Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Certificate Program

To apply for the in-person version of our program that will start in September 2018, please complete this online application form and send a copy of your CV and personal statement to jtalley@cfol.org. We will contact applicants with more details about the registration process once we receive their applications.

We have received many inquiries about an online version of the Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Certificate Program. Please add your name to this list if you are interested in participating in an online course in 2018. We will contact you after gauging overall interest and provide more details by Spring 2018.  Please contact Dr. Jenifer Talley at jtalley@cfol.org or 212.213.8905 x106 if you have questions.


Our Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Certificate 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.  Our program had been previously offered at The New School for Social Research and it is now being offered at The Center for Optimal Living. Watch our video about the program featuring a student interview.

The program begins with a 3-day intensive training that will be held in New York City at the end of September 2018.  Following the completion of that intensive weekend training, class meets on a weekly basis for 15 weeks, 2 hours per week 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 offer students the opportunity to engage with experts in the field.


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 mode
• 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.  This fee includes the required 3-day training in September.  Payments can be made directly to The Center for Optimal Living once you have been accepted to the program and payment is due by the first day of class.  Please note that refunds or credits will not be issued once classes have started.

Class Schedule and Requirements:  Classes will be held on Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at The Center for Optimal Living (370 Lexington Avenue, suite 500, NYC). Class will meet for 8 weeks each semester and all students are required to attend our 3-day Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy training. The cost for the 3-day training is included in the tuition fee.
Course schedule for Fall 2018: TBD

Application Process: Complete this online application form, send a copy of your CV, and personal statement to info@cfol.org.  Applications will be accepted through September 15, 2018.

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 program consists of a total of 50 contact hours which count towards continuing education credits.  The New School for Social Research’s Department of Psychology SW CPE 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 #0199. This program has also been approved to provide continuing education credits for CASACs by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).