TIR, or Traumatic Incident Reduction, is a systematic method of locating, reviewing and resolving traumatic events.
Once a person has used TIR to fully and calmly view a painful memory or a web of related memories, life events no longer trigger it and cause distressing symptoms.
TIR has proven useful in relieving a wide range of fears, limiting beliefs, suffering due to losses (including unresolved grief and mourning), depression, and other
PTSD symptoms. The TIR technique, though directive, can be traced to roots in psychoanalytic theory and desensitization methods; however, it is carried out in a thoroughly person-centered, non-judgmental and non-evaluative context.
This month's art
Now and Then, oil on canvas, 54" x 40"
© Donna Ciaciarella
The idea of emotional trauma being curable has only
recently been considered by leading traumatologists. In May of 1993, Charles Figley
and Joyce Carbonell convened a seminar and informal research study at Florida State University. The invited participants were innovators in the field who were successfully treating emotional trauma.
The panel members 1 included Dr. Frank Gerbode and Gerald French, who spoke on the treatment paradigm know as Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR).
Since that time, thousands of people suffering traumatic
sequelae have resolved their residual pain, suffering, anguish and grief with the benefit and efficacy of therapeutic techniques used in the clinical practice of Traumatic Incident Reduction.
Treatment for PTSD, Trauma,
Depression, Anxiety, Grief, Loss,
& Other Related Conditions
[Editor's Note]: One of the other "presenters" at this seminar and research study was Francine Shapiro, who developed EMDR - also known as "Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing". Although EMDR has obtained much more notoriety - with many more peer-reviewed clinical studies - than TIR, we have found that - in the field - TIR compares equally with EMDR regarding efficacy, and is often-times preferred as the treatment of choice for the rapid resolution of trauma. Many health professionals have been trained in TIR as well as EMDR, and these therapists more often than not conclude that they are grateful to have both EMDR and TIR in their psychotherapeutic armamentarium. Although there are some similarities between EMDR and TIR, there are also significant differences. We hope to eventually present here on this website a summary of such, as well as to have more references to clinical research studies regarding TIR. In the meantime, we welcome you to contact our Senior TIR Trainer, Gerald French - co-author with Dr. Chrys Harris of the definitive book and training manual, "Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)" as part of Dr. Charles Figley's and CRC Press' "Innovations in Psychology" series - to elaborate on this.
Some Comments from Others about Traumatic Incident Reduction :
"I sought training in TIR after reading promising anecdotes of therapeutic
results in Interpsych's Traumatic Stress mailing list. I have an interest in
treating the consequences of trauma: many of the patients referred to my
private psychiatric practice suffer from various post-traumatic syndromes. I
was also interested in learning more about TIR because, coming from a
cognitive-behavioural background, I've had a keen interest in theories of the
underlying mechanism of desensitisation of traumatic memories.
TIR made sense as a straightforward exposure method, yet nonetheless was apparently capable of dealing with very complex material. The opportunity to learn more about TIR came when Gerald French visited Sydney in 1998 to run a TIR Level 1 Workshop, which I was fortunate to attend. Subsequently I've used TIR in my
private psychiatric practice for about a year.
Does the promise of accounts I read on the Traumatic Stress mailing list and on the TIR web site live up to expectations? Overall I'd have to say "yes". I've had outcomes which I cannot describe as other than brilliant. I've had patients with a history of little apparent benefit from years of psychotherapy, in whom TIR sessions over several months led to major changes in their level of functioning and quality of life experience. I've found TIR a useful adjunct to other psychotherapies, with its power to effectively resolve painful memories.
I eagerly await publication of controlled trials of TIR in peer-reviewed journals in order that this powerful and elegantly simple method of exposure treatment for traumatic memories can start to become more widely known and practiced. I strongly recommend TIR as a useful new strategy to add to one's therapeutic armamentarium."
Michael S. Armstrong, MD, FRC Psych
President, Institute of Australasian Psychiatrists
"The most thorough and reliable approach to the resolution of both longstanding and recent disaster PTSD currently in use is Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR), a guided cognitive imagery procedure developed by Frank Gerbode, M.D. (1989), Gerald French and others. A highprecision
refinement of earlier cognitive desensitization procedures, TIR effectively resolves the outstanding trauma of the majority of the PTSD clients with whom it is used when carried out according to its strict guidelines.
TIR appears to be more efficient and more effective than other cognitiveimagery or desensitization procedures, as such procedures frequently focus mainly (and most often incompletely) on secondary episodes. By tracing each traumatic reaction to its original or primary trauma(ta) and by taking each primary trauma to its full resolution or procedural "end point" at one sitting (a crucial requirement), the TIR process leaves clients observably relieved, often smiling, and no longer committed to their previously errant cognitions.
At that point, the traumatic incidents, their associated irrational ideation, and consequent PTSD have been fully handled, and clients are able to reengage
life comfortably in ways they might not have been able to do since their original traumata."
