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Basic Principles in Harm Reduction Therapy

People use drugs for reasons and because harm reduction doesn’t judge you for using alcohol and other drugs it reduces shame and stigma, offering an opportunity to take a more open, safer look at the problems in your life. It can empower you to take the next steps to better deal with the issues in your life that most concern you.


Harm reduction therapy includes the following principles:


  • Person- and family-centered: Issues to work on are determined by you My job is to collaborate with you to help you identify what you want to work on and what your goals might be.
  • Collaboration: We’ll work together to mobilize your unique existing strengths, supports and resources
  • Any positive change is good. Making changes can be scary--it’s like losing something that’s important to you. Change is also contagious. Making small changes gives us confidence and perhaps motivation to try some more.
  • Self-empowerment:  You know yourself best and tapping into your strengths also increases confidence in your ability and willingness to make changes.
  • I meet you where you are now in the process of change. Change is also a process that occurs in steps, so we’ll start with where you are currently in the process of changing and decide what the next steps are; or if you’re not ready to make any changes now, that’s ok, you’re free to return later.
  • Paths to getting well are unique and flexible.  Paths may include counseling or psychotherapy; use of medications; support from families, communities and in schools; faith-based approaches; peer support; and other supports unique to you. Staying flexible allows you to keep an open mind about what path or paths may be helpful to follow.



Check out my published articles that explain how harm reduction approaches help parents: 




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