Experts in Trauma


We provide trauma-focused care to those recovering from substance use disorders.

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experts in trauma

At Augustine Recovery, we don’t just offer “trauma-informed” care. We provide trauma-first treatment. Our approach is rooted in extensive research, proven rehabilitation, and innovative modalities. Read on to learn more about the trauma therapies available in our Florida treatment center.

Complex Trauma Treatment and Addiction

Complex trauma is a newer term in the field of mental health, which refers to the exposure to prolonged, repeated traumatic events that often occur in childhood or adolescence, such as physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse in addition to neglect, or witnessing violence. These experiences can affect an individual’s ability to form healthy relationships, regulate emotions, and cope with stress. Complex trauma can cause chronic stress, which can lead to changes in the brain’s structure and function. These changes can cause an individual to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. Complex trauma can ultimately manifest in complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) and is quite commonly found in people struggling with a substance use disorder and can manifest and be confused with other traits of different personality disorders. Symptoms include:
  • Inability to regulate emotions
  • Changes in personality and consciousness
  • Low self-esteem, self-worth, and negative self image
  • Difficulty with relationships and unhealthy attachment behaviors
Complex trauma can also increase an individual’s risk of developing substance use disorder. Studies have shown that individuals with a history of trauma are more likely to develop addiction to drugs or alcohol. According to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), individuals who have experienced trauma are three times more likely to develop substance use disorder than those who have not experienced trauma. Additionally, individuals with a history of trauma may use drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate and cope with the symptoms of their trauma.
Augustine Recovery provides a comprehensive treatment program for individuals suffering from PTSD and C-PTSD as a co-occuring disorder. Our approach involves a range of evidence-based modalities, including intensive family therapy, inner child work, EMDR, and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, among others. Clients can expect to actively engage in their therapeutic work, through various assignments, individual therapy, and group therapy, all in a safe and supportive environment.
Our 90-day treatment model is uniquely tailored to address the complex needs of our clients, allowing sufficient time to effectively uncover and heal from trauma, which may not be feasible in a standard 30-day program. This extended period also provides ample opportunity for clients to establish a strong therapeutic relationship with our team and their peers, while simultaneously addressing any symptoms of their substance use disorder.

Our Therapies

The Augustine Recovery staff is highly trained in the resolution of trauma, whether it occurred in childhood, adolescence, or adult life. Our clinicians work with each resident in individual and group settings to address the personal history that fuels his or her addiction.

We utilize a variety of clinically sophisticated treatments, depending on the needs of each person. Our staff regularly attends continuing education events to update certifications and receive training in groundbreaking therapies. Our commonly used approaches include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

A therapeutic method focused on challenging a person’s negative thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, ultimately changing them for the better.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Developed for the treatment of suicidality and severe mood disorders, this approach is especially effective for trauma and substance abuse. DBT enables participants to regulate intense emotions and change harmful behaviors.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) 

A cutting-edge technique, EMDR allows residents to safely process traumatic events by gradually controlling their response to memories.

Narrative Therapy Modalities

Our clinicians use various techniques from narrative therapy – such as telling one’s story, externalization, and deconstruction – to help residents separate themselves from their trauma, understand its role in their substance abuse, and move forward.

Expressive Small Groups (Including Art Therapy)

Trauma and addiction can both result in isolation and a reluctance to open up. We provide a variety of expressive small groups to encourage connection and openness with others.

Body Mapping

This exercise helps residents to view their scars, injuries, birthmarks, and other physical traits as “a museum of their life.” This is especially useful in empowering trauma survivors to recognize their strength, care for themselves, and take their bodies back after years of substance abuse.


Our neurofeedback process uses real-time brain imaging to allow participants to visualize their mental functioning. These displays are powerful tools in promoting self-regulation of physical and emotional trauma responses.

Rhetorical Letters

Often, life events like sexual assault, domestic violence, and physical abuse leave victims with emotions they cannot safely express. Through rhetorical (unsent) letters, residents are able to speak their minds and convey their feelings about what has happened to them.

NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM)

This new treatment model is a blend of developmental research and neuroscience. It provides a conduit for the resolution of relational, developmental, and attachment trauma.

Seeking Safety

This approach represents the first empirically studied integrative treatment approach for substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Through Seeking Safety groups, residents develop new, healthy coping skills related to these diagnoses.

Shame Resilience Therapy (SRT)

Created by Brené Brown, this modality helps trauma survivors to develop a natural resilience to the feeling of shame through deep connection with themselves and others.

Trauma Eggs and Timelines

In these exercises, residents are asked to list the painful events that have occurred throughout their lives, which advances the goal of identifying the harmful beliefs created by these events.

Inner Child Work and Inner Critic Work

Introspection and self-reflection are key pillars of recovery. Caring for our younger selves and addressing the negative voices in our heads are the bases of these trauma therapies.

Experiential Therapy

For some, sitting and talking about their feelings is difficult. Augustine Recovery offers a variety of experiential therapies designed to help residents tap into and express their emotions in innovative ways.

Family Therapy and Family Intensive Weekends

Finally, we involve the entire family unit in each resident’s treatment. This helps everyone to understand the impact that addiction and trauma have had on each member of the family – not just the addict themselves. In this way, everyone can begin doing the work of recovery.

The Link Between Trauma and Addiction

If you have read the above list, you may wonder why these various trauma therapies are necessary. Put simply, treatment is not one-size-fits-all. Furthermore, it is impossible to separate trauma from addiction. These two states go hand in hand. Consider that…

People with a history of trauma are at higher risk of substance abuse.

Research shows that trauma of any type – large or small – can result in negative symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, heightened tension, and anxiety. Some people may attempt to dull those symptoms with drug or alcohol use. Over time, this poor coping mechanism leads to a physical and psychological dependency.

Those who are dependent on substances are more likely to experience traumatic events.

When a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their inhibitions are lowered. They may make decisions that are risky or uncharacteristic. When these choices involve unsafe interactions with others, driving under the influence, or other dangerous behaviors, the chance for trauma is heightened. Additionally, the very experience of addiction is traumatic. “Going to any lengths” for one’s next drink or dose often unravels relationships, encourages harmful actions, and puts a person in a vulnerable position.

A Safe Place to Heal

At Augustine Recovery, we understand what it takes to recover from trauma – we’ve done it ourselves. Our clinicians go the extra mile by tailoring trauma therapies to each person’s needs, ensuring that each resident receives effective treatment.

To learn more about our approach to trauma-first treatment, please contact Augustine Recovery today. Our compassionate admissions team members are standing by to answer all of your questions.