This section provides the following:
How to obtain the Seeking Safety book (including client handouts and clinician guide)
Translations of Seeking Safety (Spanish, French and other languages)
Tools for implementing Seeking Safety (e.g., videos, Spanish version, poster)
Click to download Key Information about Seeking Safety (2 pages)
What is Seeking Safety? Seeking Safety is a present-focused therapy to help people attain safety from trauma/PTSD and substance abuse. The treatment is available as a book, providing both client handouts and guidance for clinicians.
The treatment was designed for flexible use. It has been conducted in group and individual format; for women, men, and mixed-gender; using all topics or fewer topics; 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.
It was begun in 1992, under grant funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It was developed by Lisa M. Najavits, PhD at Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital.
Seeking Safety consists of 25 topics that can be conducted in any order:
Introduction/Case Management, Safety, PTSD: Taking Back Your Power, When Substances Control You, Honesty, Asking for Help, Setting Boundaries in Relationships, Getting Others to Support Your Recovery, Healthy Relationships, Community Resources, Compassion, Creating Meaning, Discovery, Integrating the Split Self, Recovery Thinking, Taking Good Care of Yourself, Commitment, Respecting Your Time, Coping with Triggers, Self-Nurturing, Red and Green Flags, Detaching from Emotional Pain (Grounding). Life Choices, and Termination. For a brief description of all topics, click here.
The key principles of Seeking Safety are:
1) Safety as the overarching goal (helping clients attain safety in their relationships, thinking, behavior, and emotions).
2) Integrated treatment (working on both 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, case management
5) Attention to clinician processes (helping clinicians work on countertransference, self-care, and other issues)
"This landmark volume presents
a cutting-edge approach to the treatment of patients who depend on drugs to
soothe the pain of PTSD. In stunning detail, Najavits shows how the same
therapist can treat both conditions concurrently. Her kinder and gentler
approach is a welcome change from traditional confrontational
interventions....All therapists attempting to help these patients should
have this book to guide them."
"Fabulous! This treatment
manual provides practical, clearly described procedures for treating an
extremely difficult group of clients. The organization of the treatment is
superb. From my perspective, the most important parts of a comprehensive
treatment are here attention to the client's safety, targeting substance use
simultaneously with targeting PTSD, integrating ideals and values (I love
the quotations!), a core of cognitive-behavioral interventions, a focus on
interpersonal relationships, and attention to the needs of the therapist.
Very impressive. Obviously written by an experienced clinician."
"As empirically guided
treatment manuals begin to emerge in greater numbers and varying quality,
Najavits maintains an essential and elegant balance between a lucid map of
treatment directions, on the one hand, and the complex dynamics of the
clinical territory on the other. This is a very important work that I highly
recommend for clinicians of every stripe."
For more reviews, click here (from Amazon.com)
The treatment manual is published as a book titled, Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse (Guilford Press, New York, 2002). It is 401 pages, and provides client handouts for use in sessions and clinician guidelines for conducting the treatment. It can be ordered from:
Note: The client handouts can be xeroxed for personal use in unlimited fashion (e.g., the clinician can copy them for any number of clients). However, for reproducing the handouts in any published electronic or written form or for any use other than one's own clinical practice, permission is needed from Guilford Press.
The book can also be ordered from the publisher, Guilford Press (800-365-7006, extension 223). Guilford can send books on a consignment basis: an organization can order books for a conference or other purpose, and if some books are not sold, ship them back to Guilford for full refund. Contact Guilford (Ellen Garretson: 800-365-7006).
w Compassion (sample cognitive topic)
w Red and Green Flags (sample behavioral topic)
Several translations are currently available (those marked by an asterisk below) and others are upcoming.
En Busca de la Seguridad (entire Seeking Safety book in Spanish-
available from this website, section Order). [Translated into
Spanish by Jaime Mauricio Fatimas Cabeza]. Also, click here to
download a free copy of the sample topic, Asking for Help.
Estrategias seguras para hacer frente (poster of Safe Coping Skills in
Also, you can order copies of the Spanish client handouts only if
required by the publisher). The handouts-only version can be used
with clients to avoid having to xerox the pages from the book. Contact
us if interested.
