I work with a client who has a problem with alcohol or drugs. How can I learn more?
Many therapists have clients who, sooner or later, disclose that they are using alcohol or other drugs. Some therapists feel like they don't know that much about substance abuse. Some know about it from personal experience. Graduate school education about drugs, alcohol, and substance abuse was often pretty limited, or out of date. All therapists were trained to refer to "specialty" programs - substance abuse rehab, outpatient treatment, or 12-step meetings. You know about 12-Step meetings and you probably know about interventions and "rehab". And you may have recommended those programs in the past. But maybe you have doubts about those techniques and are looking for more options. Or maybe your client refuses to go to a rehab or 12 step program. What are you supposed to do? Whatever you do, don't terminate treatment!
There are two things to consider:
1) Is your client's drug use really a problem?
Drug and alcohol use is part of most people's lives and usually doesn't interfere with our ability to function. People enjoy getting high! That's normal. But we have been made to believe that being attached to a drug is a sign of a problem. How do you help a client evaluate whether or not their use is causing problems in their life?
2) If it is a problem, what might be contributing to it?
We know that serious drug and alcohol problems are usually part of a complex picture that often includes a history of trauma or a co-occuring psychiatric disorder. Treatment cannot work unless all problems are addressed simultaneously.
There are many ways you can learn more about Harm Reduction Therapy.
We have trained hundreds of mental health providers, substance abuse counselors, case managers, and others in the helping professions to provide respectful and effective care to people suffering with drug problems.
Harm Reduction staff have written books and articles that will take you from the basics to the more complex harm reduction therapy interventions.
CONSULTATIONS AND TRAININGS DESIGNED FOR YOU
Our workshops are specially designed for staff working with clients who use alcohol and other drugs, who relapse frequently, who are dually diagnosed, or who have social problems commonly associated with drug use. We can design a training for your agency, your private practice group or any group of collegues. These trainings can be offered anywhere in this country or internationally.
You will benefit from this training if you are a:
- Licensed mental health professional
- Certified drug treatment counselor
- Mental health associate
- HIV prevention counselor
- Case manager in any health setting
- Support staff member in any agency offering clinical or social services
SPECIAL INTEREST WORKSHOPS
- Working with Trauma and other Specific Psychological Issues
- Substance Use Management
- Harm Reduction with Couples
- Harm Reduction and Adolescents
- Harm Reduction in Housing
- Harm Reduction Case Management
For more information, check out our training page.
JOIN A CONSULTATION GROUP
For therapists located in the Bay Area, a consultation group is held on the 2nd Friday of the month in our Oakland office, 10am-12pm. Contact Dr. Patt Denning to discuss joining. 415-252-0669.