Seeking Safety was begun in 1992 under grant funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It was developed by Lisa M. Najavits, PhD at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital. It has been used in many countries and has been translated into numerous languages.
The model is highly flexible. It can been conducted in group or individual format; for men and women; adults or adolescents; for any length of treatment; any level of care (e.g., outpatient, inpatient, residential); any type of trauma, any type of substance. Clients do not have to meet formal criteria for PTSD or substance abuse-- it is often used as a general model to teach coping skills. Seeking Safety has been successfully implemented for many years across vulnerable populations including homeless, criminal justice, domestic violence, severely mentally ill, veterans and military, and others.
The key principles of Seeking Safety
1) Safety as the overarching goal (helping clients attain safety in their relationships, thinking, behavior, and emotions).
2) Integrated treatment (working on both trauma and substance abuse at the same time)
3) A focus on ideals to counteract the loss of ideals in both trauma and substance abuse
4) Four content areas: cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, case management
5) Attention to clinician processes (clinicians' emotional responses, self-care, etc.)