My colleague and friend Cynthia Hoffman offered this piece of wisdom recently. She offers another option to 12-Step, for those who need support with their relationship to substances.
12-Step Doesn't Work for Everyone: Why I Love Harm Reduction
by Cynthia Hoffman on July 14, 2014
First appeared on the website PsychedinSanFrancisco
She comes in and sits on the edge of the couch, anxious. As she tells me why she's sitting in my office, she looks over furtively, both fearful and defended. I ask personal questions, some that she hasn't answered even for herself. For example, I ask her what alcohol does for her, how it helps her. I help her identify the ways in which she has already employed harm reduction. Maybe she takes nights of the week off, or tries to eat dinner before she starts drinking. We solidify what she wants for herself, maybe do a pros and cons list about her drinking. She starts to relax in the seat. She begins to realize that I'm not going to give her a prescription of 12 step meetings or rehab, that I'm not even going to suggest that she stop using. She realizes through our conversation that she can be honest with me, that I'm not going to judge her or talk down to her.
This is a common example of what can happen during an initial Harm Reduction Therapy session.