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Seeking Safety

Scientific Rating
♦ California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare = 3 (Promising Research Evidence)
♦ National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices = Avg. 2.2 Quality of Research (0-4 point scale)

Seeking Safety is a present-focused therapy designed to help people attain safety from trauma/PTSD and substance abuse – to surmount the chaos and destruction so common in trauma and substance abuse.

This treatment is highly flexible and can be conducted in group and individual format. 

Seeking Safety consists of 25 topics that can be conducted in any order.  Examples of topics are Safety, Asking for Help, Setting Boundaries in Relationships, Healthy Relationships, Community Resources, Compassion, Creating Meaning, Discovery, Recovery Thinking, Taking Good Care of Yourself, Commitment, Coping with Triggers, Self-Nurturing, Red and Green Flags, and Life Choices.  Each topic is independent of the others and it is not necessary to conduct all 25 topics. There is also a book on Seeking Safety:  Najavits, LM (2002).  Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse.  New York, Guilford Press.  A Spanish language version is also available.

It has been used in a variety of settings (outpatient, inpatient, residential); and for both substance abuse and dependence.  It has also been used with people who have a trauma history but do not meet criteria for PTSD; or for those with substance abuse disorder but no trauma/PTSD. 

Recommended Population  
Seeking Safety has been successfully implemented with adolescent and adult populations.  At Five Acres, Seeking Safety is provided to youth ages 13-20. It is appropriate for individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds and has been implemented internationally.
Practitioner Qualifications
Seeking Safety can be successfully conducted by a wide range of clinicians; no specific degree or experience is required.  Practitioners must be, however, eligible to bill under Department of Mental Health requirements.

Supervisor Qualifications
No requirements specific to Seeking Safety.

Clinicians must complete a 1-day workshop and participate in 6 hours of consultation calls. 

Practitioners participate in weekly group supervision specific to Seeking Safety. 

Training for Trainers

There is no train-the-trainer option available for Seeking Safety.

Certification is not available for Seeking Safety.

Maintaining Qualification

Fidelity Measures and Standards

Fidelity monitoring consists of the submission of audiotaped sessions by at least one practitioner, preferably a supervisor. 

Pre- and post-measures are required for Seeking Safety.  These are the Youth Outcome Questionnaire (caregiver and self-report versions) and the UCLA PTSD-Reaction Index for Children and Adolescents (caregiver and self-report versions).

Download evidence-based practices PDF flier on Seeking Safety