Impact of Indigenous Healing and Seeking Safety on Intergenerational Trauma and Substance Use in an Aboriginal Sample | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2155-6105

Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy
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Research Article

Impact of Indigenous Healing and Seeking Safety on Intergenerational Trauma and Substance Use in an Aboriginal Sample

Teresa Naseba Marsh1*, Nancy L Young1, Sheila Cote-Meek2, Lisa M Najavits3and Pamela Toulouse4

1Interdisciplinary Rural and Northern Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada

2Academic and Indigenous Programs, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada

3Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, USA

4School of Education (English Concurrent), Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

*Corresponding Author:
Teresa Naseba Marsh
Interdisciplinary Rural and Northern Health Laurentian University
Sudbury, ON, Canada
[email protected]

Received date: Jan 25, 2016; Accepted date: June 20, 2016; Published date: June 27, 2016

Citation: Marsh TN, Young NL, Meek SC, Najavits LM, Toulouse P (2016) Impact of Indigenous Healing and Seeking Safety on Intergenerational Trauma and Substance Use in an Aboriginal Sample. J Addict Res Ther 7:284. doi:10.4172/2155-6105.1000284

Copyright: © 2016 Marsh TN, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore whether the blending of traditional Indigenous healing practices and a mainstream treatment model, Seeking Safety, resulted in a reduction of Intergenerational Trauma (IGT) symptoms and Substance Use Disorders (SUD).
Methods: A mixed-methods design was used to evaluate the impact of a 13 week Indigenous Healing and Seeking Safety implementation project with one group of 12 Aboriginal women and one group of 12 Aboriginal men (n=24). Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted at the end of treatment. Data were collected pre- and post-implementation using the following assessment tools: the Trauma Symptom Check-list-40 (TSC-40), the Addiction Severity Index-Lite (ASI-Lite), the Historical Loss Scale (HLS), and the Historical Loss Associated Symptom Scale (HLASS). The effectiveness of the new program was assessed using paired t-tests, with the TSC-40 as the main outcome.
Results: A total of 17 participants completed the study. All demonstrated improvement in the trauma symptoms, as measured by the TSC-40, with a mean decrease of 23.9 (SD=6.4, p=0.001) points, representing a 55% improvement from baseline. Furthermore, all six TSC-40 subscales demonstrated a significant decrease (anxiety, depression, sexual abuse trauma index, sleep disturbance, dissociation and sexual problems). Historical grief was significantly reduced and historical loss showed a trend on reduction. Substance use did not change significantly as measured by the ASI-Lite alcohol composite score and drug composite score, but one third of the sample did not report substance use at baseline and thus these variables were underpowered. Satisfaction was high. Participants who dropped out prior to session 10 were more severe than those who stayed in treatment.
Conclusion: Evidence from this mixed-methods study indicates that blending Indigenous Healing with the Seeking Safety model was beneficial in reducing trauma symptoms and historical grief. The combination of traditional and mainstream healing methods has the potential to enhance the health and well-being of Aboriginal people.


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