Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

McAllister, Carolyn


The focus of this qualitative, exploratory research project will be holistic treatments for clients with trauma and substance use. The researchers hypothesize that some of the most effective treatments incorporate the five virtues of compassion, cultural sensitivity, community, competency, and client-centeredness. Another important element which these researchers have identified is honoring the mind-body-spirit connection in helping clients heal from trauma and substance use. These researchers conceptualize an effective treatment for clients with trauma and substance use as what we call The Medicine of Unifying. Incorporating the five virtues, we hypothesize that The Medicine of Unifying can be achieved by uniting people through community, uniting the elements of mind-body-spirit within each person, and unifying these outer and inner worlds of experience. This research was conducted through interviews with helping professionals who work with clients with trauma and substance use. Interviews were conducted with a high degree of confidentiality, and will be conducted virtually to protect all who are involved in the project from the current COVID-19 pandemic. The findings of this study indicated that holistic practices including mindfulness and trauma-informed care have been shown to be beneficial when working with clients with substance use and trauma. In addition, the study highlighted the importance of providing holistic approaches to care that are egalitarian, both in terms client-relationship, honoring the mind-body-sprit connection, and in connecting to larger systems of support.