Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy


By Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT

Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy

What is TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy?

Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) is a new method of psychotherapy that was developed by Dr. Frank Gerbode, a California psychiatrist. TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy is a procedure that allows a person to desensitize painful experiences and reduce or eliminate the negative impact of traumatic, overwhelming events.

How effective is TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy?

TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy has been shown to be highly effective in easing the pain of intense emotional experiences and in resolving related mental and emotional stresses with a wide range of people. TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy's effectiveness has been illustrated in a number of research studies (Bisbey, 1995; Figley, in press; Figley & Carbonell, 1995; Gerbode, French & Bisbey, 1993; Gerbode, French & Van Aggelen, 1990). Research results indicate that TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy is more effective than Direct Therapeutic Exposure, which is the most well-researched treatment among traditional methods for dealing with traumas (Bisbey, 1995).

How does TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy help people who have had painful or overwhelming experiences?

When a person has a traumatic experience the mind-body system becomes overwhelmed. The mind begins to block-out the event in an attempt to moderate the pain. Then, there is a need to continue keeping the painful memories and associations blocked-out of consciousness. This is because the painful event has not been adequately processed. Since the mind never processed and defused the experience it remains raw and sensitive. Anything that reminds a person of such a painful experience then reactivates the pain that is connected to it. This is like knocking the scab off a wound. What is needed in such a situation is not further avoidance but some means by which the overly sensitive experience can be desensitized. When the sensitivity and pain ease then healing can take place. The mind can review and reprocess the event. It can gain new perspectives, awareness, insight and at times bring new meaning to the experience. This is the goal of TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy. This process can help people resolve their traumas and regain the comfort that they had prior to their traumatic events.

How does TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy work?

TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy involves a very specific but fairly simple procedure that helps people resolve painful incidents. The first step is to identify a traumatic incident. Next, we identify when it happened, how long it lasted and where you were at the time. Then you will be asked to imagine going to the start of that incident. The starting point is that moment just before the upsetting event began. Once at the starting point you will close your eyes, report what you are aware of and then imagine moving through the incident until it is over. At the end of the incident you will open your eyes and report what happened as you moved through it.

After the therapist makes a few notes about what you experienced, you will be asked to repeat the process of going back to the beginning of the incident, moving through it in your mind to the end and reporting what happened. You will repeat this process of reviewing the incident multiple times (often 5 to 25). With each subsequent reviewing:

- you will notice or remember different things,
- you may release pint-up emotions,
- your feelings and sensations will start to change,
- the incident will become less disturbing
- you'll gain a deeper insight into the experience
- and ultimately you may revise the meaning associated with the event.

This method of reviewing the trauma facilitates the mind to desensitize the pain, reprocess the event and enables you to move toward recovery. By the end of the process you should be able to talk about the incident and either feel completely comfortable or much improved.

TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy can also be used to work with a general theme such as "feeling emotionally abandoned". In thematic TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy, incidents related to the theme are identified and resolved one by one until you work your way back to the root or core incident. Once the core incident and anything else that triggers the pain are treated, the theme no longer has power over your life. TIR Traumatic Incident Reduction Therapy is a proven method for bring relief and healing.

Please note that Steve B. Reed has retired from the treatment of trauma patients.

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