Harm Reduction Learning Institute
DC Health

Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: The Seven Therapeutic Tasks, Skills and Strategies

Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy consists of seven therapeutic tasks: managing the therapeutic alliance, the therapeutic relationship heals, enhancing self-management, assessment as treatment, embracing ambivalence, harm reduction goal setting and personalized planning for positive change. Specific techniques for achieving each task will be described including empathic listening and reflection create safety and alliance, Urge Surfing, Microanalysis, Unwrapping the Urge, dialoguing with both sides of the ambivalence, 18 Alternatives and the Optimal Use Plan.

Learning Objectives
  • Identify the psychobiosocial/multiple meanings process model of addiction supporting IHRP
  • Describe harm reduction’s core principles
  • Explain an overview of IHRP’s seven therapeutic tasks

Andrew Tatarsky has worked with people who struggle with drugs and their families for over 40 years. Andrew developed Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy (IHRP) for treating the spectrum of risky and addictive behavior as an alternative to traditional abstinence-only substance use treatment. IHRP brings relational psychoanalysis, CBT, and mindfulness together in a harm reduction frame. IHRP meets people wherever they are on their positive change journeys and works collaboratively to support people in discovering their truth and what goals and approaches to positive change best suit them. The therapy has been described in his book, Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: A New Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Problems, and a series of papers. The book has been translated into Polish and Spanish and is currently being translated into Russian. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the City University of New York and is a graduate of New York University’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. He is the Founder and Director of the Center for Optimal Living in NYC, a treatment, education, and professional training center based on IHRP. He is a member of the Medical and Clinical Advisory Panels of the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Support. Andrew has trained individuals and organizations in 19 countries. His writing, teaching, clinical work, and leadership aim to promote a re-humanized view of problematic substance use and a harm reduction continuum of care that will extend help to everyone who needs and wants it wherever they are ready to begin their positive change journeys.

Launch Date

April 6, 2023

Expiration Date

April 6, 2024

Activity Type


No credit is offered for this training.


There is no cost for this training.

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