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Empathy for the Devil: How to Help People Overcome Drugs and Alcohol Problems
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2007
One only has to spend any time in the vaults of any university library to be aware of wealth of books available to those of us who work in the drug and alcohol field. Though it does not take too long to know that beneath optimistic back cover descriptions and front covers seemingly designed by the daughters of Achelous, there lies much theorising, with little attention given to the actual practicalities of rolling out effective interventions for the client group specific to us.

In Empathy for the Devil Phil Harris does exactly what he says on the cover "How to help people overcome drugs and alcohol problems".

In my role as a senior practitioner for a criminal justice drugs service, and as a student in the field of substance use and misuse, I regularly dip my toes in to the ponds of knowledge in an attempt to find that "perfect hit". A book which nails the process from first smile to last handshake, with clients who are experiencing problematic substance misuse.

I have at last found that "perfect hit".

Phil does an exceptional job at setting the stage for change in the context of evidence based theories, which when married up with the right worker with the right heart and mind for this work, will be able to effect change in a population otherwise excluded from any hope or resigned to the vaults of pharmacological interventions until they take their last breath.

Phil's book should now become the new standard for workers seeking guidance on working in this field, and I have no doubt that once the accolade of praise dulls to a dull roar that many will agree.

For anyone working in this field, like his previous book Drug Induced, Empathy for the devil is a must own, it pulls together and lays out practical interventions proven to be effective in bringing about change and saves you the tiresome task of wading through vast volumes of dusty books on this subject matter only to end up disappointed at the crumbs sprinkled deep within preposterous pages of references which seek to bolster up obvious postulation.

Vast, accurate, relevant, precise and effective, this is not hyperbole intended to gain a sale, these are realistic superlatives and well earned.

Phil has done a superb job at covering and defining the process of engagement with substance users, from those initial and sometimes awkward early minutes to the closing session and beyond. All this is bedded well within a framework of theory, with ample references without cramming the page with open and closed brackets.

This is a book I have been waiting for my whole career and I am grateful to Phil for the passion and experience that permeates within these pages, and for his mind, which he offers to us all in this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I can't recommend this book highly enough for those training to be addictions counsellors! It includes every area of work AND is readable and, dare I say, even entertaining!
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on 25 April 2012
The concepts within this book will be of use to anyone who works with substance misusers. Its thorough, rigorous and offers a genuinely new perspective on addictions.
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on 28 May 2015
Such a valuable book if you are working within the substance misuse field. Written by what I can only describe as a genius!
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