What Is an Intervention?

Frequently asked questions

What is an intervention?

An intervention is a deliberate process by which change is introduced into peoples' thoughts, feelings and behaviors. 

The overall objective of an intervention is to confront a person in a non-threatening way and allow them to see their self-destructive behavior, and how it affects themselves, family and friends. 

It usually involves several people who have prepared themselves to talk to a person who has been engaging in some sort of self-destructive behavior. In a clear and respectful way, they inform the person of factual information regarding his or her behavior and how it may have affected them. 

The immediate objective of an intervention is for the self-destructive person to listen and to accept help.


A friend needs help, but doesn't want to talk about it. Should we do an intervention?

An intervention can be a helpful tool for a family member, colleague or friend who is resistant to addressing his or her problem. 

At one time there was an attitude that people couldn't be helped unless they "hit bottom" but that has changed. Often people who are resistant and enter treatment due to an intervention do very well. 

Anyone who calls Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation to request an intervention will be encouraged to talk to a counselor first, as often times a professional intervention is not necessary. However, there are times when an intervention is critical and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation can provide you with options from a list of professionals with whom we have worked. Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation does not have interventionists on staff.

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