Harm Reduction Learning Institute
DC Health

The New Paradigm in Addiction Treatment: Introduction to Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy (IHRP), Clinical Rationale, Theory and Technique

Harm reduction meets people wherever they are ready to begin their positive change journeys, supports the full range of positive change goals and emphasizes empowerment and collaboration between therapist and client. Drawing on relational, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness therapies, IHRP techniques are uniquely tailored to each person. A central focus on therapeutic alliance and relationship creates a safe context in which to clarify the meanings and functions of risky and addictive behavior, enhance self-regulation and develop alternative healthier, self-affirming solutions. Tatarsky will discuss harm reduction’s core principles, the limitations of traditional disease model based abstinence-only treatment, IHRP’s clinical rationale, supporting psychobiosocial theory and seven therapeutic tasks.

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

March 30, 2023

Expiration Date

March 30, 2024

Activity Type


No credit is offered for this training.


There is no cost for this training.

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