Traumatic Incident Reduction

Authors' Statement about the book
Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)


Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR): French and Harris describe a clear, person-centered view of the way out of the aftermath of trauma into relief, insight, resolution, and personal growth. Based on concepts long familiar to the profession, TIR and its unique protocols represent nonetheless an entirely new and dramatically effective approach from which to view and address trauma-related conditions as well as many other less obviously trauma-related symptoms and conditions, including adjustment disorders, acute stress, traumatic bereavement, anxiety and somatization disorders, sexual abuse, and phobias. Aimed very much at the needs of the practitioner, the book includes an excellent overview of TIR, as well as a full explanation of the TIR procedure itself and a number of detailed and fascinating session transcriptions. The authors also devote considerable and important space to precise explication of the particular protocols and careful management of communication necessary during sessions in order to render TIR and related procedures fully effective. Finally, there are chapters devoted to contraindications and to a tool the authors call, after Gerbode, "Unblocking" - a powerful and extremely useful adjunct to the TIR procedure.

About the Authors

Gerald French received his undergraduate degree at Harvard University. Together with Frank A. Gerbode, M.D., he founded the Institute for Research in Metapsychology (IRM), later renamed the Traumatic Incident Reduction Association (TIRA). He gave the first-ever TIR workshop and has taught TIR to more students than anyone else in the world. He continues to give workshops regularly. He is currently pursuing a second master's degree in counseling psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California.

Chrys Harris received his B.S. in psychology from Wofford College and his master's from Wake Forest University. After working as a school psychologist, he joined the Veterans Administration, counseling Vietnam veterans and their families about combat-related traumas. He studied PTSD with Charles Figley at Purdue University, where he received his Ph.D., and did post-doctoral therapy training at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. He utilizes TIR in his private practice as a marriage and family therapist.



We have written this book for therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and other helpers. Our hope is that the work will serve as a practical introduction to a particularly rational and powerful treatment paradigm, one that shows promise of being extremely effective across quite a broad perspective of client-presenting situations. The approach in question - Traumatic Incident Reduction, or TIR - is particularly notable for endowing the therapist using it with the ability to support clients in coming to terms with and growing beyond post-traumatic effects that seem unresponsive to other traditional therapies. TIR as a therapeutic tool lends itself perhaps most readily to the resolution of the residual emotional effects of known traumatic experiences: rape, combat, CSA, natural disasters and the like. For this reason, we have chosen to dwell largely on its use with survivors of such incidents. Despite this fact, however, we urge readers not to overlook the "Thematic" TIR's potential in addressing and resolving a great many other client problems as well.

We have attempted with this book to provide a more detailed and accessible reference manual than has been available for use until now for those working with TIR. Our hope is that the manual - for such is really what we hope it represents - will serve as both an introduction and as a practical reference to TIR.

The first description of TIR was contained in Frank Gerbode's book, Beyond Psychology: an Introduction to Metapsychology, published in 1988. Although we have drawn more than a little on that excellent study, our focus in this work has largely been a practical one. We encourage readers who wish to acquire a detailed understanding of the background and theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of TIR and related metapsychology-based procedures to consult that earlier volume.

We have withheld nothing we are aware of in the way of essential data concerning the TIR procedure and its competent administration, and an intelligent and caring reader might well encounter a significant - even remarkable - level of success in the use of TIR working only from this book. No book, however, can ever substitute for training with an experienced instructor. Responsible use of any non-trivial technique demands it, and should you decide to incorporate the approach into your repertoire, we urge that you seek out and attend a professional workshop. The present authors offer them, as do a number of other instructors certified by the Traumatic Incident Reduction Association (TIRA).



We dedicate this volume to the memory of Lt. Col. Chris Christensen (Ret). Chris was a kind, gifted, and truly remarkable man. He died suddenly and unexpectedly, at far too young an age, on the morning of October 29th, 1992, in the course of pursuing his formal duties, then in Europe, arranging for the transshipment of humanitarian aid desperately needed by the peoples of Eastern Europe following the breakup of the Soviet Union. We have quoted Chris throughout the book, and some of the ingenuous words with which he described his selfless work with TIR introduce each of the chapters of this book.

Chris was a student in the first-ever TIR Workshop, taught by French in 1989 at the Institute for Research in Metapsychology in Menlo Park, California. A veteran who had spent two years in combat in Vietnam, frequently involved in what were called "unconventional" solo operations, Chris had gone to work for the Idaho Department of Employment in Lewiston subsequent to his retirement from the army, coming eventually to work exclusively with jobless vets as a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist.

In the course of that work, he discovered post-traumatic stress disorder; and that his clients were not the only ones who had it, though his own symptoms did not prevent him from working full time. Chris heard about TIR and came to be trained in it in a roundabout fashion. To make a long story short, Chris came to California, learned TIR, and from then until the day he died, he employed it unselfishly, as a labor of love, with virtually every needing, hurting person he encountered. Given the nature of his chosen work, those folks were legion.

Of the period before he left for Europe, he later wrote, "When I arrived at Job Service in Lewiston, Idaho, back in April of 1985, there were in excess of one hundred and fifty 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 I would estimate that I have worked with close to sixty of those people, anywhere from two hours to twenty hours at the most, the average probably running around 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."

Christensen's unbridled enthusiasm for and delight in communicating about the power of the tool he had discovered were a constant source of inspiration to French, Gerbode, and others working with TIR and related techniques who, in their efforts to "spread the word" about these promising approaches, sometimes felt a bit like voices crying in the wilderness.