Robert H. Moore, Ph.D., C.T.S., B.C.E.T.S.
"In the early 90's, my Practice involved 70 hours/week of face-to-face
psychotherapy in which the number of my clients/patients with trauma-related matters was growing alarmingly. Through increasing medical referrals, my practice was progressively becoming unmanageable, and I began to seek more efficient ways of dealing with trauma.
By chance, I came across an article written by Dr. Robert Moore of Florida, extolling
the virtues of a new approach to resolving trauma known as Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR). Unable to get support from my colleagues to bring a trainer in TIR out to Australia, I went to Menlo Park in 1994 to train at Moore's recommendation with Gerald French, the most experienced trainer in and along with Frank Gerbode, MD, and others, one of the developers of this new method.
The results I have obtained since returning to Australia with this innovative
therapy are nothing short of miraculous. TIR has done nothing to reduce my workload, but it has increased my efficiency enormously. My trauma-related patients now number something like 45/week, up from the 20 or so that I was seeing at the time I went to California, and at the same time TIR has, in fact, enabled me to produce better, faster, and much more thorough results in dealing with trauma and related matters than have any other techniques at my disposal. Quite fantastic, really. More than worth every bit of the time and expense involved in traveling
to America for the training."
Alex D. Frater
Certified Trauma Specialist
"I first came across Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) on the Internet in the late months of 1997. I had been researching various concepts of traumatic bereavement, had read some insightful papers by two of the leading researchers on childhood trauma (Bruce Perry and Bessel van der Kolk) and was deeply involved in correspondence with Dr. Holly Prigerson at the Yale School of Biomedicine and Dr. Katherine Shear of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic concerning their theories and research into what was then being termed Traumatic
Truth be told, what I was really engaging in was an attempt to find a path towards my own healing; towards ending the pain, confusion, and uncertainty that had kept my true sense of myself, my abilities, my fulfillment and any real pleasure in life at bay for the previous forty years.
Several days before my forty-seventh birthday, I embarked on a course of TIR one that led me, in a matter of a very few days, to a place of complete resolution and to a kind of peace I had never before experienced. The experience enabled me to effect changes in my self and my perception of the world that I and those who know me well have had no hesitation in labeling dramatic.
I employ the term "dramatic" in full awareness of the fact that its use may engender a certain skepticism among therapists jaded by anecdote. So be it. I could find no better word in Webster's Second Edition, unabridged, which defines it as: "of, or pertaining to, the drama; vivid; expressed with action," and of drama: "a composition, usually in prose, arranged for enactment and intended to portray
the life of a character, or to tell a story, with dialogue tending toward some result."
The process of Traumatic Incident Reduction contains all of these elements. It allows one to tell one's "story"... to reenact it; to compose a dialogue with oneself that seemed inevitably, to me, to lead to a very significant result: the action of
the "drama" resolving into a much-desired outcome. In my case, the outcome has been healing, peace, satisfaction, fulfillment, and the cessation of often unbearable pain and distress."
Excerpted from the Foreword to the book, "Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)",
by Gerald French and Chrys Harris
"TIR is a wonderful blend of a combination imaginal exposure therapy and Rogerian work that is well-supported in the field. The beauty of it is that it is a self-directed flooding technique that is well-tolerated by Vietnam vets [and others] with authority problems, and it has changed significantly the way I do therapy."
Kenneth Green, Ph.D.
Vet Center Team Leader
"When I arrived at Job Service in Lewiston, Idaho, back in April of 1985, there were in excess of 150 disabled veterans on the rolls, seeking employment. I worked with those people up until the time that I went to California to receive my TIR training, and so we had close to five years that I worked very hard with those folks to put 'em to work and keep 'em in jobs. I would say at the time that I went to
California, I still had a hundred and twenty of those people on the roles, seeking employment.
With the skills learned through TIR training - and I'm talking the one-week, forty hour intensive course that Gerald French gave me - I would estimate that I have worked with close to sixty of those people, anywhere from two hours to twenty hours, max, the average probably running closer to 14 or 15 hours. And out of those 60 people that I worked with on TIR, I had two - that's one, two! - left on the roles, seeking employment, when I left Idaho for Germany three weeks ago."
Lt. Col Chris Christensen (Ret.)
Just two weeks before he was to join us as one of the principal
speakers at the European Conference on Metapsychology in Munich, Lt. Col. Chris Christensen (Ret.) died suddenly and unexpectedly. Chris trained with us in Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) in 1989, subsequently devoting hundreds of hours of his own time to working with fellow combat vets, their families, and other
trauma survivors, to take away their pain.
His body failed while he pursued the duties of his formal work, arranging for the transshipment of humanitarian aid to the desperate peoples of Eastern Europe. His death occurred in Germany on the morning of October 29th, 1992, and was of "natural" causes, if such a word can be employed to describe the loss of this kind and gifted man to whom so many grateful people surrendered so much hurt.
- Gerald French