Traumatic Incident Reduction  

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"Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)"

by Gerald French and Chrys Harris

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Editorial Note by the Series Editor Professor Charles Figley, Director, Florida State University Psychosocial Stress Research Program and Clinical Lab; Editor, The International Electronic Journal Traumatology; Director, Green Cross Projects

Telling one's story, reenacting significant conflicts, and composing a dialogue with oneself lead to understanding about past events. This working through of troubling, distressful memories is the hallmark of effective psychotherapy. Creative literature is full of stories about emotional journeys of remembering, recovering new information, formulating new conclusions about the past, and, in doing so, acquiring a sense of peace and fulfillment. Psychologists have known for some time that bearing witness to the life experiences of a client is helpful.

Carl Rogers in the early 1940s was one of the first psychologists to challenge the theories of psychoanalysis and other interpretive and categorizing treatments. Rogers' non-directive therapy, through the unconditional positive regard for the client, became a major contribution to helping clients reach peace of mind. Rogerian counselors act more like companions and facilitators in the client's journey toward self-understanding and greater life satisfaction. Rogers believed that all creatures strive to make the very best of their existence. If they fail to do so, it is not for a lack of desire.

Rogerian therapists employ reflection. Reflection is the mirroring of emotional communication: If the client says, "I feel like dirt!", the Rogerian therapist may reflect this back to the client by saying something like "Seems like you feel that life's getting you down." In doing so, the therapist is trying to communicate to the client that she is listening and cares enough to understand. Reflection must come from the heart - it must be genuine, congruent. Too often, however, in an effort to reflect what the client was saying, the Rogerian therapist or facilitator has tended to direct the client to the therapist's world-view. It is difficult not to do so.

In conversations with both clients and friends, we interact. We give and take. Even when we attempt to remain neutral, we are not. In most instances, this is what is expected. Yet there is a very special population - those who suffer as a result of past experiences - which benefits most from being given the space to speak without evaluative interaction.

This is one of the major precepts of Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR). At no time during a session do the protocols of TIR permit the therapist/facilitator to interfere with the client's viewing of and report on the trauma being addressed - as by offering any sort of comment, leading question, interpretation, observation, suggestion or reflection. The intensity of the helper's interest is conveyed by listening alone, and by the simple acknowledgment that follows only upon the client's having said everything he/she had to say. The elegant simplicity of the TIR procedure itself is counterbalanced to a significant degree by the tightly focused interest and restraint that this approach demands of the therapist who would use it.

This book, "Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)", is the latest in the CRC Press Innovations in Psychology Series. The Series Editorial Board and I are quite pleased to offer this book to the field of psychology and to other professions who work with clients haunted by traumatic memories. We established the Series to stimulate innovation in the psychological sciences. Of special interest are the acute problems of traumatized clients.

In the first book in the series, "Burnout in Families: The Systemic Costs of Caring", family psychologists shared their findings and clinical innovations to help families struggling with secondary traumatic stress. In the second book of the Series, "Energy Psychology: Explorations at the Interface of Energy, Cognition, Behavior, and Health", we offered a new branch of psychology. It linked the current theories with the new paradigm of energy systems and their effects on emotions and behaviors. This included, but was not limited to the psychological effects of highly stressful events.

TIR offers a new way of approaching an old problem: how to resolve emotionally charged memories that surface in dreams, flashbacks, and behaviors or life patterns that the client finds debilitating. The old way involved analysis, reflection, or some other clinical technique that required the therapist to sort through what the client was saying and attempt to help the client reach insight. As you will see in the coming pages, TIR adopts the new paradigm of psychotherapy: it is brief, client-centered, client-paced. Its clinical successes are clearly defined: traumatic memories are cognitively reprocessed and the client is desensitized.

We urge readers to write the Editorial Board of the Innovations in Psychology Book Series. You can reach us through the publisher, CRC Press. We look forward to learning about your experiences in using TIR, suggestions for improving subsequent editions of this book, and ideas about books for the Series.

Charles R. Figley, Ph.D.
Series Editor
Academy of Traumatology
Green Cross Foundation
Tallahassee, Florida, USA


Reviews of the book, "Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)"

"TIR is unbelievably powerful. It not only eradicates the residual effects of specific traumata, it simply obliterates debilitating baggage of all sorts. Generations of clients-to-come will trace their restoration to wholeness to this profoundly important book by French and Harris. For its two chapters on the subtle dynamics of therapist-client communication alone, Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) should be required reading in helping professional curricula of every description."

"This book offers a new way to help victims and survivors of trauma. It presents a format to help them deal with the memories, thoughts, dreams, emotions, and avoidances that remain afterward. As the authors profess, this manual serves as a practical introduction to the Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) treatment paradigm in an accessible format. The practical nature and focus of this valuable volume is reinforced by the authors' delineation of the strict protocol and by their inclusion of the Rules of Facilitation. A well-done example of the authors' goal to 'Keep It Basic'."

"TIR is an essential addition to the therapeutic repertoire of anyone involved in helping relieve the distress of trauma, and French and Harris are deserving of praise for the effective and convincing job they have done of presenting it here.

Employing clear language and eloquent anecdotal descriptions of the tool in use, their work describes an approach to healing which, while it may well prove humbling to many therapists, is enormously empowering to the client/survivor.

Unlike some of the other recently developed Power Therapies , TIR is possessed of high face validity, firmly grounded as it is in philosophic basics familiar to any therapist. At the same time, in terms of application, efficacy, and outcome, it represents a radical departure from the past; in a great many instances, it can provide a dramatically potent alternative to traditional mainstream interventions - one whose results typically include major cognitive and behavioral shifts, are quickly achieved, and are seemingly quite stable and permanent in nature.

I suspect that the effectiveness of TIR may ultimately be shown to be linked to brain physiology not clearly understood at present. But whatever science may eventually determine to lie at the roots of TIR's effectiveness, I believe that if you work with trauma and its after-effects today, you have an ethical obligation to familiarize yourself with what is truly a revolutionary breakthrough in traumatic stress treatment."

Note: Many additional and more recent reviews of this book are available on Gerald French's Website !


How to order a copy of of the book, "Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)"

Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)  

"Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)", by Gerald French and Chrys Harris is published by CRC Press. You can order "Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)" via the Internet or by calling CRC Press at 1-800-272-7737

If you are calling CRC Press from within the continental US and Canada, please ask for Customer Service. Customers in Florida and outside of the continental US and Canada please call (561) 994-0555. You can also FAX in your order to: 1-800-374-3401.

This book is also available through Amazon.com.