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About Me

Barry Lessin - Addictions Counselor - Fort Washington PAI'm a licensed psychologist and drug policy reform advocate with a passion for working with young people and their families who have been impacted by substance use. I have forty years of experience as a clinician, educator, administrator, researcher and public health advocate.  My private clinical practice serves the Blue Bell, Ambler, Lower Gwynedd, Plymouth Meeting, East Norriton and West Conshohocken and Philadelphia PA communities

A review of my career path will shed some light on my values and principles as a person and therapist:

Personal Influences

My practice and career have been significantly affected by my personal experience with a family member's struggle with mental illness, substance misuse and addiction, and subsequent work in the drug policy reform advocacy movement as co-founder of Families for Sensible Drug Policy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, empowering, and advocating for individual and families impacted by substance use.

These humbling experiences increased my awareness of the stigmatizing and criminalizing drug policies in our country that make it difficult for people with substance use problems to access treatment. It also motivated me to shifted my focus to embrace harm reduction approaches to treatment: client- and family-centric, evidence-based (proven effective by scientific research), and collaborative. 

Foundation Built on Core Values

Eagleville Hospital, a pioneer of addiction treatment and then at PATH, Inc., a community mental health center in Philadelphia, is where my career foundation was built. It’s where I learned to appreciate:

  • The importance of embracing people’s strengths and resources while understanding the overall interaction among biological, psychological, behavioral, social, and spiritual aspects of people’s lives.
  • The value of a varied and flexible set of counseling skills and approaches to working with individuals and families with severe mental health and addiction problems.
  • The impact of families on our development; that's why I embrace working with parents and families whenever possible to facilitate improvement.
  • The powerful energy of resiliency that resides inside us and the importance of tapping into this energy.

Collaboration and Partnering

Viewing substance use as public health and human rights issues, I discovered the importance of becoming a partner in my clients’ unique paths in healing and:

  • The value of what harm reduction principles can offer to people wanting to build healthy lifestyles.
  • The importance of a holistic foundation of physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

While training at Temple University’s School Psychology program:

  • I appreciated the advantages of collaborating with school personnel and community resources and that putting extra effort into developing a network of support in our lives increases the likelihood for positive changes to take hold.

My most valuable training, however, has come directly from my clients themselves. Being a witness to their honesty and courage while sharing life experiences and knowledge with me has made me a better therapist.

Compassionate, Uncompromising Quality

As you get to know me, I expect you to discover my genuine sense of caring and a willingness to put maximum effort into providing quality service at all times.

For more information about the nuts and bolts of my training and experience, here's My Resumé.

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