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.

Meet the specialists

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 Icenogle Konnoly, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Lacey, WA
 

2.5 years in addiction counseling with focus on harm reduction

— Jennifer Rosselli, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Acton, MA

I help you work towards YOUR goals, not a goal set for you. We can explore what you want your life to look like in relation to substances and set a plan to get there.

— Stephanie Taylor, Mental Health Counselor in Belton, TX
 

Harm reduction recognizes that a person’s relationship to drugs and alcohol is often complex, and takes a non-judgmental approach to helping people reduce the negative impact of substance use, abuse or dependence in their lives. One essential Harm Reduction principle, that is qualitatively different from the 12-Step model, is that any amount of improvement is a good thing.

— Paul Silverman, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Change doesn't happen instantly. I work with clients who engage in harmful behaviors including self-harm, disordered eating, substance use, gambling, etc but aren't ready to fully stop. These behaviors serve a purpose and meet a need. We will work together to identify these needs and build on new tools and strategies to reduce your reliance on harmful behaviors. Harm reduction helps reduce the damage related to these behaviors using a realistic and non-judgemental approach.

— Julie Smith, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Waterford, CT
 

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 Icenogle Konnoly, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Lacey, WA

I have worked in substance use field since 2016, mostly with the adolescent population. I work through a harm reduction point of view as one it can be dangerous to suddenly quit "harder substances" but also because it makes it less likely for relapse to occur. This treatment has also worked for those individuals who self-harm, by finding healthier ways to cope while reducing the negative coping skills being currently engaged.

— Juzmin Molina, Licensed Mental Health Counselor
 

I developed a harm reduction outpatient treatment program for the State of Minnesota. This program worked with clients on gaining tools to significantly reduce their chemical use, improve quality of life, and decrease impact of the chemical use on the community. Many of the clients determined their goal was complete abstinence as they gained confidence in the ability to access coping tools in high risk situations. They also worked on reduction of mental health symptoms.

— Julia Murtha, Drug & Alcohol Counselor in Minneapolis, MN

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 Orlando, FL
 

People aren't perfect and relapse is not failure. I've learned through my experience with clients who misuse substances that living and working conditions are not always optimal for promoting abstinence. In these cases, harm reduction is very useful but not always offered or tolerated in treatment programs. As a certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor, I embrace and utilize any proven therapies that are beneficial to my clients.

— LATEISHA ELLIOTT, Licensed Professional Counselor in Huntsville, AL

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 Intern in , OR
 

2.5 years in addiction counseling with focus on harm reduction

— Jennifer Rosselli, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Acton, MA