The Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) is an approach used in the United States and has had great success in assisting individuals in abstaining from substance use. Some parts of the U.K have followed suit with this approach.
A main component of the CRA approach is abstinent sampling, meaning that individuals sample been abstinent for a period of time and in that time they will focus on improving their lives in ten specific area's.
The Ten Areas Are:
2. Job and Education
3. Money Management
4. Social Life
5. Personal Habits
6. Family Relations
7. Legal Issues
8. Move on (Accommodation)
10. General Life and Emotional
Initially a main goal is set in each of these areas, we encourage the client to set goals which are realistic and achievable within a set period of time e.g. 3 or 6 months. Each week smaller goals are set in each area to get them closer to their main goal. Happiness with their progress in each area is gauged using a tool called the happiness scale.
This makes it possible for a client to clearly see their achievements and progression by gauging happiness in each area thus encouraging them to continue on and further challenge themselves.
Harm Reduction and CRA
Harm reduction seeks to prevent or reduce the overall level of drug or alcohol consumption and associated risk behaviours with the aim of improving health and quality of life. We have found that this approach can work well when married with CRA goal setting.
Also we use the CRA approach with individuals who have managed to abstain from substance use.
We have found that our greatest success with this approach has been when we marry CRA with complementary therapies.