Saturday December 3rd 2016

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Harm reduction psychotherapy book: Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy (BOOK REVIEW)

A book with strategies for harm reduction

“Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy” is a book that sets out strategies intended to reduce harm and improve health and well-being of individuals who have problems with substance use. Read more about how and why this book can help you first understand and then stop doing harm. Then, ask your questions about harm reduction therapy at the end.

What is harm reduction?

Harm reduction is an approach to working with drug users that aims to reduce drug-related harm to individuals, their families, and communities without necessarily reducing the consumption of drugs and alcohol. The damage done by drug and alcohol use and drug prohibition, not the drug use itself, is the primary focus of attention. Abstinence from mind-altering drugs is only one of many worthy goals and outcomes of harm reduction work.

Harm reduction practitioners make use of a full spectrum of strategies, from safer drug use (such as use of clean needles) to moderation management (e.g., controlled drinking) to abstinence (perhaps from one but not all mind-altering substances). Working with drug users from a harm reduction perspective involves accepting that some people simply are not going to give up using drugs no matter what we think or what we try to do about it.

Why use harm reduction psychotherapy?

Traditional models are attached to one outcome of treatment: abstinence. This singular focus positions therapists against the client’s relationship with drugs. However, the best outcomes in treatment occur when the goals of treatment are chosen by the client. Why consider harm reduction in your practice?

1.  Firstly, the harm that someone incurs from using drugs may be preferable to one’s experience without them. There are many clinical examples of clients who have chosen to get high rather that commit suicide or remain unbearably depressed, for example.

2.  Second, harm reduction is based on the reality that all personal, behavioral change (leaving a relationship, changes to sexual habits, changing diet, taking medication, or reducing or quitting drug or alcohol use) requires a process of decision making and successful implementation. While ambivalence and resistance are normal and expected parts of the change process, what can you focus on in the meantime? Rather than wait for this change process to take place, harm reduction focuses on the more urgent priority of saving.

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3.  Finally, much harm can come to drinkers and other drug users who are not “addicted”. Harm reduction aims to educate people about their choices, and to help minimize potential injury.

Why Check Out The Workbook?

If you are practitioner who treats patients that use drugs, this book will provide you with a thorough theoretical background of harm reduction psychotherapy and a description of how to practice it.

Why Do We Recommend This Book?

“Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy” is an excellent guide for therapists looking to begin or enhance their current mental health practice with harm reduction strategies. It presents a combined psychotherapeutic approach for individuals with drug and alcohol use problems. What’s more, this book gives us a detailed picture of the treatment method and many worthwhile harm reduction resources (applying harm reduction principles in group work or instructions on combining psychotherapy with medication for patients with comorbidity). It shows how treatment providers can treat clients at the precise point where they are capable of making changes and sets up a new way of understanding addictions.

Wondering where you can find “Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy”? To buy, download and read the book, check this link http://www.guilford.com/books/Practicing-Harm-Reduction-Psychotherapy/Denning-Little/9781462502332.

Additionally, if you are left with any questions about this book, we ask you to post them in the section below. We also welcome your feedback if you’ve read the book, and would like to comment and share your opinion.

About the authors: Patt Denning, PhD, is one of the chief developers of Harm Reduction Psychotherapy-a non 12 Step approach to working with people experiencing alcohol and other drugs misuse. Over 35 years as direct service provider, clinical director and supervisor, and trainer in areas including psychopharmacology, personality disorders, HIV, dual disorders, and seriously mentally ill people. Dr. Denning has written 3 books and numerous articles on the topic of alternative approaches to substance abuse treatment.
Jeannie Little, LCSW, has been at the forefront of developing harm reduction therapy for people with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders since 1990. Beginning with her work at the Department of Veterans Affairs, she developed the harm reduction therapy group model and has trained therapists nationally and abroad. She teaches and consults with staff in outpatient clinics, drop-in centers, and supportive housing programs. She directs a national group of researchers and harm reduction therapists that is working to bring harm reduction therapy into the mainstream of substance abuse treatment. She has authored many papers and, with Dr. Denning, she co-authored Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy and Over the Influence, a self-help book for consumers.

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