Based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, interventionist Joe Schrank is a Master’s-level CSW, public speaker and policy advocate. He is also co-founder of the recovery-oriented website The Fix and a regular contributor to Salon, The Daily Beast and Huffington Post. Schrank works independently and his services include interventions, crisis management, narcotic detection dog screenings, court and treatment consultations and one-to-one In Vivo Exposure Therapy, where he provides an individualized, in-home rehab experience.
While Schrank has provided interventions for a number of issues, including gambling, sex addiction and mental illness, his primary focus is on substance abuse. And while he does not have a particular client base, he’s known for being particularly effective with young men, which is no surprise given his imposing physical stature and no-nonsense demeanor.
Openly sober for nearly 20 years, Schrank received his Bachelor’s in social work from Iona College and his Master’s in social work from the University of Illinois. With over 20 years of experience as a social worker in the addiction and mental health field, he has provided intervention services for the last 15 years.
Given his background as a clinical social worker, it’s not surprising that Schrank stresses a clinical approach to his method. And while his own sobriety journey clearly informs his work, he doesn’t over-rely on his personal narrative. Schrank’s overriding method is simple: whatever works best to meet the shared goals of the client and family. His reasoning is that because addiction is so complex, it can be self-defeating to rely only on one system to apply to any situation. Thus, Schrank meets with the family beforehand—he can hold introductory sessions via Skype when needed—keeping the lead-up time as direct as possible (usually two days of prep). From there, he follows a plan of whatever is determined to be the most effective; either a surprise session or scheduled meeting. On occasion, he works with families to locate a missing loved one.
After this initial intervention meeting, Schrank’s pragmatic approach continues; if a detox is necessary and agreed upon, he works with the client’s physician to determine the safest next steps and can assist in transporting clients to an accommodating facility. Schrank is not allied with any particular rehab facility but has a deep working knowledge of a variety of inpatient and outpatient options and will also help clients negotiate their fees. Sometimes, the agreed upon option between the family and client is to begin a rigorous 12-step program, a process in which Schrank can also assist. But above all, Schrank maintains a core principle: while he can guide them, the client must ultimately choose his or her own path.
Schrank provides his services pro-bono to any combat veteran struggling with substance abuse.
Post-Intervention & In Summary
While Schrank tends to avoid official long-term contracts, instead preferring to see how effective the initial plan has been and how all parties feel about going forward, he typically remains available to clients and their families long after the initial intervention.