Crisis Intervention

What is an intervention? What is its objective?

An intervention is a deliberate process by which change is introduced into peoples' thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
A formal intervention, like we are discussing here, usually involves several people preparing themselves, approaching a person involved in some self-destructive behavior, and talking to the person in a clear and respectful way about the behavior in question with the immediate objectives being for the person to listen and to accept help.
Although the intervention process has been formalized, the idea is not new. Thinking back, most of us can remember a time when someone or something - a teacher, friend, or set of circumstances impressed us in a seminal way which altered how we understood ourselves and changed our perspective.
The overall objective of an intervention is to begin to relieve the suffering caused by a self-destructive behavior - the suffering of the person engaged in it and the suffering of family and friends.

What self-destructive behaviors are appropriate for intervention?

Any self-destructive behavior can be addressed in an intervention.

Generally people think of substance abuse as being most applicable to intervention. However, eating disorders, gambling, and other compulsive behaviors are appropriate as well. Even an elderly person, no longer able to live alone safely yet resisting assisted-living arrangements, can be helped through the intervention process.

What should my family think about when considering an intervention?

Major considerations in all interventions include the following:

  • Can my family do an intervention without professional guidance?
  • How urgent is my situation?
  • What should be the objective of my intervention?
  • Who should participate in the intervention?
  • How should I handle angry, hopeless or reluctant family members?
  • How can we intervene when my family lives all around the country?
  • How much time will be required of the participants?
  • How much elapsed time does an intervention take?
  • Where will the planning meetings and the intervention take place?
  • What kind of treatment works the best?

Connect with Starting Point


Starting Point, Inc.

11514 N. Port Washington Road
Suite 120
Mequon, WI 53092

262-241-1004