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MY BLOG: PEOPLE USE DRUGS FOR REASONS

A Person's Experience Transitioning to Harm Reduction Therapy

by Barry Lessin

June 21st, 2019

Since my transition from a traditional one-size-fits-all 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.

No Need to Panic: Parenting With a Harm Reduction Approach

by Barry Lessin

June 15th, 2019

Fear about a young person's drug use can cause you to make bad decisions that can harm your child and your relationship with them. By tapping into what harm reduction and skilled parenting share, you can begin feel more at ease in dealing with your child's substance use.

 

Discovering that your child has started experimenting with drugs or alcohol is very troubling. Worry can quickly escalate into fear, especially when attempts to intervene fail. Many parents often feel helpless and out of control.

Confronted with the news that their child is getting high, the first question parents often ask me is, “How can I get her to stop?” The answer is, “That's not the best place to start".

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 a harm reduction psychologist, 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:

 

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