Substance AbuseMost importantly, when I work with clients struggling with substance use, I accept them where they are. This is a fundamental precept of the Harm Reduction model which is an effective, but lesser known method for approaching substance use/abuse as compared to the more popular abstinence theories. Whether my client is involved in the twelve steps, and is abstinent, or is just thinking about "cutting down”, I meet my clients where they are and work with them accordingly.
Principles of Harm ReductionThe first tenet of Harm reduction is to accept a client where he or she is. This is based on the belief that behavior change is a stepwise process and that people find themselves in different places in their lives throughout their struggle. This acceptance involves taking the whole person into account and factoring in their emotional, interpersonal, physical, historical and financial realities which contribute to the individual's behavior. In addition, Harm Reduction believes that risky and dangerous behavior occur along a continuum from minimally dangerous to extreme and there is often a great deal of ambivalence associated with change. Whereas one individual may drink excessively, but limits it to the weekends, another person may be injecting speed on a daily basis. This continuum combined with the belief that change is a process culminate in working with clients to reduce the amount of harm brought to themselves and others. By focusing on positive change instead of relapse, there is a reduction of shame, guilt, and isolation that often accompanies feelings of failure associated with relapse.
Is it Right for Me?Harm Reduction is here for everyone. Whether you just want to cut down on the amount of pot or alcohol you use or whether you are trying to kick a crystal meth habit for good, Harm Reduction can benefit you. Whether you are involved in a 12 Step program, or whether you are struggling alone trying to change certain behaviors, the model can be effective. It can be used as an adjunct to an existing recovery program or used exclusively. If you have any questions about how I work or the services I offer, I encourage you to call or email me, as I would like the opportunity to speak with you. Also, please access my resources page, as there are links to Harm Reduction sites and other sites, which can provide you with additional information.
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