A a recherche de la securite (entire Seeking Safety book in
French- available from this website, section Order). [Translated into
French under the direction of Josee Senechal of the Centre de Sante Valcartier, Quebec, Canada]. Also, you can download a free copy
You can order copies of the French client handouts only if
desired, as long as at least 1 full French book is ordered (this is
required by the publisher). The handouts-only version can be used with
clients to avoid having to xerox the pages from the book. Contact us if
Posttraumatische Belastungsstorung und Substanzmissbrauch:
Das Therapieprogramm Sicherheit finden (entire Seeking Safety
book in German). Translated by: Ingo Schaefer, Martina Stubenvoll,
Anne Dilling; published by Hogrefe; can be ordered from amazon.com
Seeking Safety: Handboek behandeling trauma en verslaving
(entire Seeking Safety book in Dutch). Translated by Margreet van der
Meer-Jansma, Hein de Haan, and Cor de jong; published by Bohn,
Stafleu, van Loghum. Also you can freely download a book chapter on
Psychotherapies for PTSD by Lisa Najavits (published 2007), translated
We would like to sincerely thank several foreign colleagues, who have been instrumental in making some of the above translations possible. These include: Josee Senechal of the Centre de Sante Valcartier (Quebec, Canada; Ingo Schaefer, MD of the University of Hamburg (Germany); Madeleine Skold of Maria Ungdom (Stockholm, Sweden); Hein de Haan, MD and Margreet Jansma of Tactus (Markelo, Netherlands); Tomoko Kiyoshige (Japan); Remos Armaos and Genie Christofolli of Kethea Institute (Athens, Greece); and Jaime Mauricio Fatïmas Cabeza (translator of the Spanish version).
Note: if you have any suggested changes to any translated version (for accuracy or nuances of the language), please email email@example.com
-- we welcome your ideas.
We are delighted to know of your interest in Seeking Safety. Please note that the copyright to the Seeking Safety book is held by Guilford Press. Except for "personal use" (which means an individual clinicians' use of the materials with his/her own clients), permission from them is needed for all other uses. Please see details below.
(a) Copying from the Seeking Safety book (e.g., handouts). Guilford Press (who owns the Seeking Safety book copyright) offers the following description of how the book handouts can be copied: "An individual (1 person) can use the handouts without writing for permission. However, a clinic (or agency, program, institution) does not qualify as the 'individual purchaser.' The Limited Photocopy License is quite specific about what can and can not be done. For clinics or multiple users we ask that they write for permission and tell us how many clinicians would use how many books. If it's only 2 or 3 we might approve this at no charge; otherwise we assess a small licensing fee or ask that they purchase additional copies of the book for multiple users. Part of the reasoning is we want clinicians to have all the necessary background information included in the text when using the handouts." For inquiries on this, contact Kathy.Kuehl@guilford.com or 800-365-7006, extension 245.
(b) Adaptation / Reprinting. If you are interested in adapting Seeking Safety or reprinting parts of it (beyond personal use), please note the following. If you plan to publish, research, or broadly distribute an adapted version of Seeking Safety, or parts of it (e.g., certain handouts), you will need to obtain written permission from Guilford Press in advance. You can contact Guilford Press (800-365-7006, extension 245), or you can go directly to their page (www.guilford.com, click "permissions"). If you would like Lisa Najavits' assistance in adapting it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) Translation. There are a variety of options for translation (all of which require advanced written permission from Guilford Press).
(1) One option is to obtain the right to translate all or part of the book, and then to distribute it via this Seeking Safety website. This is, for example, how the Spanish and French translations were done, which are now available from the section "Order". The benefit is that others will be able to use the translated version, and that you will receive some payment for it.
(2) A second option is to contact a publisher in your country, who can directly obtain from Guilford Press the right to publish and distribute the book.
(3) A second option is to obtain the right to translate all or part of the book, just for use in your agency and for a limited period of time, without the right to distribute it to anyone else.
If any of the above are of interest or you have questions about this, contact email@example.com or 617-299-1620.
a) There are a variety of freely downloadable articles to assist with implementing Seeking Safety.
b) There are also materials that can be ordered for a fee. These include:
A set of training videos on Seeking Safety (developed under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse). The videos are:
1. Seeking Safety. A 2-hour training video by Lisa Najavits, and including clips from real clients and clinicians.
2. A Client's Story. A 20-minute video in which a man describes the impact of sexual abuse and addiction, and his attempts to obtain treatment.
3. Example of Teaching Grounding to a Client. A 16-minute example of teaching a real client the skill of "grounding" using the script from the Seeking Safety manual.
4. Therapy Session: Asking for Help. A 1-hour video of Lisa Najavits conducting a group session with real clients.
5. Adherence Rating Session: Healthy Relationships. A 1-hour video of a clinician conducting a group session with real clients. This session was designed to show both good and poor elements, and is for use with the Seeking Safety Adherence Scale.
