Seeking Safety

A Present-Focused Integrated Treatment for PTSD and Substance Use Disorders

Authored by: Lisa Litt , Lisa R. Cohen , Denise Hien

Posttraumatic Stress and Substance Use Disorders

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  April  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138208971
eBook ISBN: 9781315442648
Adobe ISBN:


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Seeking Safety (Najavits, 2002) is a present-focused, cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy specifically designed to address both trauma/posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders (SUD) using an integrated approach. The connection between trauma and substance use is introduced early in treatment, and both issues are addressed simultaneously throughout each module. Safety is defined as reduction in substance use and self-destructive behaviors, cultivation of healthy relationships, and self-protection from dangers associated with the two disorders (e.g., HIV risk and partner violence). Although Seeking Safety was not the first treatment developed for SUD clients with trauma histories (see, e.g., Evans & Sullivan, 1995; Miller & Guidry, 2001), it became the most widely adopted and most empirically studied.

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