Harm reduction is a framework for helping drug and alcohol users who cannot or will not stop completely-the majority of users-reduce the harmful consequences of use. Harm reduction accepts that abstinence may be the best outcome for many but relaxes the emphasis on abstinence as the only acceptable goal and criterion of success. Instead, smaller incremental changes in the direction of reduced harmfulness of drug use are accepted. This book will show how these simple changes in emphasis and expectation have dramatic implications for improving the effectiveness of psychotherapy in many ways.
Personal dignity and responsibility as well as compassion and the recognition that one's steps take place one day at a time are fundamental to both harm reduction and 12-step approaches to drug addiction. Tatarsky's excellent new paradigm rescues these principles with courage, compassion, and intellectual rigor. Harm reduction psychotherapy has come of age. -- Ethan Nadelman, executive director, Lindesmith Center Drug Policy Foundation
Although this book is a good read for substance misuse specialists too, its readership should be predominantly out with the specialist field. It should be on the bookshelves of the legions of individual psychotherapists who claim no expertise with substance misusers, but who are probably working with some anyway. * Addiction Research and Theory *
Andrew Tatarsky's book, using cases submitted by practitioners from different psychological schools of thought, clearly elucidates the way harm reduction philosophy can be integrated into clinical work. The cases are varied, the practitioners have unique styles and varying approaches, and the realistic conclusions offer the reader a way to integrate slow, incremental change at the client's pace into whatever treatment model they currently use. No longer do therapists have to send people away to become abstinent before they can work with them; no longer do therapists have to feel responsible to set goals for their clients' drug use. This is a must-read for today's psychotherapists who want to practice state-of-the-art healing. -- Edith Springer, Edith Springer Associates