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The Six Categories of Intervention

John Talbut

The six categories are to do with the intention of the practitioner. In other words, they are six different ways in which I can intend to help another person. None of the categories is better than any of the others.

Support: When I choose to use interventions I am doing so solely to support the other person to learn what their wise self would say they need to learn. I want nothing for myself except that the other person is more in charge of their own life, more in their own power.

Warrant: Do I have the right to use this intervention with this client in these circumstances, me being how I am?

Appropriateness: What type of intervention might best help the other person to learn?


The six categories are described below with suggestions for possible interventions that might be used to help a child who is being affected by bullying at school.


Authoritative interventions

I intervene with some authority, which I have because of my role, or because of some knowledge or awareness that I have.


I intend to give some information to the other person.



My intention is to encourage to other person to do something that I think will help them to learn how to deal with their problem.



I intend to help the other person to become more aware of some limiting aspect of themselves or their behaviour that they are relatively unaware of. I sense that the person is likely to be upset about what I am about to make them aware of.


Facilitative interventions

I try to facilitate, i.e. make easier, the other person's learning or self-development.


I intend to be a catalyst for the other person to work things out. In other words, I try to help them to make sense of things while not getting involved in the topics myself.



I intend to help the other person to get in touch with their emotions and maybe to let them out (to discharge their emotions or cathart.).



I intend only to demonstrate my support for the other person so that they can get on with their learning in whatever way they want to.



Based on: Heron, John Helping the Client London: Sage

[ Donington Training ]

Updated 16th August 2017

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