Date of Paper

5-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Rajean Moone

Abstract

Harm reduction is a technique used to address a variety of behaviors that produce harm and is implemented at micro, mezzo and macro levels. The purpose of this study was to examine the social worker experience of implementing harm reduction techniques with clients that identify as using substances. This study aimed to discover the strengths, limitations, and barriers of implementing harm reduction into the social work practice. This is a qualitative study that used guided interviews to collect data. Eight licensed graduate social workers that identify as using harm reduction techniques with clients that abuse substances were interviewed. Data gathered was analyzed by coding the interview transcripts, and identifying themes that emerged from the data. Data reviewed was linked to previous literature and discussed further in application to social worker practice and policy. The findings showed that social workers view harm reduction as a strength to establishing rapport with clients. In addition the data also showed limitations with legal concerns and marco level policies. These findings coincide with previous research on how harm reduction is used not only in the therapeutic relationship but also from a policy level, and how each level relates to the other.

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