John Heron’s Six‐Category Intervention Analysis

Resource: Heron, J. (2001). Helping the client: A creative practical guide. Sage.


Heron’s Six‐Category Intervention Analysis is a conceptual framework for understanding interpersonal relationships.

What Is Intervention?

Heron’s meaning of intervention is an “identifiable piece of verbal or non- verbal behaviour that is part of the practitioner’s service to the client”.

“The practitioner is anyone who offers a professional service to the client. This would include such disciplines as nurses, doctors, dentists, psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors” (Rungapadiachy, 1998).

Heron’s Six‐Category Intervention Analysis

Enhancement of growth and development is seen as therapeutic activity. Heron’s 6 categories of counselling interventions are based around 2 styles of authoritative and facilitative:

  • Prescriptive: Seeks to direct the client’s behaviour.
  • Informative: Seeks to impart knowledge to the client.
  • Confronting: Seeks to raise the client’s awareness or consciousness about attitudes or behaviours of which they are unaware of.
  • Cathartic: Seeks to enable the client to discharge painful emotions.
  • Catalytic: Seeks to encourage the client into self-discovery, self-directing and problem-solving approach.
  • Supportive: Seeks to affirm the client’s worth and value and understand their qualities, attitudes and actions.
  • to understand how we are interacting with people.
  • to understand how we are received.
  • to understand ourselves.
  • to understand our client.


Keywords: Heron; Six‐Category Intervention Analysis; Interpersonal Relationships.


Heron, J. (2001). Helping the client: A creative practical guide. Sage.

Rungapadiachy, D. M. (1998). Interpersonal communication and psychology for health care professionals: Theory and practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Sloan, G., & Watson, H. (2001). John Heron’s six‐category intervention analysis: towards understanding interpersonal relations and progressing the delivery of clinical supervision for mental health nursing in the United KingdomJournal of advanced nursing36(2), 206-214.