A poster of the Seeking Safety "Safe Coping Skills" is available (in English or Spanish).
Translations of the Seeking Safety book (Spanish and French available).
A card deck of the Safe Coping Skills (can be played as a game; in English or Spanish).
The following are a few clinicians who have asked to be added to this list as currently conducting Seeking Safety and accepting client referrals. However, it is also strongly recommended to look at the list of prior trainings on Seeking Safety to see programs in your area that have received training in the model, as the vast majority of clinicians and programs are not listed below (many thousands of clinicians have been trained in the model).
Also, please note that the list below represents self-listings and not an endorsement of particular programs or clinicians; nor are these trainers in Seeking Safety. It may also be useful to For training in Seeking Safety, please see the training section of this site. If you are a clinician or program and would like to be added to this list, please contact Lisa with the details, and it will be added here.
Brookline, MA: Kay M. Johnson, LICSW; group and individual Seeking Safety; private practice with sliding scale. 617-731-1500 firstname.lastname@example.org [posted 12/6/05]
Cranston, RI: Elisa Reid-Robley, MA, CAGS, LMHC, LCDP and Marie Capobianco, MA, CAGS, LMHC, LCDP; Outpatient individual Seeking Safety; private practice; accepts most insurances and flat rate fee. 900 Reservoir Ave, Cranston, RI, 02910, (401)-632-4114. Ask for Elisa or Marie [Posted 2008]
Stamford, CT: Jeanette Trujillo, Psy.D. Licensed Psychologist, CT & NY. (has conducted SS since 2004, with incarcerated women and community substance abuse clients);Group and individual Seeking Safety; Private Pay. 700 Summer St, Unit 1A, Stamford, Connecticut 06901 203-327-7200 Jeanette.Trujillo@ymail.com [posted 2/09]
Hamden, CT: Trauma and Substance Abuse Therapy for Women. Contact Gilberte Najamy, MS 203-288-0210 email@example.com [Posted 9/27/05]
Holyoke and Springfield, MA: Holyoke Medical Center and River Valley Counseling Center offer The Women Seeking Safety Project: A SAMHSA funded program providing treatment and case-management for homeless women dealing with substance abuse and PTSD. Contact Nancy O'Hare, Program Manager 413-737-2437 x126 or Baxter Chandler, LICSW, Clinical Supervisor 413-534-2653 firstname.lastname@example.org [posted 5/08]
Bridgeport, CT: The Center for Women and Families. Contact Margaret Weeks, MSW at 203-334-6154 x45 or email@example.com
Fall River, MA: Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR) (outpatient Seeking Safety group for women Tuesdays from 10:30 - 12:00, led by Flinda Behringer, LICSW). To join, make an appointment for a general intake at SSTAR by calling 508-679-5222 [Posted 2005]
Cape Cod, MA: Gosnald Treatment Center (Seeking Safety groups offered in Falmouth and Hyannis. Contact Gosnold Admissions Dept. at 800-444-1554 [posted 4/06]
New York, NY (upper west side) (various times); see
www.whpnyc.org or call
212-523-7693; current schedule of Seeking Safety groups is
New Haven, CT: Teresa W. Roehrich M.S. LADC, Clinician, Grant Street Partnership 62 Grant Street, New Haven, Ct. 06519 203-503-3353
Santa Cruz, CA: Women’s Crisis Support~Defensa de Mujeres, Trained peer counselors lead the group, donations accepted; Support Groups in English Wednesdays 6-7:30 1685 Commercial Way Santa Cruz, CA 95065 831-425-4030; Support Groups in Spanish Tuesdays 6-7:30 233 E. Lake Avenue Watsonville, CA 95076 831-722-4532 [posted 11/14/13]
San Francisco, CA: Dr.
