Seeking Safety Intervention Summary

Seeking Safety is a present-focused treatment for clients with a history of trauma and substance abuse. The treatment was designed for flexible use: group or individual format, male and female clients, and a variety of settings (e.g., outpatient, inpatient, residential). Seeking Safety focuses on coping skills and psychoeducation and has five key principles: (1) safety as the overarching goal (helping clients attain safety in their relationships, thinking, behavior, and emotions); (2) integrated treatment (working on both posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse at the same time); (3) a focus on ideals to counteract the loss of ideals in both PTSD and substance abuse; (4) four content areas: cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, and case management; and (5) attention to clinician processes (helping clinicians work on countertransference, self-care, and other issues).

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health treatment
Substance abuse treatment
Co-occurring disorders
Outcomes Review Date: October 2006
1: Substance use
2: Trauma-related symptoms
3: Psychopathology
4: Treatment retention
Outcome Categories Alcohol
Mental health
Ages 13-17 (Adolescent)
18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
Genders Male
Races/Ethnicities American Indian or Alaska Native
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings Inpatient
Geographic Locations No geographic locations were identified by the developer.
Implementation History Since 1992, Seeking Safety has been implemented in more than 3,000 clinical settings and as part of statewide initiatives in Connecticut, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas, and Wyoming. It has been implemented in programs for substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, homelessness, women and children, and veterans and in correctional, medical, and school settings in the United States and internationally, including in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, and Sweden.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: Yes
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: Yes
Adaptations Seeking Safety has been tested with dually diagnosed women, men, and adolescent girls. Samples have included clients in outpatient and residential settings, low-income urban women, incarcerated women, and veterans (both men and women). The treatment manual is available in both English and Spanish.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories IOM prevention categories are not applicable.