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A young man talking to his counselor about Seeking Safety to help treat trauma and substance abuse for Los Angeles Drug Rehab at NuView

Seeking Safety Program for Drug Addiction and Trauma Therapy

There are a plethora of therapies that can aid a client seeking rehabilitation treatment. Nonetheless, despite a wide array of options, not every therapy method or model is going to work for everyone. Like many things in life, people react and respond to things differently, because no one thinks the same way. It is important to understand and research the various treatment models when seeking treatment.

One model that is growing in popularity and seems to show promise to many clients is Seeking Safety. Seeking Safety is a model of therapy that is designed to aid those who suffer from trauma without delving into their trauma. For many diving into the emotional distress of their trauma can cause further damage rather than help resolve problems. This method is growing in popularity as it seems to help addicts find the root of their addiction without adding to it.

Among managing past trauma in treatments, Seeking Safety offers safe models of treatment. It is important to look into treatment options and what may work best for each person. This article will offer some more information about the therapy model to determine if it is the right fit for potential clients.

What is Seeking Safety?

While well-established in its efficacy, but still relatively new in the field of addiction treatment, Seeking Safety is a model of therapy that was developed in the 1990s through extensive research. It didn’t become available for therapists to use until 2002 when a manual was released. It has since become popular for several reasons, most of all being that a practitioner does not need to hold a specific license or degree to use it. The treatment is also known to be affordable as all a practitioner needs is a book to use the model in therapies.

Outside of practical use, Seeking Safety is used to treat those who suffer from trauma and substance abuse. While many therapies like to seek the root cause of trauma to help determine why the clients react how they do, Seek Safety aims to root out the cause of substance abuse while safely managing the trauma of the client. Seeking Safety focuses on the current issues rather than delving into the trauma that could cause further distress to the client.

This creates a safe environment where clients feel they are free to open up while learning coping skills to manage addiction. Some of these coping skills may be ones the clients were unable to learn through life experiences or lost through their trauma. Here they can learn, practice, and put those skills to work in a judgment-free area knowing their best interest is always the end goal of the treatment.

This model of treatment has been especially effective for women, veterans, or others who suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Benefits of Using Seeking Safety

While it is not a universal treatment plan for every client, it has the benefit of being incredibly flexible. The Seeking Safety model of treatment can be used to treat a broad demographic of people pertaining to substance abuse and addiction or not. It has been known to work well for the homeless, women with severe trauma, teens, veterans, and even those in prison. This is because Seeking Safety does not force a client to delve into past traumas to resolve conflicts.

Furthermore, because of how flexible it is, Seeking Safety treatment can be used for clients who suffer from trauma that led to substance abuse, only substance abuse, and even conditions that do not relate to substance abuse at all. All the while treating both trauma and substance abuse in a safe manner that makes the client feel comfortable.

Seeking Safety also offers topics that support any problem a client may have such as creating meaning in life, setting boundaries within relationships, self-care, compassion and honesty, coping with triggers, healing, and recovery thinking. The range of topics can help an even larger range of people in their treatment. This makes Seeking Safety effective for any person who may be concerned, afraid of, or on the fence about therapy.

Goals of Seeking Safety Therapy

Seeking Safety works to focus on the current circumstances of a client. Through this method, they have a set of goals within therapy to help a client feel safe and within their comfort zone. These goals keep the idea of safety in mind. In some situations, they aim to avoid visiting past trauma for the safety of their clients. In others, the safety is focused on keeping a client away from substances that will harm them.

Due to this, safety is the first and most important goal of Seeking Safety therapy. More than anything a therapist wants a client to see this treatment as a safe place for them. To express what they need to without judgment, to manage addiction, and to peruse the elements of their trauma within their boundaries.

The second goal of Seeking Safety is to ensure the treatment is integrated with treating addiction or substance abuse with PTSD. While traversing trauma is not necessary to the treatment, understand how it is tied with substance abuse can help a client learn coping skills or even understand how they came about using substances to cope.

