It began with this. A simple post from a dear friend on Facebook. It said please do not hire interventionists who are not professionally trained, who are inexperienced and have no certifications or insurance.

She went on to say that she was outraged because a young man, who has had no professional training and has zero experience doing interventions, had posted on his Facebook page pictures of significant checks given to him by two families for the interventions he did. Next, the checks clearly displayed the family name of the hiring entity, which leaves the unsuspecting family with zero confidentiality. Here there are no ethics and there are health risks for the identified patient. This is all about exploitation and the easy dollar, where the cowboy has zero professional or clinical training to know how to manage various situations or the professional understanding of clinical knowledge that is a crucial element in working in this field. This is why it is crucial that people understand the necessity of hiring a certified professional interventionist!

So I decided to check this out for myself. I found the "interventionist" on Facebook and began a dialogue, as I knew that greed is a formidable motivator, From here the conversation by messenger went like this:

I understand you do interventions. Is this true?

Yes it is.

Curious as to where you do interventions? Your operating area?

I travel all over from West to East.

Located where?

NW Indiana.

Cool; central location.

Are you accredited? Certified?

No, I am not accredited. I've been clean for 2 years 7 months. I also do a lot of work for VA clinics and hospitals.

Do you carry insurance when you do interventions?

Meaning? (You've got to be kidding, right?)

So if you are, say, a Certified Intervention Professional like me, we have to sign a code of ethics and carry malpractice and liability insurance.

Never said I was certified first off, and second I told you I wasn't accredited.

I understand. You asked me to clarify the insurance though?

Would you be interested in a case?

This was how the conversation began, as I wrapped my head around the fact that I was dealing with a neophyte. So I then confronted him with the two very large checks that he has posted and said, "So, apart from being clean and having lived experience of addiction, you are totally unqualified to do interventions, then you take a large amount of money from poor unsuspecting people and post about it on FB with clear disregard for their confidentiality? The checks are made out to you. I am sure the probation office in Indiana would be interested in your activities. You seem to have a history. People like you give the trade a bad name."

By this time I had looked the guy up and found that he had had legal problems in Indiana, where he has defrauded people out of money and had been found guilty. So I wrap up with him by saying: "I am not threatening you. I am telling you like it is. Please don’t continue to give others in the intervention business a bad name"

For those of us who have been clinically trained, who have spent the time to become certified and have done the work, this kind of story represents the worst of the worst. This is the kind of cowboy who gets all of us a bad name. This is why AIS or NII are so important. Membership brings with it recognition. Families should be checking membership directories for their local area to make sure they find someone who is competent.

To remind you, the real CIP demands a certain amount of experience and is contingent upon the level of education and must be specific to the domains. The domains are: Pre‐Intervention, Intervention, Post Intervention and Professional & Ethical Responsibility. Supervised work experience is defined as providing direct addiction intervention and related services 50% of the time. All experience must be documented and supervised. Applicants must document participation in three interventions and facilitation of two interventions within the last three years, for a total of five interventions. The amount of education required is contingent upon the level of education. Six hours must be in professional ethics and responsibility. Education must be specifically related to the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the tasks within the domains. Education is defined as formal, structured instruction in the form of workshops, seminars, institutes, in‐services, college/university credit courses and distance learning. All education must be documented. There is no time limit on when education was received. Education provided to other professionals is also acceptable. A relevant three-credit college course is equal to 45 hours.

The amount of supervision required is contingent upon the level of education. A minimum of 10 hours in each domain is required. Supervision must be documented and may occur as part of eligible work experience and may be completed under more than one supervisor. Supervision is the administrative and evaluative process of monitoring, assessing and enhancing professionals' performance. Supervisors must hold a license or certification in the behavioural health field.

The problem with the intervention field is the lack of a standard international credential. I have talked about the CIP because that is what I am most familiar with. I would also mention Arise, Heather Hayes and Associates and Sober Academy which features the work of Judith Landau, Heather Hayes, Ian Young and Janique Svedberg and their objective to once again make sure that interventionists are trained. They specialise in the USA, Europe and the rest of the world.

As my blog title stipulates: Buyer beware!

Author of this blog, David Brown is the co-founder of Imago Interventions International who, along with us, are co-hosting the conference: Celebrating Resilience and Change in Dublin on the 29th January, 2019