Harm Reduction Therapy

Harm reduction, or harm minimization, accepts that idea that many people can’t or won’t completely stop using drugs or alcohol. The term “harm reduction” refers to a framework for helping reduce the harmful consequences of use when abstinence is not a realistic option. Although harm reduction was originally and most frequently associated with substance use, it is increasingly being applied to a multitude of other behavioral disorders. A core tenant of harm reduction is a relaxation on the emphasis on abstinence as the only acceptable goal and criteria of success. Instead, smaller incremental changes in the direction of reduced harmfulness of drug use are encouraged and accepted. Think a therapist armed with harm reduction techniques might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s harm reduction experts today.

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At the core of harm reduction therapy is a respect for human rights. Working from a harm reduction approach means that I meet you where you are and on your own terms when it comes to substance use of any other behaviors deemed "harmful" by society. My question is, "what would you like your drug use or sexual behaviors to look like," and we can work from your answer to determine how you can be safe and comfortable.

— Liz Silverman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Brooklyn, NY

I use the ethical principles in harm reduction. Being pragmatic means taking steps to reduce harm when a person continues to use substances. It is recognition that substance use will occur regardless of provider care wishes. There is also respecting autonomy, human rights & dignity and compassion.

— Lori Loncharek, Therapist in Anoka, MN

Professor Bisher is an addiction specialist helping men quickly overcome compulsive sexual behavior (porn and sex addiction). He brings an empathic & empowering approach with a focus on achieving sustainable sobriety quickly.

— Blair Bisher, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Needham, MA

Harm reduction can assist in helping clients who are ready to begin stages of change without completely eradicating undesired behaviors, such as self-harming, by replacing them with less harmful behaviors.

— Mariah Masell, Social Worker in Grand Rapids, MI

As a therapist, my expertise in harm reduction therapy is based on extensive training and experience. I prioritize compassion, non-judgment, and meeting clients where they are in their journey. I successfully support clients in reducing harm associated with substance use by using a client-centered and strengths-based approach. My commitment to harm reduction is rooted in a compassionate and non-stigmatizing approach that respects clients' autonomy and promotes positive change at their own pace.

— Peter Addy, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

I have both a professional and personal relationship with harm reduction. I find approaching behavior change is best when we can use a judgement free attitude. I help people take a deeper look at their relationship with substances without the pressure to fit their experience into a rigid box.

— Eliot Hagerty, Licensed Professional Counselor in Philadelphia, PA

My career has been spent working towards reduced harm for all clients. That often requires out of the box and individualized thinking. Often, mental health treatment is given and it is required that a client fit into the modality to 'succeed'. Harm Reduction leads to more authentic and improved outcomes as it meets the person where they are at and builds upon small successes. It is an Empowerment-based practice utilizing one's own knowledge, skills and experience.

— Laurie Smith, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Plymouth, MI

My specialization in this approach reflects my commitment to providing compassionate and effective care for individuals seeking support in managing risky behaviors. I have undergone specialized training and supervision in Harm Reduction Therapy, encompassing both theoretical foundations and practical applications.

— Sharif Khan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Harm-Reduction used to be a term that professionals were afraid to use, particularly when it comes to treating substance use disorders. Harm reduction is more than treating individuals with behavioral disorders with dignity and respect. It is also about reducing the harm to the community. This is done by providing strategies that aims to minimize the negative health, societal, and legal consequences associated with substance use.

— Brian McCann, Social Worker in Chicago, IL

Harm reduction is a proactive and evidence-based approach that incorporates a spectrum of strategies that meet people “where they are” on their own terms and may serve as a pathway to reduce the negative personal and public health impacts of behavior associated with alcohol and other substance use at both the individual community level.-SAMSA. I have used this model for more than just substance use; because humans are complex, and attempt "escape" in many different ways.

— Holli Engelhart, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Edina, MN

Harm reduction begins with the basic assumption that it is possible to have healthy relationships with the behaviors and substances you choose to engage with in your life. Harm reduction does not demand abstinence, but sometimes taking a break can help you get a new perspective. If you are concerned that you have an unhealthy relationship with a substance, habit, or even a person, let's take an honest look together to find ways to reduce harm and increase your sense of satisfaction in life.

— Lucius Wheeler, Licensed Professional Counselor in Ashland, OR

I have worked with this approach within LGBTQ+ populations and with people struggling with addiction. I have also presented professionally on this topic.

— Margaret Keig, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Maitland, FL

Self-Harm Reduction Therapy helps people work through their pain & suffering, instead of staying “stuck” and increasing it. Distress Tolerance is a DBT Skill that I teach clients, so they learn safe ways to survive crisis situations without making them worse. When we can accept reality for what it is, we can free ourselves from our own personal prison, and safely move forward to build a healthier life worth living.

— Cassie Konnoly, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Lacey, WA