The TRC model acknowledges the relationship between trauma, substance use, and other unhealthy coping behaviors, and does not require abstinence from substances as a precondition to enter services. Instead, the Clinician integrates substance abuse interventions with psychotherapy, case management, and the rest of the TRC care. Substance abuse treatment comes from a Harm Reduction stance and emphasizes Motivational Interviewing. A Harm Reduction approach is used, accepting clients where they are while recognizing the need to help clients identify or learn healthier ways of coping that increase their ability to participate in and benefit from treatment. Clinicians will also help clients link to higher levels of treatment, such as medical detox or residential programs, when needed.
Clients can benefit from participating in both TRC services and externally-provided substance abuse treatment simultaneously. clients have pre-existing and co-occurring substance use problems that put them at risk for being victimized, and also function to self-medicate trauma-related symptoms. Some clients who did not have substance problems before may turn to alcohol and other drugs to medicate themselves for trauma-related symptoms.