Perhaps the most familiar form of addiction treatment, of helping those with a drug or alcohol dependency heal and recovery, is abstinence-based programs. These include the familiar 12 step programs springing from the approach of Alcoholic Anonymous and adapted to a wide variety of substance use disorders and process addictions. However, another option has shown itself to be effective for those who aren’t seeing the progress they desire in traditional treatment. The approach is called harm reduction therapy.

Our harm reduction program at Insight Recovery Centers is for people who are unwilling or unable to make changes to their substance use but do not like the problems it is causing in their lives. Many find that traditional treatment is just not the “right fit” and have not felt that 12-step meetings worked for them. They have often felt uncomfortable with the concepts of powerlessness and spirituality that many support groups follow. The label of alcoholic or addict does not seem to fit for them. Harm reduction is an approach designed to meet individuals where they are and help them achieve their goals rather than impose some outside rubric of what is healthy.

What Is Harm Reduction?

When using harm reduction as the lens to view treatment for substance use disorder or addiction, we recognize that sobriety is not how we define success. Rather, the goal is to lead a balanced life, allowing the individual to achieve their goals and exert control. While abstinence-only approaches work for many, they do not work for all. For those who fall outside the abstinence paradigm, harm reduction is a way to improve one’s health.

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An individual may not carve out the time necessary for a residential or intensive outpatient program due to emotional, personal, or financial commitments. Through our outpatient harm reduction program, they can get the support they desire in a format that works for them. Several principles guide our harm reduction approach:

  • Respecting each individual and their rights and dignity
  • Using evidence-based treatment techniques
  • Avoiding stigma, judgment, and prejudice
  • Reducing the risk of harm associated with alcohol and drug use
  • Providing access to a diverse range of resources and therapies
  • Setting achievable goals and prioritizing major milestones
  • Involving the individual in their treatment plan

Abstinence-only approaches are not the only forms of treatment available. By offering harm reduction therapy, Insight Recovery Centers provides individuals with one more tool, one more resource to help them assert control over their lives and increase their overall well-being.

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Insight Into Action Therapy!

Our Harm Reduction Strategies

Like any form of therapy, harm reduction requires a commitment from the individual. However, rather than trying to get the individual to conform to some preconceived notion of sobriety or even recovery, our team begins by working with individuals to identify their goals and needs.

At its core, harm reduction recognizes treatment must always start and stay centered on the individual’s unique needs. Our harm reduction strategies focus on minimizing the negatives associated with substance use, both in the individual’s mind and those around them. At Insight Recovery Centers, our program includes:

  • Two 90-minute groups involving psychoeducation, processing, and counseling
  • Weekly individual counseling and case management
  • Weekly family support group
  • Random drug or alcohol screening to track progress

By incorporating these into our approach, individuals cannot just heal but track their progress towards the goals they themselves have worked to identify. The length of time at this level of care is typically three to four months, determined by you and your counselor. In harm reduction, individuals take an active role alongside their counselor or therapist. Together we develop a treatment plan that may involve medication-assisted treatment or a progressive combination of different therapies. For example, clients may take advantage of several different therapeutic approaches depending on how they progress through treatment, such as:

We believe that respect for each individual’s desire and ability to change is key to healing. Through incremental stages, our harm reduction approach works to minimize the impact of substance use disorder.

Discover How Insight Recovery Centers Can Provide the Support You Need

Insight Recovery Centers offers a variety of approaches to help individuals address substance use disorder. We also offer programs to help clients deal with any mental health concerns. Reach out to us today at 703-592-6946 to learn more.