"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it."
-Helen Keller

Participating in group therapy can be a powerful intervention for individuals. Through the group setting, participants have the unique opportunity to receive feedback and support from their peers. Group members learn new ways of coping, gain a sense of support, and decrease the feelings of isolation associated with emotional difficulties.   

Seeking Safety

Seeking Safety is an evidence-based, present-focused counseling model to help people attain safety from trauma and/or substance abuse. It addresses both trauma and self-harming behaviors.

"I feel this program unlocked doors for me. I didn't even realize how much I was dependent on substances until group.

The most valuable part of the group for me has been the knowledge and skills I gained, and the ability to discuss them in a structured environment. This program really helped me to practice taking care of myself and set a healthy routine."

-Ashley K., 27

The group is ideal for women who are:

  • ready to make a commitment to the steady improvement of their health and well-being
  • in their 20s and 30s and have experienced some form of trauma (early childhood, neglect/abuse, or sexual assault)
  • currently struggling with some form of self-defeating behavior(s) including but not limited to substance abuse
  • currently in therapy and would like some additional support to develop effective coping skills and to address issues related to trauma, relationships, and self-care

"I did not have hesitations about wanting to join this group; I knew I needed to do this. The group really helped me to become more aware of my needs and grow as a person.

The most valuable part of the group for me has been how interactive it is--completing the handouts as a group and discussing our thoughts and experiences has been very significant. The materials distributed throughout the group were extremely helpful. I would recommend this group to anyone who has experienced trauma or PTSD".

-Laura S., 38

This group meets weekly on Monday evenings and is offered three times per year. Register for Part I & II (12 group meetings total) and save $200 on the full group. Many members have received insurance reimbursement for their participation in this group. Next group begins Monday, July 17, 2017. 

Click here to schedule your initial consultation and get started

Each group is limited in size to ensure that all members have a quality experience. Transwomen/ transfeminine individuals are welcome.

According to the behavioral health researcher and author of the Seeking Safety Program, Dr. Lisa Najavits, there are important distinctions between Seeking Safety and other similar models:  

How does Seeking Safety differ from other treatments?

Broadly speaking, Seeking Safety differs from existing treatments in its combination of theory (i.e., safety as the target goal), its emphasis on humanistic themes (e.g., safety, compassion, honesty), its attempt to make cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) accessible and interesting to participants, its strong focus on case management/ community, its format (e.g., the use of the quotations/session structure), its detailed patient materials for each topic, and its attention to process issues (Najavits, 2002). 

How is Seeking Safety different from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)? 

DBT uses a coping skills approach and has recently been adapted for substance abuse (Linehan et al., 1999). However, it's designed for patients with borderline personality disorder and does not describe or address PTSD. Although some patients have both borderline personality disorder and PTSD, these are separate disorders (Herman, 1992; Linehan et al.,1999). DBT is also a much longer, more intensive treatment, with a full year of treatment in both group and individual concurrent therapies totaling over 3 hours each week, plus as-needed phone coaching (Linehan et al., 1999). Seeking Safety was designed as a lower-cost treatment (e.g., short-term group treatment with one leader) that can be expanded to be more intensive, lengthy, and individual formats if patients have access to more care. The format of DBT, the skills it teaches, and its language and level of abstraction are also different (Najavits, 2002).

How is Seeking Safety different from the Twelve-step treatment?

While twelve-step treatments such as AA are highly compatible with this and many other psychotherapy treatments, they focus on substance abuse only (not PTSD); advocate an abstinence model only; are not designed to be led by professional treaters; and do not provide explicit rehearsal of coping skills (Najavits, 2002).

Linehan, M. M. (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: Guilford Press.

Linehan, M. M., Schmidt, H., Dimeff, L. A., Craft, J.C., Kanter, J. & Comtois, K. E. (1999). Dialectical behavior therapy for patients with borderline personality disorder and drug-dependence. American Journal on Addictions, 8, 279-292.

Najavits, L. M., (2002). Seeking Safety Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance AbuseNew York: Guilford Press.

Seeking Safety topics include: 

  • Safety
  • PTSD: Taking Back Your Power
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Taking Good Care of Yourself
  • Healing From Anger
  • Setting Boundaries in Relationships 
  • Coping With Triggers
  • Respecting Your Time

"Jennifer is an intelligent, hardworking, and sensitive clinician who has been great to work with. We have collaborated on many cases together, and I have been impressed by her caring nature and astute conceptualization of cases. A shared patient of ours has greatly benefitted from her individual therapy, as well as her direction in group therapy. Jennifer is very responsive and an excellent communicator and very easy to work with."

-Shannon Delaney, MD, Psychiatrist and Researcher, Columbia University Medical Center


"Jennifer is an intelligent, warm and thoughtful clinician. Having known Jennifer for over ten years and worked with her for several of them, I have found that Jennifer has a keen ability to create a comfortable environment which engenders trust in everyone she meets. She has significant expertise and experience working with couples and individuals to resolve their most difficult challenges, and does so with genuine curiosity, empathy, and collaboration. In addition, Jennifer is a passionate life-long learner and believes her own ongoing professional development is essential to best support her client’s unique needs."

-Kristina Ortiz, MHC, Dean of Admissions at LIM College

Seeking Safety is a highly respected and effective treatment that addresses both trauma and addiction/ self-harming behaviors. Here's what psychotherapy leaders had to say:

"This landmark model 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." 

-Aaron T. Beck, MD, University Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Medical School

"Fabulous!...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 the 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."

-Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, ABPP, Professor and Director, Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, University of Washington

As with any psychotherapy services, your results may vary from client testimonials. Your results will be based on many variables, such as your level of effort, readiness for change, personal qualities, and a host of other factors.  Since factors differ for each individual, we cannot guarantee your success or specific results. 

Click here to learn more and get started.