, says interventionist Eric McLaughlin of Intervention 911, only about 1 in 20 families ever ask to review a prospective interventionist's background before enlisting the person's help in shepherding a loved one to treatment.

“I don't know if people really understand what we do,” says McLaughlin. “The public doesn't think of interventionists in the same way that they think of doctors or therapists.”

At the same time, McLaughlin says, the work interventionists are doing is becoming increasingly complex, as the profile of an individual with one presenting problem has generally given way to the client with multiple diagnoses. Some information in the trainings addresses process addictions and mental health diagnoses as well as substance addiction issues, he says.

“The Delray Recovery Center is thrilled to host such renowned professionals,” center chief financial officer Peter Walstrom said in a news release from the facility organizing the Florida-based training. “We in the industry have much to learn from each other, and we are proud to do our part to support these efforts.”

The CIP credential is available to interventionists regardless of where they live or work. Applicants who do not yet meet all requirements for the credential can receive Associate Intervention Professional status as they fulfill the mandates for the full certification, according to the Pennsylvania Certification Board.

There remains some division in the field over whether interventionists should have direct clinical experience. Officials with NAADAC's National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals have taken the position that credential holders should have at least five years of clinical practice experience. But in last year's Addiction Professional special report on the intervention landscape, Intervention 911's Seeley disagreed with that perspective, saying, “Interventionists really aren't there to assess or to diagnose. What we're there to do is to get into a family system.”

A similar training event offering 28 continuing education hours will be hosted by Foundations Associates in Atlanta in late March. For more information about the Florida training, click here.