Seeking Safety (SS)

Intervention Basics

Seeking Safety is a flexible treatment intervention for clients with a history of trauma and substance abuse. The treatment focuses on building coping skills and psycho-education, rather than focusing of past traumatic events.

Seeking Safety has five key principles:

  • Safety as the overarching goal
    • Clients should attain safety in their relationships, thinking, behavior and emotions
  • Integrated treatment
    • Working on both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse at the same time
  • A focus on ideal to counteract the loss of ideals in both PTSD and substance abuse
  • Four substantive areas:
    • Cognitive
    • Behavioral
    • Interpersonal
    • Case Management
  • Attention to clinician processes
    • Helping clinicians work on counter transference, self-care and other issues
Expectation of Sessions: 
There are 25 sessions and can be flexible (i.e., group or individual formats). 

Recommended Populations

  • Age range is 26 - 55 
  • Females
  • History of Trauma
  • American Indian or Alaska Native; Black or African American; Hispanic or Latino; and White
  • Outpatient; Inpatient; Residential

Special Considerations for Juvenile Drug Courts

Juvenile Drug Courts should understand that much of the research regarding this treatment intervention is based on the female population, ages 26-55. There is one study based on adolescent girls that showed promising outcomes, but the sample size was very small (n-33). If the treatment agency has several treatment options available, Seeking Safety being one, the court may be able to direct some JDC participants (i.e., girl participants) to receive treatment based on that modality. This would likely be based on the recommendations of the treatment provider. But, implementing Seeking Safety as the single treatment of choice for the JDC, would be problematic, as the JDC team would not be able to rely on the intervention working for all JDC participants. 

Engagement Strategies

JDCs should work closely with treatment providers to make sure that there is a wide-array of treatment options available to effectively treat a number of challenges and issues that this population present with, trauma being one. The JDC team will need to screen and assess for trauma and engage the youth in treatment (i.e., this is not a "one size fits all" intervention). 

Implementation and Training

Visit the Seeking Safety website to research costs and training opportunities. 


For more detailed information regarding research and replications associated with Seeking Safety, visit: