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.

Moments like these constitute turning points where new vistas open allowing us to see things differently and to recognize opportunities we did not know existed before. 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.