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

The training will be offered over the course of two training dates. Participants are asked to attend both dates.

Online Training open to Staff at Sexual Assault Service Programs and Sexual Assault Coordinators at Community Mental Health Organizations

This is a 2 Part Training Series –
Training Day 1: Friday, July 10, 2020, 8:30 – 11:30am

Training Day 2: Friday, July 17, 2020, 8:30 – 11:30am

6 Hours of CEUs applied for

Summary: The goal of this presentation is to describe Seeking Safety, an evidence-based model 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 in any setting by a wide range of clinicians and also peers. 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 provides 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-baseand (c) clinical implementation such as use of the model with specific populations. Assessment tools and national resources are also described. Learning methods include powerpoint, video, exercises, role-play, and discussion. For more information on Seeking Safety see

Trainer: Joni Utley, PsyD has been providing Seeking Safety training and consultation with Treatment Innovations throughout the U.S. since 2012. She has presented in diverse settings, including community mental health centers, addiction programs, jail-diversion programs, medical hospitals, and academic settings. She is a clinical psychologist at the San Francisco VA Medical Center in the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Clinic and Substance Abuse Day Hospital . She completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at VA Boston Healthcare System from 2011-2013 under Lisa Najavits’ supervision, where she specialized in treating PTSD/SUD and held an academic appointment at Boston University School of Medicine. Prior to that, she completed her psychology internship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School/Worcester State Hospital, where she obtained a broad range of clinical training experiences with a focus on trauma, addictions, and co-occurring disorders. Dr. Utley earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. She has research experience in PTSD, SUD, posttraumatic growth, and cognitive behavioral couples’ therapy. She is also a military veteran; with five years active duty in the Coast Guard and currently a Lieutenant Commander (O-4) in the Coast Guard Reserve. 


1) To review current understanding of evidence-based treatment of trauma and substance abuse
2) To increase empathy and understanding of trauma and substance abuse
3) To describe Seeking Safety, an evidence-based model for trauma and/or substance abuse
4) To provide assessment and treatment resources
5) To identify how to apply Seeking Safety for specific populations, such as homeless, adolescents, criminal justice, sexual assault, etc.

Should you have questions, please contact Alexandria at this link: Contact Alexandria

This project was supported with funding from the State of New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission and the New Mexico Behavioral Health Services Division.