What is Harm Reduction?
Harm reduction is a philosophy, not a program or treatment approach. The goal of harm reduction is to provide patients with strategies that allow them to manage their addiction without causing further damage to their health. Harm reduction can prevent disease, injury, death, disability, crime, social problems, and other negative consequences caused by substance abuse.
The harm reduction model provides an alternative to abstinence-based programs tailored to each individual’s needs and situations and offers a non-judgmental setting. It also includes support for those recovering from alcohol and drug use disorders. Empathy, respect, and understanding are at the heart of this approach. Active strategies to promote positive behavior change are identified, and therapists work collaboratively with clients to develop plans for achieving these goals.
Harm reduction postulates that people can make informed decisions about their lives and have the right to choose how they live. Focused on safer or reduced use and moderation of substances rather than complete abstinence, it recognizes that some people will always need help managing their addictions.
Harm reduction includes providing information, education, skills training, and access to counseling, detoxification, medical care, housing, employment, legal assistance, and family therapy. Harm reduction acknowledges the large spectrum of substance use, meets people where they are and works to accomplish their goals. For example, the doctor that has a habit of drinking too much at dinner parties has a goal of having two drinks and no more. The therapist works with the client on their terms. To reach their goals, such as thought-stopping, monitoring how fast the individual is drinking, and evaluating how well the interventions improve the client’s status toward their goal of drinking only two drinks at the party.
On a more severe note, the client who is day drinking has a goal of not drinking until after 6 pm. The therapist and client would work together to set reasonable benchmarks for the patient to achieve this goal, not only work toward abstinence.
The spectrum of use is considered for each client individually, and the treatment plan focuses on reducing harm as opposed to only abstinence. To learn more, click Harm Reduction & Addiction Recovery.
Get Support From A New Heights Mental Health Professional
New Height Counselors embrace the harm reduction philosophy in all aspects of our practice. We believe that everyone has the right to make choices regarding their own life and that we should be supportive of individuals who want to reduce their risk of illness, injury, and death related to substance use. Our counselors understand that there is no one size fits all recovery solution and that every person’s situation is unique. This means that we do not prescribe any particular type of treatment but instead offer a wide range of options based on your personal preferences.
Appointment Schedule (Last appointment – 4 PM)
Monday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Tuesday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Wednesday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Thursday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Friday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Evenings/Weekends by Appointment
- Principle of Harm Reduction Principles, National Harm Reduction Coalition
- What is Harm Reduction, Harm Reduction International
- Welcome Video New Heights Counseling Founder & Clinical Director, Colleen Wenner
About the Author:
Colleen Wenner is the founder and clinical director of New Heights Counseling, where she provides counseling services for individuals struggling with mental health issues. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Master Certified Addiction Professional. Colleen is a certified supervisor in Florida and an EMDR trauma-certified practitioner and consultant in training. Colleen is committed to providing excellent client care and services the Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Destin, and surrounding communities.
Colleen has consistently advocated for mental health wellness and has dedicated her entire life to promoting awareness among the public. She has been featured on various podcasts such as Practice of the Practice (The #1 Podcast for counselors in private practice), Shrink Think Podcast, and The Salty Christan Podcast, to name a few. She has also contributed to several articles for Yahoo Best Life, Unfinished Man, and UpJourney. Colleen uses compassionate and authentic communication to help clients understand themselves better and feel more confident about their ability to improve their lives.