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The Center for Optimal Living

Andrew Tatarsky



Phone Number

view phone212-213-8905 x2


303 Fifth Avenue Suite 1407, New York City, New York, United States 10016

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Profile Summary

The Center for Optimal Living is built on innovative, personalized treatment. Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy is for individuals and families struggling with substance use issues, other risky or addictive behaviors, and a wide range of mental health issues.

Profile Narrative


Our Story

Our Mission

The Center for Optimal Living provides innovative, personalized treatment, based on Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, for individuals and families with substance use issues, other risky or addictive behaviors, and a wide range of mental health issues.

Recognizing the complexity and multiple meanings of these issues, we promote healing and positive change through the principles of compassion, collaboration and empowerment.

Our Services

We believe that effective therapy “starts where the person is” in terms of their values, personal preferences and cultural background. Each patient receives a comprehensive initial assessment to determine their unique needs, strengths and goals; this forms the basis for a therapeutic plan that enhances motivation and positive change.

Then we help people to figure out whether moderate, less harmful substance use or abstinence is best suited to them, and to pursue their chosen goal. We provide similarly individualized therapy for people with all mental health issues.

We offer comprehensive evaluations, treatment and referral services to adults, adolescents, couples and families. We provide a confidential environment that fosters collaborative and supportive therapeutic relationships.

We collaborate with each patient to determine the focus of their treatment and the approach that will best meet their needs. Treatment is provided by clinical psychologists and other clinicians with expertise in substance issues, other risky and addictive behaviors, and a wide range of mental health issues. Our approach is a combination of evidence-based science and mindfulness-based traditions, and we apply this framework to identify and address each patient’s issues.

Our Background

Addiction treatment has long been dominated by approaches that require complete abstinence as a precondition. But “abstinence-only” treatments have been shown to offer little benefit to most people with substance use issues. In addition, many people who need help do not enter treatment out of concern that they will be stigmatized as an “addict.” Currently, the vast majority of people with substance issues or other risky and addictive behaviors do not receive necessary help.

Dr. Andrew Tatarsky, the founder and director of the Center for Optimal Living, is a clinical psychologist, program director, trainer, author and advocate with over 30 years’ experience in the addiction and mental health field. He has dedicated his career to improving treatment by giving patients the individualized, evidence-based care that they want and deserve.

To that end, Dr. Tatarsky has developed Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, an innovative and effective approach to the treatment of addictive and risky behaviors. This approach is described in his ground-breaking book, Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: A New Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Problems, and in a series of professional papers and book chapters. The Center for Optimal Living, with its team of seven dedicated clinicians, is the only private treatment center that offers this unique form of therapy.


Our Therapeutic Approach

The Center for Optimal Living helps people to figure out whether moderate, less harmful substance use or abstinence is best suited to them, and to pursue their chosen goal. We provide similarly individualized therapy for people with all mental health issues. Our approach utilizes Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy (IHRP), developed by our founder and director, Dr. Andrew Tatarsky.

The cornerstone of IHRP is a collaborative therapeutic relationship that “starts where the person is.” This relationship supports the development of practical skills and strategies to manage urges, cravings and difficult emotions, based on mindfulness and other self-management strategies.

IHRP also focuses on increasing patients’ capacity to reflect on the meanings and functions of problematic behaviors and the development of alternative, healthier solutions.

Our dual focus on enhancing skills and strategies for positive change and increasing awareness of the meaning and function of substance use and other behaviors fosters sustained positive change over time.

We provide specialized services to adults, adolescents, couples and families, and as such our treatment options include individual, couples, family and group therapy. We also offer educational and supportive sessions for family members and significant others who wish to gain a better understanding of our approach to addressing substance use issues. We develop individualized treatment plans, which range from intensive to less intensive, depending on patients’ personal needs.

Our holistic approach considers that patients may benefit from referrals for medical, psychiatric, nutritional, exercise, acupuncture, massage, or yoga consultations. These referrals are provided on an as-needed basis.


Our Treatment Options


Daytime and evening appointments are available. Please call 212-213-8905 x2 or email ito request additional information or set up an initial consultation.


Comprehensive evaluation


We believe that the initial evaluation process should itself constitute the starting point of each patient’s treatment. We evaluate each individual sensitively and respectfully, seeking to learn about their unique set of needs and perspectives. Our goal is for both patient and clinician to emerge with a framework for the journey they wish to take together, and the basis of a healing, collaborative relationship.


Individual psychotherapy


The majority of our patients, whether adults or adolescents, work with a member of our clinical team on a one-to-one basis. This provides the opportunity to develop a truly individualized, collaborative therapeutic relationship. All of our clinicians work with individual patients. Dr. John Pasagiannis is one member of our team who has a particular specialization in working with young adults.


Group therapy


We offer group therapy to support individual psychotherapy and create a more intensive level of care, if needed. Group therapy can also be utilized in conjunction with services from providers outside the Center. All of our groups are mixed, with some members pursuing moderate drinking or substance use and some abstaining from substances.  Our team member, Dr. Adam Frankel is a Certified Group Psychotherapist from the American Group Psychotherapy Association, and is a graduate of the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Training Society.


Read more about the specific groups that currently meet at the Center.


Couples therapy


Many people whose substance use or other mental health issues impact their intimate relationship find it valuable and healing to attend therapy with their partner. Several of our clinicians have extensive experience of working with couples. Dr. Wendy Miller is one member of our team whose practice focuses particularly on couples and their emotional and sexual connections.


Family therapy


Substance use and other mental health issues can often directly or indirectly impact every member of the family. That’s why we provide families with the chance to work together in a therapeutic, healing environment. Several of our clinicians have extensive experience of helping families to address a range of issues and become closer in the process.