Seeking Safety (And Other Trauma-focused Therapies)
Seeking Safety is a present-focused therapy that helps clients attain safety from trauma (including PTSD) and substance abuse by emphasizing coping skills, grounding techniques, and education. Developed under a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) by Lisa M. Najavits, Ph.D., this highly effective, research-based therapy has several key objectives including:
- Helping clients attain safety in thinking, emotions, behaviors, and relationships
- Providing clients integrated treatment of substance abuse and trauma conditions
- Counteracting loss of ideals experienced from substance abuse and trauma
Unlike psychological disorders, the core issue in trauma is reality.
Offered at select facilities, AAC may recommend trauma-focused treatment techniques to be used as a mono-therapeutic approach for addiction treatment or in conjunction with other therapies (i.e. psychopharmacology, individual therapy, group therapy, etc.), depending on the client’s treatment plan. When we speak about providing trauma-focused treatment sessions for our clients, AAC clinicians do so as part of their overall recovery program.
Our trauma therapy services include therapeutic techniques using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which center on the relationships between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. By changing the harmful thought processes of clients, their likelihood of long-term recovery increases. Besides Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), trauma therapy practices such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Seeking Safety sessions and more are utilized.
AAC & Trauma-focused Therapies
Since research has consistently demonstrated that individuals who suffer from trauma or PTSD are more likely to have problems with substance dependence, we think it’s important for AAC clients with co-occurring PTSD to process the trauma as a part of their treatment. To address the effect that trauma plays on the individual’s life including his/her problems with substance use, our program focuses on engaging our clients in therapeutic self-exploration groups that encourage moving past the trauma experiences without relying on the numbing effects of substances as self-medication.
To help our clients who have co-occurring PTSD or have suffered debilitating effects of traumatic life events, our groups, including Seeking Safety interventions (offered at select treatment centers) can help clients recognize:
- Subjective emotional experience defines events as traumatic
- It is possible to experience trauma vicariously just from watching or hearing about others’ traumatizing events
- It is possible to heal and move forward
- Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD
- Even when coping with symptoms and feelings, it is normal for emotions to be sometimes triggered by events
- With appropriate treatment, self-help strategies and support it is possible to recover from emotional and psychological trauma