The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports the alarming findings of Emory University studies: Exposure to a traumatic experience is surprisingly frequent and can have long-lasting consequences on individual health. The link between trauma and substance addiction is already well known. Indeed, many individuals turn to addictive substance behaviors as a coping mechanism for the pain of a traumatic experience.
Therefore, it would make sense for individuals seeking addiction therapies also to address the underlying issue. A treatment plan that fails to address the existing trauma is unlikely to be effective. Ultimately, when addiction acts as a coping response, it is essential to provide a coping alternative to free the individual from addictive behaviors. That is where seeking safety and trauma-focused therapies are instrumental to addiction recovery.
If you have heard of seeking safety and trauma-focused addiction therapies but are unsure about what they can do for you, our team at Impact Outpatient Program has compiled a brief guide.
What are seeking safety & trauma-focused therapies?
Seeking safety treatment came to life in the 1990s to treat co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder and addictive behaviors. Initiated by Lisa M. Najavits, Ph.D., with assistance from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the treatment manual was only published in the early 2000s.
Seeking safety provides a recovery platform for the individuals, offering a safe zone away from the traumatic experience. Unlike trauma-focused therapies that dwell on past trauma, seeking safety therapy focuses on the present. During the therapy, the client envisions what safety would mean in their lives. The seeking safety approach can then provide the coping mechanisms to meet their safety visions.
On the other hand, trauma-focused therapy aims at resolving lingering trauma-related issues. To do so, the client explores the experience to learn to process the trauma. In some situations, therapy is necessary to recognize the existence of a trauma. Indeed, you do not need to have experienced an extreme event to experience trauma, and witnessing a life-changing event can also lead to a traumatic response.
The importance of combining seeking safety & trauma-focused therapy in addiction recovery
The methods are not mutually exclusive and can often work hand-in-hand to support your recovery.
At the Impact Outpatient Program, we get to know you before developing an individualized plan for your needs. Our counselor could recommend trauma-focused therapy in addition to our intensive outpatient program, for example. The outpatient method enables you to maintain your routine and address underlying issues that may also trigger addictive behaviors.
Depending on your situation, we appreciate that some elements of your trauma recovery may affect in-person attendance at the addiction treatment center. That is why we are proud to offer telemed services to support you along the path to recovery.
We know that recovery can need different methods and times depending on individuals and situations. We believe that offering multiple pathways enables you to combine the right methodologies for your recovery journey. As you progress along the journey and learn to handle the trauma linked to your addiction, you may notice that your counselor will advise on a less intensive outpatient program or different therapy treatments. We are committed to providing long-term addiction treatments that match your needs at all times.
The additional benefits of seeking safety & trauma-focused therapy to recover from addiction
Trauma-related addiction requires a combination of trauma management therapy and addiction therapy. As explained, both seeking safety and trauma-focused therapy can provide keys to managing traumatic influence on your behavior.
Seeking safety therapy focuses on creating a safe zone, which means you can get the tools to handle future situations that would usually trigger addiction. As you progress along the addiction recovery, seeking safety therapy can be useful in reducing the risk of relapses. It can also offer different coping alternatives as a replacement for drugs or alcohol.
Trauma-focused therapy tackles the emotional and psychological wounds left by the traumatic event. It supports the success of addiction recovery by offering long-term healing. Essentially, once a traumatic wound is healed, it eliminates the initial addiction trigger.
It isn’t uncommon for therapists to encourage the treatment of co-occurring trauma-related issues, such as a seeking safety therapist recommending addiction treatment.
If you are in the process of addressing an existing trauma through seeking safety or trauma-focused therapy, and your therapy mentions addiction treatment, our team at Impact Outpatient Program in Kentucky can help you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to arrange for your admission to our outpatient programs.
We work with major insurance providers to help cover the cost of your treatment.