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MY BLOG: PEOPLE USE DRUGS FOR REASONS

Harm Reduction Psychotherapy vs. Traditional Substance Use Treatment: A Client's Perspective

Since my transition several years ago from a traditional abstinence-based treatment approach to harm reduction psychotherapy, many clients whom I continued working with through my transition have remarked at how dramatically the harm reduction approaches have empowered them to move forward in their therapy and in their lives.

One client offered to share her experiences here to allow others to learn more about what harm reduction approaches can possibly do for them. Every effort has been made to keep her identity anonymous:

 

"AS A PERSON that has experienced both the rigid abstinence-only format of rehabilitation and the more flexible process of harm reduction treatment approaches, my preference is for harm reduction.

TEENS AND DRUGS: HELPING PARENTS CHILL OUT

It's been almost two years since I lifted my head out the sand and discovered that harm reduction approaches offer me so many ways to be more effective as a therapist and addiction treatment consultant.

My recent article in The Fix, Teens and Drugs: Helping Parents Chill Out  reflects some of what I've found to be very helpful in working with parents to get back in the driver's seat of their family when their child's drug use has become disruptive. 

When I began using harm reduction principles such as 'people use drugs for reasons' 'meet your kid where she's at', I was worried that parents would think that I was condoning their kid's drug use. Well, I was pleasantly surprised that once parents understood the ideas a little better, they were more willing to embrace a different perspective and began to use these ideas to work at improving their relationship with their child.

A Mother's Recipe for Growth: Pain, Love, Spirituality and Hope

As an addictions counselor, I'm inspired by the courage and determination that people are able to summon up to help them cope with chronic, complex, often life-endangering problems. 

I'm sharing an example below from a mother who is kind (and brave!) enough and willing to share her story so others may have a better understanding of the rollercoaster journey that so many like her take. Her story is similar to many others with addicted children, but this is her unique path. The love of her child, her personal spirituality, along with courage and determination have supplied the hope for her to move forward in her life:

 

An Anniversary No One Wants to Celebrate

On June 21, 2012, I had the honor to speak at Bucks County GRASP's (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing) first anniversary meeting in Bristol, PA.

This type of anniversary no one ever wants to be in a position to celebrate.  

GRASP represents a nationwide network of support groups for parents and family members of those who have died from accidental drug overdose.

I spoke about what led me to become involved with GRASP and it's parent group Broken No More: my experience with addiction and mental illness in my family, my recent awareness of our country's failed drug policies and how my work with my clients has been transformed as a result.

The anniversary meeting was an opportunity to acknowledge the growth of the Bucks County GRASP group, which offers those suffering from their devastating loss the opportunity to connect with others in an atmosphere of safety that helps to promote their healing. 

My Transition to Harm Reduction: Listen to my interview on BlogTalkRadio

I was privileged to be interviewed by harm reductionist Ken Anderson on his radio blog talk show on May 3, 2012

I talked about the influences in my transition to integrating harm reduction principles into my work with my clients as well as my advocacy efforts to help change the failed public health policies that criminalize and stigmatize those with substance use problems.

Ken is the founder and director of the HAMS network (Harm reduction, Abstinence, Moderation, and Support). Ken has written the book  "How to Change Your Drinking: A harm reduction guide to alcohol."

Check back to my website soon for more info about harm reduction....

And by the way, that picture is a HAMSter....

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