To distance the focus from trauma, Seeking Safety will aim to focus on ideals rather than the loss from substance abuse or trauma. These ideals would put less on mistakes or thoughts that might deter a client from treatment and rather focus on positive reinforcement.

Seeking Safety also puts focus on four areas to improve the coping skills and mental health of a client. These areas are behavioral, personal development, cognitive and interpersonal. Many therapists see these areas as important to improving the functionality of a substance abuser.

Lastly, Seeking Safety uses a balanced approach to therapy. While trauma, past mistakes, or losses are not the focus of any of the treatments, therapists aim to push self-responsibility through treatment. Encouraging accountability in clients is balanced with praise and pushing self-love.

What to Expect from Seeking Safety Therapy?

While there is a model in place for Seeking Safety therapy each actual plan can look very different depending on the therapist and the client. The core goal of all treatments in this model is allowing the client to feel safe while getting to a point of safety in their lives from substances.

However, a client can expect this form of treatment to focus on their strengths. This can help build up support and self-confidence to seek further treatment. This will put less focus on a client’s hardships or trauma.

Seeking Safety will also encourage clients to seek treatment for co-occurring conditions such as mental health, legal or medical problems. This encouragement is to help a client receive well-rounded treatment, but also show they can do better for themselves. This idea centers around self-care and growth in confidence.

Clients who use this method of treatment can also expect to learn new forms of coping and identify why previous coping mechanisms were used. Here clients will look into what pushed them to substances and understand why they did so. In some cases, trauma is the root of substance abuse. Identifying this and then further exploring the idea of coping can help a client learn more effective and safer ways of coping.

In some cases, Seeking Safety can be used in a group setting. This can help ease the tension of opening up about problems for some clients who benefit from shared experiences. Situations such as this can also help clients build a community and bonds that can be important on the road to recovery.

Supporting Seeking Safety Therapy in Treatment

This form of therapy can be beneficial to a client in many ways. It can act as baby steps for those hesitant for treatment, but in terms of long-lasting treatment, the therapy has shown greater success when combined with other forms of treatment.

In some cases, medical therapy is needed. This could mean a medical detox when first arriving at a treatment center or medical management of a condition while in treatment. The idea of creating a drug addiction with drugs may seem counterproductive, but it can be necessary at times. If a client has a co-occurring condition such as depression, PTSD, or health complications removing all substances from the system can be hazardous. This makes for ideal supportive treatment with Seeking Safety.

Other forms of therapy such as cognitive, motivational enhancement, family behavioral, or multisystemic therapy may be required as well. There are elements outside of the control of the client (such as family, school, or workplace) that can impact recovery. Bringing in therapy to address these problems such as home life or understanding what motivates a client can help support Seeking Safety.

Peer support has shown to be beneficial to all in recovery regardless of a treatment plan. Regardless of what supportive care a client responds to, finding the right fit in treatment is important. Seeking Safety may not be for you, but exploring your options is the right way to go about it.

Seeking Safety at NuView Treatment Center

NuView Treatment Center, a rehab in Los Angeles, provides individuals and other members of the community with a wide variety of outpatient treatment programs. Our treatment programs help individuals escape from the vicious cycle of drug or alcohol dependence. Our modern facility, highly trained physicians and masters-level clinicians, and evidence-based treatment modalities can help anyone, regardless of the severity of their substance use disorder.

Our rehab includes every level of care, including:

  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs)
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)
  • Outpatient programs (OPs)
  • Aftercare planning

At NuView Treatment Center, we believe in approaching addiction treatment on a whole-person basis. Compassion is emphasized above all. We never utilize a one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment. Rather, we understand that all of our clients are individuals with unique stories, underlying issues, and specific needs. Our team and staff members design individualized treatment plans for every client who walks into our facility so that they can develop the coping tools they need to stay sober and live lives that are joyful, meaningful, and drug and alcohol-free.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from a drug or alcohol problem, help is available. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

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