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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As a psychedelic assisted psychotherapist, I take a harm reduction approach to all substance use. I have additional training from the Center for Optimal Living and continue to seek out additional training in this area.

— Hope Williams, Clinical Social Worker in Chicago, IL

Harm reduction is just that--reducing harm wherever possible. I use this type of therapy for people who struggle with alcohol use, thc use, other substances, or other behaviors that could be done in a safer, less risky way. Abstinence works for some people but not for others. I won't put you into a one- size-fits all box.

— Amber Holt, Clinical Social Worker in Gig Harbor, WA

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

Harm Reduction Therapy is a modality that comes from the addiction treatment universe. While I don't treat addictions specifically, I have found that harm reduction is a very helpful framework for reducing unwanted behaviors, such as self-harm, over indulgent behaviors, and other maladaptive coping strategies that we seek to change and replace.

— Kristin Sanders, Clinical Social Worker in , NC

Harm Reduction is based on a set of principles that accept that people use substances and alcohol, and seeks to reduce inevitable harms of using. It is non-judgmental and non-coercive, and goals can include safer use, managed use, or abstinence. I have experience working with clients "where they're at," processing stigma and shame, and creating meaningful change and insight.

— Darcy Dittrich, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Harm Reduction is a practical, nonjudgemental approach that encourages you to make decisions and do things in such away that it diminishes harm. Abstinence can be a goal, but it's not THE goal. My masters was focused on it, and it's the foundation of everything I do in treatment.

— Scott Spiers, Addictions Counselor

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

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 Associate in Ashland, OR

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