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Phil Harris was born and lives in Bristol.  He completed a Philosophy Degree at Kingston University in 1990 where he specialised in the Philosophy of Psychology and Linguistics.  He then worked in direct access services for street homeless people.  Here he developed an interest in working with complex needs.  This led to his managing community services before becoming a manager in street level drugs services.  Here he developed one of the first young people specific services in the country, developed dual diagnosis services in partnership with lead consultants at Barrow Psychiatric Hospital and pioneered approaches for concerned others.  He was the manager of High Support Team for complex clients who were unable to engage in structure services.  This included:

  • Harm Reduction Service

  • Low Threshold Prescribing

  • Street Outreach

  • Criminal Justice Prison Services

  • Street Outreach

  • Family Services

  • Dual Diagnosis and Personality Disorder Teams

Phil began to write scholarly articles regarding effective treatment in the 1990s and become a visiting lecturer at Bristol University School of Policy Studies, teaching BA & MA Social Work students.  He was a consultant lecture for the US BICEP programme.  As acting Director of a large substance misuse project, he restructured the agency along therapeutic principles.  This led to the development of the Models of Care, the UK Drug treatment policy that remains influential in defining substance misuse services today. He has since written over 30 articles and papers, published five books and been a contributory author to many more.  He is a peer reviewer for family research journals. 

In 2000 he established freespace.  It is an independent company that seeks to close the gap between research, training and practice in order to improve outcomes for vulnerable people.   This has placed Phil at the forefront of innovation in treatment design that have set new standards in outcomes across substance misuse, family, young people and mental health services.  Projects have included:


  • Advisor to the World Health Organisation in the Balkans

  • Regional advisor in Sweden

  • Re-developing substance misuse services across Wales

  • Developing models of practice for national agencies

  • Pioneered concerned others integrated treatment pathways

  • Providing cross-county consultancy for dual diagnosis

  • Designing a state of the art inpatient detoxification services for clients with complex needs

Phil has a passion for sharing research and practice.   Psychological approaches are a young discipline and significant emerging developments are yet to percolate the field.  He combines extensive hands on clinical experience with a deep understanding of research to support teams and training participants to understand the deeper psychological forces that shapes clients lives and their recoveries.  Likewise, Phil only works with associates within the company that share these core values.

Besides training and consultancy, Phil still delivers services to clients and remains involved in multiple voluntary and housing sector agencies.  




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