Seeking Safety: An evidence-based model for Trauma and/or Substance Abuse


Join us for a 1-day live training on Seeking Safety cohosted by Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority and Treatment Innovations. This training is designed for anyone; no license, degree, or prior training is required.  

Seeking Safety: An evidence-based model for trauma and/or substance abuse

Presented by Developer, Lisa Najavits, PhD, Director, Treatment Innovations

Date: Friday, May 5, 2017

Time: 9am-4pm

Located at DoubleTree Dearborn Detroit, 5801 Southfield FwyDetroit, MI

Summary: The goal of this presentation is to describe Seeking Safety, an evidence-based treatment for trauma and/or substance abuse (clients do not have to have both issues). By the end of the training day, participants can implement Seeking Safety in their setting if they choose to.Seeking Safety teaches present-focused coping skills to help clients attain safety in their lives.  It is highly flexible and can be conducted with a wide range of clients, clinicians, and settings. There are 25 treatment topics, each representing a safe coping skill relevant to both trauma and/or substance abuse, such as “Asking for Help”, “Creating Meaning”, “Compassion”, and “Healing from Anger”. Topics can be done in any order and the treatment can be done in few or many sessions as time allows. Seeking Safety strives to increase hope through emphasis on ideals; it offers exercises, emotionally-evocative language, and quotations to engage patients; attends to clinician processes; and provide concrete strategies to build recovery skills.  In this training we cover (a) background on trauma and substance abuse (rates, presentation, models and stages of treatment, clinical challenges); and (b) overview of Seeking Safety including evidence-base; and (c) clinical implementation such as use of the model with specific popultations.  Assessment tools and national resources are also described. Learning methods include powerpoint, video, exercises, role-play, and discussion. 

Educational objectives:
1. Learn how to implement Seeking Safety with adults and/or adolescents
2. Review research and clinical issues in treating trauma and substance abuse
3. Increase empathy and understanding of trauma and substance abuse
4. Learn how to conduct Seeking Safety, an evidence-based model for trauma and/or substance abuse
5. Obtain assessment and treatment resources

Book: You do not need to have the Seeking Safety book at the training but if you decide to conduct Seeking Safety you will need the book (one per clinician). It can be purchased at the discounted rate of $55 when you sign up for the training or at any time from our Store at the regular rate. The book is a 400- page manual that provides all that you need to conduct Seeking Safety (clinician guide and client handouts).  If purchase online when you register, the book will be provided at Registration when you sign in (please specify in Comments which language, i.e., English, Spanish, or Chinese; if none is listed, we'll assume English). Please order from


I.  Background (9am to 10:30am, followed by 15 minute morning break)

1.    Rates of trauma and substance abuse

2.    Clinical presentations

3.    Treatment challenges

      4.  Assessment and community resources

II.  Treatment (10:45 to 12pm, followed by 1 hour lunch break)

1.    Stages of treatment

2.    Overview of Seeking Safety

III.  Video on trauma and substance abuse (1pm to 1:30 pm)

IV.  More on Seeking Safety (1:30p to 2:45p, followed by 15 minute afternoon break)

      1. Evidence base

       2. Specific interventions

       3. Frequently asked questions

V.  Clinical demonstration (3pm to 4pm)

       1.  Video demonstration of Seeking Safety topic, “Asking for Help” with real clients

        2. Break into small groups and practice session, Asking for Help

                    3.  “Tough cases”: discussion of clinical scenarios that may arise



´╗┐Lisa M. Najavits, PhD is professor of psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine; and adjunct professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is a research psychologist at Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System and the Bedford VA; and director of Treatment Innovations. She was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School from 1990-2015. Her major clinical and research interests are substance abuse, trauma, co-morbidity, behavioral addictions, veterans' mental health, community-based care, development of new psychotherapies, and outcome research.  She is author of over 180 professional publications, as well as the books Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse;  A Woman's Addiction Workbook; and the upcoming Creating Change: A Past-Focused Treatment Manual for Trauma and Addiction. She has served as president of the Society of Addiction Psychology of the American Psychological Association; and is on various  advisory boards including the Journal of Traumatic Stress; the Journal of Gambling Studies; the Journal of Dual Diagnosis, and Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. 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 is a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts and conducts a psychotherapy practice. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from Vanderbilt University and her bachelor's degree with honors from Barnard College of Columbia University.

Continuing Education Credits: Continuing Education Credits are PENDING for this training.  Participants must arrive on time and remain in the training for it's entirety.  You must have your license number when you check in.

  • Social Workers:  5.5 continuing Education Credits are PENDING for this training. 
  • Counselors: 5.5 continuing Education Credits are PENDING for this training. The VCE is a National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.
  • Substance Abuse Professionals: 5.5 Non-Specific Continuing Education credits are available for this training.

  • Qualified Mental Health Professionals (CMHP): These training hours meet the MDCH training requirement for QMHP staff.

Registration Policy

Pre-registration is required. Payment is required prior to the date of the training.

The last day to pre-register is Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 2pm.

You will receive a confirmation of your registration via e-mail. If you do not, please contact the DWC Message Center at

For technical assistance, contact our help desk at

If you have questions regarding the event, contact Andrea Smith at