Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Certificate Program

Deadline: August 1, 2017

Our Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Certificate Program is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2017 to Spring 2018 class. Our program offers a year-long 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.

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. Special guest speakers also contribute to the class and offers students the opportunity to engage with other experts in the field.

Classes meet for 12 weeks each semester starting after Labor Day (date/time TBD) and 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.

Our program had been previously offered at The New School for Social Research and we are moving it to The Center for Optimal Living for the 2017-2018 cohort. Watch our video about the program featuring a student interview.

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.

Tuition and Fees: The program costs $1,500 per semester (total $3,000) and payment for each semester is due by the first class. Payments can be made directly to The Center for Optimal Living once you have been accepted to the program. Please note that refunds or credits will not be issued once classes have started.

Application Process: Please complete this online application form and send a copy of your CV and personal statement to info@cfol.org. Applications will be accepted through August 1, 2017.

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

Continuing Education: We are in the process of applying to offer CEs for social workers in New York and will update our site once we have received formal approval from the NY State Department of Education.