Teo Ernst Psy.D.; Outpatient individual Seeking Safety; private
practice. 703 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Hermosa Beach, CA: Beach Cities Psychological Services, Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, offering individual & group Seeking Safety treatment with a sliding scale offered in private practice; firstname.lastname@example.org
beachcitiespsych.com, (310) 746-5929. [posted 2/3/13]
San Francisco: Lyon-Martin Health Services, a primary care clinic providing treatment to women and transgender clients. Individual and group therapy available in both English and Spanish. 1748 Market Street, Ste. 201, SF, 94102, www.lyon-martin.org Contact the Mental Health Intake Line: 415-565-7667 x351, or email Sandra@lyon-martin.org [posted 12/16/12]
Coachella Valley, CA: Oasis Community Services, contact us at
760-391-6991. Provide GROUP ONLY services in Desert Hot Springs, Indio,
Coachella, and Palm Springs. Absolutely free to join, for ages 16 and
older. Leticia Jimenez, B.A. Psychology and Human Dev.; Seeking Safety
Program; Oasis Community Services, Indio, CA 92201; (760) 391-6991;
www.starsinc.com [posted 8/9/12]
Roseville, CA: Hearts & Hands Counseling offers group and individual Seeking Safety sessions. Hearts & Hands is non-profit counseling agency that offers affordable psychotherapy and counseling for individuals of all ages, couples and families. Sliding scale fee and Victims of Crime Insurance accepted. Contact Kate Farrelly, MFT Intern, RAS at email@example.com or 916-865-7083 [posted 7/9/12]
Los Angeles, CA: Kim "Gunther" Jensen, LMFT; group and individual Seeking Safety; Private Practice with Sliding Scale. (818) 317-7919. firstname.lastname@example.org. wwwkimjensenlmft.com [posted 3/22/12]
Santa Barbara, CA: Full Spectrum Recovery and Counseling offers group and individual Seeking Safety sessions. FSR is an outpatient counseling center that offers private, confidential psychotherapy and counseling around issues of addiction, compulsive behaviors and trauma. Contact Caitlin Slutzky, MA, MFTI 805.705.1924 email@example.com or Benjamin Norens, MA, MFTI 805.637.1144 firstname.lastname@example.org [posted 2/24/12]
Riverside County, CA: Family Service Association, contact us at 951-369-8036. Multiple locations throughout Riverside County. Free to qualify teens and adults ages 16 to 59 that live in the following cities: Rubidoux, Eastside Riverside, Casa Blanca, Arlanza, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore, Perris, San Jacinto, Winchester and Romoland. Services are provided on an individual or group basis. [posted 10/11]
Santa Cruz, CA: Group
for adult women 18+. Drop-in, ongoing group Thursdays 12-1pm.
Childcare provided. $5 voluntary donation accepted. Arrive early first
time to register. Gabriella Grant, facilitator. 303 Walnut at Chestnut,
Santa Cruz, CA, 95060. 831-426-3062 for information. [posted 9/10]
Summer Krause, LPC, CADCIII at
Western Psychological and Counseling Services in Gladstone, OR. Provide
individual and group Seeking Safety therapy for adolescents and adults.
Contact 503-659-5515 x1261. www.westernpsych.com
Contracted with most insurance companies and also offer a cash pay rate.
Los Angeles, CA: PROTOTYPES Women's Center (multiple levels of care), at 845 E. Arrow Hwy in Pomona. Contact www.prototypes.org
Pico Rivera, CA (Southern California, Los Angeles area): Angel Step-Inn Youth and Family Services; group and individual Seeking Safety; accepts CalWorks insurance; Marijke Pantus, Program Director 562-949-5358 or Mariah Madrigal 562-949-5358, Case Manager
Beverly Hills, CA: Bisi Chima, PsyD; group and individual Seeking Safety as part of her private practice; 310-925-1063 [posted 8/08]
Elk Grove, Sacramento County, CA: Ann Burke, LCSW (Lic# 21482); Counseling/ Therapy to address trauma and traits of addiction using tools from Seeking Safety. 916-683-3700 x2; www.burkeann.com [posted 3/06]
Burlingame and Half Moon Bay, CA: Kristin L. Dempsey, MFT (650) 219-7779 email@example.com [posted 11/12]
Anaheim, CA and Huntington Beach, CA (group treatment); one is at 1st Baptist Church in Anaheim, CA and the other at Redeemer Lutheran in Huntington Beach, CA. Does not take insurance, but will provide a receipt for reinbursement by the client's insurance company. This is a professional Christian Counseling agency and so prayer and Scripture will be integrated into the group format. Contact Darlene Lemmo (licensed marriage and family therapist) firstname.lastname@example.org [Posted 9/27/05]
Twin Falls, ID: Candise Ramsey, LMSW; Outpatient Group and Individual Seeking Safety for men and women; Valley Community Counseling; Accepts Medicaid or Private Pay, Clients may be eligible for funding through alternate sources, 1092 Eastland Drive North, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301, (208) 736-0695. Ask for Candise. [posted 1/29/13]
Hastings NE: Beverly J Patitz, PhD, LIMHP,
LADC, CPC; New Dimensions Counseling, LLC; 223 East 14th, Suite 220;
68901; (402) 519-0159 for appts; sliding scale; group and individual
Seeking Safety. [posted 1/2/13]
