Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy

Second Edition
An Alternative Approach to Addictions

Patt Denning and Jeannie Little

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
October 24, 2011
ISBN 9781462502332
Price: $53.00
366 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
November 14, 2011
ePub ?
Price: $53.00
366 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $106.00 $58.30
366 Pages
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This acclaimed clinical guide, now substantially revised and updated, has helped thousands of clinicians put the proven principles of harm reduction into practice with therapy clients who have substance use problems. Written by pioneers in the field, the book shows how to do effective therapeutic work with people still using alcohol or other drugs. It provides clear guidelines for conducting comprehensive assessments, making collaborative treatment decisions, and implementing interventions that combine motivational, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic strategies. The focus is reducing drug-related harm while also addressing co-occurring psychological and emotional difficulties. Detailed clinical illustrations are featured throughout.

New to This Edition See also the authors' related self-help guide, Over the Influence, Second Edition, an ideal client recommendation.

“This is a great book that has radical reform implications for treating drug users.”

American Journal of Psychiatry

“This well-written book....[would be] useful in training graduate students in the integration of addictions treatment into everyday clinical practice—a useful skill to possess given the high rates of addictive disorders in the general population.”

Journal of Studies on Alcohol

“Accessible to a wide array of practitioners....[Combines] discussion of research and theory with clinical case application....The book delivers on its promise of presenting an approach that is an alternative to the status quo in American SUDs treatment services.”

Clinical Psychology Review

“An essential tool for the modern practitioner who treats any patient using drugs.”


“The real strength in this book lies in its optimism that it is possible to treat 'extremely damaged individuals'...the principle of excluding no-one from treatment is most welcome.”

Alcohol and Alcoholism

“Introduces the reader to a new and innovative way to view addictions and provides a nontraditional approach to the treatment of individuals with substance abuse difficulties....A must read for all mental health and substance abuse practitioners.”

Canadian Journal of Counselling

“This pioneering book presents an integrated, realistic psychotherapeutic approach for individuals with substance use problems. The second edition develops the treatment model in great detail and provides a wide range of valuable harm reduction resources—for example, guidelines for combining psychotherapy with medication for patients with serious comorbidity. An excellent practical reference for general mental health practitioners and addiction specialists.”

—Linda C. Sobell, PhD, ABPP, President's Distinguished Professor, and Mark B. Sobell, PhD, ABPP, President's Distinguished Professor, College of Psychology, Nova Southeastern University

“The substance abuse treatment community in the United States ignored this evidence-based approach for way too long. This important book shows how practitioners can treat clients at the precise point where they are capable of making changes. It features examples, case studies, and valuable information on applying harm reduction principles in group work, supervision, and other contexts, in addition to individual psychotherapy. This is a 'must read' for anyone in the field of addictive disorders.”

—Robert J. Meyers, PhD, Emeritus Research Associate Professor of Psychology, University of New Mexico; Director, Robert J. Meyers, PhD, and Associates

“The second edition of Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy is a book whose time has come. Harm reduction is finally recognized as a basic concept that needs to inform the treatment of all clients with substance use problems, particularly those who have co-occurring disorders. Denning and Little clearly position harm reduction as a current, integrated, nondogmatic, client-centered treatment approach.”

—Shulamith Lala Ashenberg Straussner, PhD, LCSW, Silver School of Social Work, New York University

“Denning and Little have earned an international reputation for their research and clinical practice. Highlighting the principle of 'doing patients no harm,' the authors explain the theoretical background of harm reduction psychotherapy and describe how to conduct it. The book is packed with vivid, intriguing examples. I recommend it to a broad readership of mental health professionals and students.”

—Hendrik G. Roozen, PhD, Novadic-Kentron Treatment Services and Erasmus University Medical Center, The Netherlands

Table of Contents

I. Setting the Stage

1. Why Practice Harm Reduction Psychotherapy?

2. What Is Harm Reduction Psychotherapy and Whom Is It For?

II. Harm Reduction Psychotherapy as an Integrated Treatment

3. Assessment as Treatment

4. Developing a Treatment Plan

5. The Fundamentals of Harm Reduction Psychotherapy

6. The Psychodynamic Matrix of Harm Reduction Psychotherapy

7. Motivational and Cognitive-Behavioral Contributions to Harm Reduction Psychotherapy

8. The Role of Biology in Harm Reduction Psychotherapy

III. Applications

9. Harm Reduction Psychotherapy in Community-Based Settings

10. Harm Reduction Psychotherapy in Groups

11. The Power of Connection: Working with Families and Friends of Drug Users

12. What Does It Take to Practice Harm Reduction Psychotherapy?

Appendix A. Differential Diagnosis

Appendix B. Harm Reduction Supervision, Edith Springer

Appendix C. Additional Resources

Appendix D. Recommended Readings

About the Authors

Patt Denning, PhD, is Director of Clinical Services and Training at the Center for Harm Reduction Therapy (CHRT) in San Francisco, which she founded with Jeannie Little in 2000. CHRT provides a full range of harm reduction treatment services and trains hundreds of professionals each year. Widely recognized as an expert on drug treatment and dual diagnosis, Dr. Denning is one of the principal developers of harm reduction psychotherapy. She is a Diplomate Fellow in psychopharmacology and a certified addiction specialist through the American Psychological Association's College of Professional Psychology. With Jeannie Little, she is coauthor of Over the Influence, Second Edition (for the general public), and Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, Second Edition (for mental health professionals).

Jeannie Little, LCSW, is Executive Director of the Center for Harm Reduction Therapy (CHRT) in San Francisco, which she founded with Patt Denning in 2000. CHRT provides a full range of harm reduction treatment services and trains hundreds of professionals each year. Ms. Little is a certified group psychotherapist who developed harm reduction group treatment of substance use disorders and dual diagnosis. She has adapted harm reduction therapy to widely diverse communities. With Patt Denning, she is coauthor of Over the Influence, Second Edition (for the general public), and Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, Second Edition (for mental health professionals).


Clinical psychologists, social workers, substance abuse counselors, psychiatrists, and other clinicians who treat clients with addiction and substance use problems.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.

Over the Influence: Second Edition: The Harm Reduction Guide to Controlling Your Drug and Alcohol Use and Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: Second Edition: An Alternative Approach to AddictionsSpecial package offer: Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, Second Edition, written for professionals, shows how to put harm reduction principles into practice with therapy clients. Over the Influence, Second Edition, a self-help guide for readers who want to control their alcohol or drug use, is an ideal client recommendation.

Order both items for $49.95, instead of $69.95 if bought separately!

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Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 2000
ISBN: 9781593850968
New to this edition: