September is National Recovery Month

Primary Therapist Kathleen Morgan on Seeking Safety

One of the therapies that we conduct at New Directions for Women for our patients is Seeking Safety.  Pioneered by Dr. Lisa Najavits, Seeking Safety, is a type of therapy that is used for patients to obtain a sense of safety from trauma that they may have experienced.  Primary therapist for New Directions for Women, Kathleen Morgan, details the benefits of this type of therapy in the video above.  This therapy is used in both in-patient and out-patient settings and has been proven beneficial for many men and women in their recovery.  Please take a moment to watch this video to learn more about the benefits of Seeking Safety.  We have transcribed the video below for you to follow along.

Hi my name is Kathleen Morgan.  I’m a primary therapist intern here at New Directions for Women.  I started in the field of psychology five years ago when I initially started my studies at Pepperdine University. 

I have been working in the field consistently for the past five years.  The past treatment center that I was at was Hope House and I started with New Directions for Women here about six months ago.  My first master’s degree is in Holistic Wellness with an emphasis in treating addiction in a holistic approach.  Mainly nutritional therapies and body work techniques.  So when I got this job here at New Directions for Women I was really excited because it kind of blends everything that I do do and they allow me to really work with the patients holistically, mind, body, and spirit.  I like to specialize.

 I am specializing in trauma and one of the groups that I do run here at New Directions for Women is called Seeking Safety.  Seeking Safety is the most researched, evidence based practice out there for co-occurring disorders.  Co-occurring substance abuse with trauma and what we find when we treat both those disorders together is that we have a less recidivism rate.  If we don’t treat those two together, we have a very high relapse rate.  So one of the things that women really like about the Seeking Safety is that it’s consistent.  They know what they’re going to get when they get there.  Each week they come in, they check in, “How am I feeling? What have I been working on? Have I been doing any self destructive behaviors?”  And then we go through the material for the week and I go through it really slowly.  There is really a lot of material there. 

Sometimes we’ll only get through maybe one page of a module each week and that’s okay because it’s a lot of information and the women really like it because they get to see that, “Wow, other people think this way? This is really because I’ve had trauma in my life.”  And I’ll tell you what, in the female population, when I ask, “How many of you have suffered trauma?”  Almost 100% of the hands go up.  And it’s either trauma that they experienced in childhood that may or may not have led to their drug addiction but then once they’ve gotten into their addiction, alcohol or drug addiction, the things they have to do to sustain that addiction is often traumatizing. 

So what we’ve found is that if you only treat the trauma, there’s going to be a high chance that they relapse back to substance abuse and if we only treat the substance abuse the trauma that they continue to relive will lead them back to relapse too.  So it’s very important that we’re treating these simultaneously or else we’re going to have a very high recidivism rate so we’re trying to get that down.  This is one of the ways as well as psychodrama that we do treat trauma here at New Directions for Women. Thank you. 

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