Seeking Safety for Addiction and Trauma
Seeking Safety is an evidence-based therapy developed to improve coping skills and strengthen stabilization, especially for those dealing with the often co-occurring diagnoses of trauma and substance abuse.
Through Seeking Safety, you can break out of a cycle of codependent and damaging behaviors often brought on by co-occurring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse. Seeking Safety is intended to give you the skills to defeat that vicious cycle, make healthier choices, and take your life back.
How Does Seeking Safety Work?
The key principles behind Seeking Safety are:
- Safety: As the name of this therapy model suggests, helping you find safety in your life is the main foundation of Seeking Safety. This includes safety in your relationships, safety in the thoughts you have about yourself and your emotions, and safety in the behavioral choices you make.
- Dual Diagnosis/Integrated Treatment: This principle refers to simultaneously treating both your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or trauma symptoms along with co-occurring drug or alcohol abuse.
- Focus on Ideals: More often than not, addiction and trauma rob you of your ideals, which can lead to a sense of loss of self. This principle of Seeking Safety helps you re-identify the values and goals you have for yourself and for your life, and helps you work toward re-instating them.
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When you use Seeking Safety, your therapist will focus on four main content areas in your work together; cognitive (your understanding of the situation), behavioral (your choices), interpersonal (how you deal with others), and case management (how you work with your therapist). These content areas are explored through several different topics, such as how to set boundaries in your relationships, how to cope with triggers, grounding yourself and protecting yourself from emotional pain, honesty, and learning to ask for help. These are the types of subjects that will be explored as you learn to find stability again.
What Is the Evidence Behind Seeking Safety?
Seeking Safety was developed at Harvard Medical School by Lisa M. Najavits, PhD, in 1992 under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Studies conducted by organizations such as the American Psychological Association have shown that Seeking Safety is highly effective among adults experiencing trauma and addiction.
While Seeking Safety was originally designed solely to alleviate symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and in the treatment of the disorder’s often co-occurring substance abuse, it has become widely used in recovery plans for a variety of mental health disorders. In general, it can be used with any diagnosis where coping skills and stability need to be improved.
Seeking Safety at Clearview Treatment Programs
As with any mental health disorder and addiction, the emotional journey you will be going on with your therapist will be sensitive and intense. It is important to find a treatment center with trained and certified therapists you can trust and with whom you feel comfortable.
At Clearview, we have several therapists trained in Seeking Safety who can help you recover from your symptoms and put an end to damaging behaviors. Through individual sessions and groups at our outpatient or residential treatment programs, you will learn healthy ways to feel grounded and cope with difficult situations so that you can feel like you again.