Incorporating Music Therapy Into the Harm Reduction Approach to Managing Substance Use Problems

Claire M. Ghetti


The harm reduction approach to substance use treatment differs from traditional disease and moral/criminal models of substance use and addiction by emphasizing "harm" reduction instead of "use" reduction. Harm reduction is comprised of pragmatic strategies that aim to reduce the harmful consequences of substance use for both the individual user and the surrounding environment. A paper is presented that suggests that the modality of music therapy is particularly well-suited to promote the goals of a harm reduction approach, as aspects of the music therapy process are naturally consistent with tenets of harm reduction. Implications for music therapists working within this approach are discussed.