No really. Nugget thinks I'm a good person. You can trust her judgment.


Nugget is my golden retriever service dog. We have been a working team since 2009.

I have professionally and personally honed my skills helping people (including myself) make changes, manage difficult situations and behaviors, and support themselves over the last 18 years.


In my primary employment, I work in a community health center supporting people who want to make changes in their relationship to opiates, stimulants, hallucinogens, alcohol, benzodiazepines, problematic spending, self-harming behaviors, and multiple psychiatric conditions in Philadelphia. I've trained dozens of other health professionals and been invited to present at local and national conferences. Most recently our group had an article published in the American Journal of Public Health about our approach.


Because I want more tools to help my clients, I'm also investing in becoming certified as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. This will eventually enable me to provide medication which is another tool to support for people experiencing distress.


As part of this work, I have developed significant tools and expertise to help people manage their distress and behavior, and to make positive changes in their lives even if they are not interested in stopping the behavior altogether (i.e., abstinence). I find harm reduction psychotherapy principles to be much more respectful and engaging for people who are struggling with making a change or aren't even really sure the behavior is a problem.   

You can trust me because I have a dog.

Harm Reduction Therapy

About Robin


Hi there. My name is Robin DeBates. I'm credentialed as a licensed clinical social worker in Pennsylvania and Washington state. I like to think of myself as a professional generator of kindness.

That's a pretty fluffy, airy-fairy, crystal, chakra, shaman thing to say, right? Let me break it down for you a little bit.

Taking a little extra effort to be kind, to extend grace, and to make room for each other often is within our reach. It's a practice we can cultivate to create space and grace for each other in the midst of suffering and despair. 

Being afraid is difficult. Being afraid and alone feels awful. 

My goal is to help you feel supported and less alone, even if and as you feel afraid or angry or awful or despondent or frustrated or annoyed because you're not sure if you need to make a change.

Shame keeps us stuck. I invite you to try a different approach that helps you understand the purpose and function of what you're doing, why it's meaningful to at least some part of you, and explore how you might find different goals for stability that range from decreasing chaos and minimizing negative impacts of behavior to creating and sustaining the quality of life you want and deserve. 


Because we all have significant commitments, I only work with people who are deeply interested in exploring what is going on with themselves in the present moment. 


It's only fair to you that I prioritize, in this setting, people who are highly motivated to see themselves and their goals in more clear ways. In order to support this, I only accept 4 to 6 active clients at a time in this part of my work.


You don't have to be committed to making a change, only to exploring what's happening and how it impacts (both positively and negatively) your ability to achieve your goals and desired quality of life.


I have a lot of expertise and perspective to offer you. I am highly invested in helping you feel and function better so that you experience more freedom in each moment.