Lincoln, NE: Mary SimBarcelos, One World Healing, 285 S. 68th St. Place, #18, Lincoln, NE email@example.com
Naples, FL: Jeffrey L
Miller MS, LMHC, CAP and Joseph Mirabella MA, LMHC; Outpatient
Individual and Group Seeking Safety; Private Practice - accepts most
insurances (out of network) and flat rate fee. 3050 N. Horseshoe Drive,
Suite 150, Naples FL 34014; 239-331-4774 or
Knoxville, TN: Linda
Catlin, LMSW; Knoxville, TN ; 865-566-7651, email firstname.lastname@example.org [posted 8/8/13]
Winter Park, FL: Denise Coe, RN MSN MS CAP LMHC, Discoveries Counseling Services, LLC, 400 Grove Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789 407-810-3018 [Posted 1/16/10]
North Little Rock, AR - Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (weekly groups for residential patients and outpatients); Contact Kevin Reeder, PhD; 501-257-3480 or Kevin.email@example.com (groups are open to veterans with VA benefits only). [Posted 9/6/07]
Tampa, FL: HealthCare Connection of Tampa (group for women, and some individual treatment); contact John Harden, LCSW, CAP, MPH, 800-444-4434 or 813-931-5560 www.healthcareconnectionoftampa.com [posted 9/27/05]
Chapel Hill, North Carolina: OPC Area Program-Northside Clinic (Outpatient Seeking Safety group for women; 12 weeks closed group, Wednesdays 4-6 p.m. Must be Orange County resident to qualify. Led by Susanne Kaiser, MA, LPC. Contact her at 919- 913-4200. [Posted 2005]
Alexandria, VA: private practice; contact Denise Tordella, MA, LPC, firstname.lastname@example.org 703 517-6379 [Posted 9/27/05]
Anchorage, AK : Jennifer Beathe, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, group and individual Seeking Safety; private practice. Tel: 907-272-0855. Email: email@example.com
Seeking Safety has been used in the VA since the mid 1990's and is currently implemented in a wide variety of VAs around the country. Click here for a list. It has been effectively used with both men and women veterans (the model is designed for both genders), at all levels of care, by all types of clinicians, in group or individual format. It is a highly flexible model, allowing use in as short or long a timeframe as you have available, by any clinician in any type of VA program. The model has also been studied in several VA research projects (see Outcomes for more on these).
The model was originally designed for clients with PTSD and substance abuse, but has been used in VA with a broader range of clients (just one or the other disorder, a history of one or the other, etc.). Because it focuses on coping skills in the present, it has no known adverse consequences and thus can be used from the start of treatment entry, with any client.
Lisa Najavits has been a clinical research psychologist at VA Boston since 2004. Contact Lisa within the VA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 857-364-2780.
Lisa M. Najavits, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine; Lecturer, Harvard Medical School; clinical psychologist at VA Boston; and clinical associate, McLean Hospital. She is author of the books Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse (2002) and A Woman's Addiction Workbook (New Harbinger Press; 2002), as well as over 150 professional publications. She has received various awards, including the 1997 Young Professional Award of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies; the 1998 Early Career Contribution Award of the Society for Psychotherapy Research; the 2004 Emerging Leadership Award of the American Psychological Association Committee on Women; and the 2009 Betty Ford Award of the Addiction Medical Education and Research Association. She has served as president of the Society of Addiction Psychology of the American Psychological Association; and is on the advisory boards of Psychotherapy Research, the Journal of Gambling Studies, and Addiction Research and Theory. Dr. Najavits has received a variety of National Institutes of Health and other research grants. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association; board certified in behavioral therapy; a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts; a psychotherapy supervisor; and conducts a psychotherapy practice. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee) and her bachelor's degree with honors from Columbia University (New York, New York). Her major clinical and research interests address vulnerable populations, including homeless, women, veterans, and community-based care; she specializes on trauma/substance abuse, development of new psychotherapies, and evaluation and outcome research. For more detailed information, you can download Lisa's CV.
Associates: Several Seeking Safety experts provide training, consultation, and clinical services on the model. Click here to learn more about them. If you are interested in potentially working with Lisa or associates please email email@example.com. We will be happy to describe various options. Please note that various other people around the country conduct training on Seeking Safety that they have developed, but these have not been reviewed or supervised by
our group, and thus we cannot determine their quality.