Projects & Programs


Healing Seasons: Preventing HIV among Native Americans through the treatment of PTSD & Substance Use

Lead Investigators:

In communities where there are disproportionate risks for trauma exposure and substance misuse, mental health services are generally overlooked and under resourced.  Issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder (SUD), HIV/STI risks are often treated separately rather than combined.  Built on an 8 year community based participatory partnership, in full collaboration with a Pacific Northwest Tribal Nation, Healing Seasons: Pathways to Our Heart, Mind, Body & Spirit is an extension of the previous project, Sacred Journeys.

Taking a holistic approach, Healing Seasons provides two interventions to 1) reduce substance use, to prevent further substance use disorder development while reducing PTSD symptoms and HIV/STI risks and 2) treatment of PTSD to decreases substance misuse and prevent HIV/STI behaviors.  Using the evidence based interventions, Motivational Interviewing Therapy with Skills Training (MIST), a goal setting and skill based talk therapy and Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET), a story based exposure therapy, to recruit 200 American Indian/Alaskan Native and descendants, ages 16 and older for the next 2 – 4 years.

Healing Seasons will provide:

  • Six (6) free counseling sessions to eligible participants
  • Alternative therapy approaches that is client driven and culturally adapted to the tribal community
  • Sustainable therapeutic skills that will outlast the life of the grant.

Ultimately, Healing Seasons will attempt to ensure American Indians, Alaskan Native and descendants have access to quality, evidence based care provided by their own community members in rural tribal areas.