Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Certificate Program

Our Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Certificate Program offers an intensive immersion in the principles, theories, and practical application of harm reduction psychotherapy. Harm reduction psychotherapy is a collaborative, personalized, and empowering approach to help those with substance use issues and other risky behaviors. Our integrative perspective brings together relational psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and mindfulness approaches. Previously offered at The New School for Social Research, our program is now being offered at The Center for Optimal Living.

Students will learn about the origins and history of harm reduction psychotherapy along with the paradigm shift from an abstinence-only approach to a more collaborative and engaging model to address the spectrum of problematic substance use and other behaviors. There will be in-depth skill practice and opportunities for consultation and supervision. Classes are co-taught by Dr. Andrew Tatarsky, the developer of Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy (IHRP) and Dr. Jenifer Talley, a close collaborator in its continuing evolution. Special guest speakers also contribute to the class and offers students the opportunity to engage with experts in the field.

Watch our video about the program featuring a student interview.

Online Classes

This course consists of 15 weekly classes held online on Wednesdays from 6:00 to 7:50 p.m. EST. Please check back for next scheduled classes in 2020.

Prerequisite: Attending one of our 3-day intensives in Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy. Our next 3-day training will be offered in December 2019. Stay tuned for more details.

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In-Person Classes

 Please stay tuned for more updates about our in-person certificate program class.

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Course objectives:

• Fundamentals for conceptualizing, assessing, and treating substance misuse and other problematic behaviors
• Integration of psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness, and relational approaches
• Knowledge of pharmacology of specific substances and how to tailor interventions accordingly
• Discussion of limitations of the disease model and rationale for providing comprehensive services based on the psychobiosocial model
• Increased awareness of the social and political context of harm reduction
• Identify effective strategies to develop the therapeutic alliance and track interpersonal process issues (e.g., transference, countertransference) in treatment
• Learn strategies for engaging diverse clients and collaborating around assessments, clarification of goals, and personalized clinical treatment plans
• Understand how cultural issues impact the therapeutic process and develop skills to work with diverse clinical populations
• Application of emotion regulation strategies in individual and group therapy
• In-depth practice with mindfulness-based interventions and ways it can be tailored for clinical practice in both individual and group therapy

Eligibility: This program is designed for mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals, psychiatrists, graduate students and those working in harm reduction settings who wish to deepen their knowledge and skills about harm reduction principles and practices. Attending one of our 3-day IHRP Intensives is a prerequisite. The next training will be offered in December 2019 in NYC. More details will be available shortly.

Tuition and Fees: The online certificate program costs a total of $2,500 and payment is due by the first class. Students will receive more information about the payment and registration process once accepted into the program. Refunds or credits will not be issued once classes have started. Please note that there is a service fee of $100.70 if you pay by credit card or $24.95 if you pay by check.

Discounts: 20% off tuition if four or more students from the same agency or organization register for the program. All New School alumni and students receive a 20% tuition discount.

Continuing Education: This Certificate program consists of a total of 50 contact hours which count towards continuing education credits. Optimal Living Psychological Services, PC is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0534. Our 3-day training provides 18 hours of continuing education.

Please note that we are not credentialed to provide CE credits for psychologists, LMHCs or medical providers at this time. OASAS will cross-honor CE credits for social workers for CASACs in NY State. If you are from out of state, please check with your licensure board to see if they will honor CE credits issued for social workers in NY State.