Clinicians working within a harm reduction model partner collaboratively with clients to clarify what the client is motivated to address based on a range of person centered goals such as reduced use and moderation in addition to abstinence. This model broadens the reach and notion of success established by traditional abstinence-only goals to engage and re-think “ success” for a wider range of people impacted by SUDs. The harm reduction model doesn’t presume that abstinence is the ideal or necessary goal for everyone at the onset of treatment; instead, clients work in partnership with providers to make small, incremental changes to their relationship with substances or other problematic behaviors over time.
The ASAM Criteria provides guidelines focusing on coordinating medical care, providing therapeutic alternatives, evaluating safety, addressing co-occurring disorders, involving social supports, and documenting clinical needs within the framework of the six dimensions. This includes setting and evaluating individualized measurable treatment goals which drive variable lengths of stay based on the needs of the person served. The Criteria centers on the clinically indicated intensity of care based on an ongoing assessment, determining progress based on the individualized plan of care, making appropriate referrals and recommendations, and providing adequate social support referrals when needed. This training provides skill building in the use of the ASAM Criteria as a framework for determining the most appropriate intensity of services and how a harm reduction model/approach; specifically providing strategies for working with clients on goal setting, application of risk reduction skills and evaluation of treatment goals fits within the broader framework of the Criteria’s six dimensions and levels of care.