© 2017

Solution Focused Harm Reduction

Working effectively with people who misuse substances


  • Illustrates the application of the theory of solution focused brief therapy and harm reduction to case study examples

  • Provides a detailed description of two therapy approaches and how they can improve one another

  • Presents SFBT and HR as an effective tool for working with substance misusers


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Seán Foy
    Pages 1-6
  3. Seán Foy
    Pages 33-52
  4. Seán Foy
    Pages 79-104
  5. Seán Foy
    Pages 105-110
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 111-132

About this book


This is the first book to explain the many synergies between solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) and harm reduction (HR). Seán Foy discusses how these two approaches are complementary and when used in conjunction, create a novel way of approaching addiction work. The book covers several detailed case studies examining how the concepts and theories of both approaches are intertwined to enhance and deepen the work undertaken with people who misuse and abuse substances. It will be of great interest to scholars of psychotherapy, social work, social care, addiction, nursing and health care, as well as to practitioners seeking a clearer understanding of solution focused brief therapy and harm reduction and how to apply these to case work with problematic drinkers and drug users.


theories of addiction social work psychology of drug use Solution Focused Brief Therapy the miracle question EARS (elicit, amplify, reinforce, start again) Harm Reduction Rolleston report OST (Opioid Substitution therapy) consumption rooms the disease model ratpark Relapse Prevention Substance Misuse and counselling

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.The Learning Curve InstituteWestportIreland

About the authors

Seán Foy is a Clinical Psychologist and has been working within health services for over 25 years. He first trained in SFBT in the early 1990’s and he has been both a practitioner and trainer in SFBT since that time. He holds qualifications in Social work, Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology.  

Bibliographic information


“A book written by a clinical expert with credible frontline harm reduction experience... I first met Sean Foy in the mid 1990’s in a day centre for people who were street homeless in London.  We were both front line workers targeting people who were hard to reach. I liked this pragmatic and thoughtful Mayo man straight away.  This book is the culmination of years of Sean’s work with people who have complex and multiple needs; and as such it is an important addition to the literature.” (Tony Duffin, CEO of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, Ireland)