Edythe (Dee) Dunn, MA, LPC +

When it's time to grow

Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)

Traumatic Incident Reduction: a short-term, one-on-one, non-hypnotic, person-centered, highly structured, yet simple method for addressing the emotional and psychological effects of past traumas or emotionally charged memories.

How it works: Much research is being conducted to more fully understand how the brain stores and uses highly charged emotional material. What is known is that the TIR process has proven highly effective in addressing and resolving most of the symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other unwanted effects of trauma.

The emotional pain of a trauma can be similar to physical pain in that it acts as a signal that something has occurred that needs to be paid attention to, or fixed. Unresolved issues can become chronic emotional triggers – a viewer can react to a situation and not even realize why or what caused the reaction. In fact what triggers an incident may, on the surface, have no apparent connection to any known upset or event. People are amazingly adept at finding ways to suppress and stuff down their hurts in life and while this does ease the pain at the moment, it may set the stage for later problems, when the pain will demand to be attended to and fixed.

Using a special, structured process of questions or directions provided by the facilitator, the viewer reviews an incident, exploring and examining every aspect of the incident, in a systematic and thorough way. In this way, previously unrecognized “links” between the trauma and other events (such as cognitive events like decisions or choices) are uncovered and processed in a way which releases the emotional charge that signals something is in need of attention or fixing.

Types of Intervention: There are three different types of interventions that may be used to process a specific traumatic event, Basic TIR, Thematic TIR, and Unblocking.  TIR also offered a plethora of techniques that can be utilized to process patterns or layers that we formulate to deal with difficult relationships or chronic situations.

Basic TIR is used to process and remove the emotional charge from a known traumatic incident. Crisis points in life are often burned into our memory and may be replayed over and over, or re-triggered by other events that somehow remind us of that original event. Basic TIR is used to uncover and process the root incident (the one that triggers all subsequent incidents) so that the viewer can “disconnect” their emotions and remove the emotional charge from that root incident.

Thematic TIR is used to process a theme – a feeling, emotion, sensation, attitude or pain - that acts as an emotional trigger. There may not be a known root incident but the impact of the trigger is nonetheless causing upset and disruption in the viewer’s life. Typically, thematic TIR connects us back through events that are linked by a common emotional or self-perception; the benefit comes from tracing back a perception to an event where we made a decision or a choice that affected us at our very foundation. Once uncovered, the decision can be reviewed, corrected, changed, modified or grown to a new level of functioning.

Unblocking is used to fully explore an emotionally charged situation or incident in order to gain insight. Typically, unblocking is used for subjects or situations that are not considered traumas in the usual sense, but are currently triggering a strong response – such a situation at work, family member’s behavior, or any topic that might capture the attention of the participant (viewer).

Unblocking helps a viewer look at the topic from many different directions by asking a series of questions about the subject or situation. The questions may be asked one or more times, until everything the viewer wants to say about the topic has been said. Several different Unblocking techniques may be used over a series of sessions to make sure all the emotional charge has been removed from a topic, and that healing and growth has occurred.

Sometimes things happen on the way to the therapy office, such as observing an accident, getting a ticket, hearing a news report, etc. that causes a distraction from the other TIR work planned to be done in that session. Unblocking can be used to process this intrusion and prepare the viewer to do the other necessary work.

There are other things you need to know about using TIR to resolve trauma: 

One of the reasons that traditional methods of therapy may not work to resolve traumatic events is the fact that the session is not long enough to completely process the material that is explored. In a 50 minute session, the person opens the issue and then, becuase of time constraints, leaves the office before the issue is resolved. Research results suggest that this actually reactivates the trauma over and over and may increase the traumatic reaction instead of decreasing it.

In order to make sure this does not occur when doing TIR, the sessions are open ended – you finish when you have fully processed the material at hand. Typically a session may take from 1.5 to 3 hours; in some situations, they may go longer. You and the facilitator will know when you are finished because you will reach an “End Point” – signaled by one or more signs of emotional relief. End points can be dramatic or more subtle; they may result in an immediate shift from negative to neutral or even positive emotion or may create a sense of resolution or positive change that grows more apparent over time.  Either way, you can expect a shift - in your thoughts and feelings about the event you were processing, and/or in your body as you recall the event.  Often people who started the session with strong emotion end the session amazed at their sense of relief.  It is not unusual for people to report "AHA" experiences, or personal discoveries that bring them profound relief from memories that had bothered them for years.

The longer session format required by TIR may or may not be approved by your insurance company; check with your policy before making any assumptions (and appointments). If they do not cover the additional time, you may make arrangements to pay for sessions that are not covered by your insurer. You may also choose to pay “out-of-pocket” for this type of therapy to get long-standing issues resolved. Getting to the bottom of an issue may not be easy, but trying to ignore the issues can cost a lot more than money.

It is important that you be physically prepared for a session: if you are sleepy, hungry, under that influence of certain medications or drugs, or emotionally “on-edge” it may prevent you from effectively working in that session and so prevent you from reaching your most positive end point. You will be asked about your readiness for a session before you begin; if there is any indication that you are not fully ready your facilitator may reschedule your session for another time.

A Basic or Thematic TIR session is likely to be emotional, because you will be reviewing events that caused you pain, anger, sadness, or fear in the first place. However, by examining and processing all aspects of the event and what you have associated with that event, what was hidden or unprocessed will be completed and no longer “active”. The end result will be removing a trigger that has been causing continued pain and upset. Unlike other traditional 50-minute therapy sessions, a TIR session continues until the viewer has completed the process with regard to the event being examined. Although the memory of the event will still be there, the emotional charge to that event will have been “unplugged” in that session, and the memory will no longer have the power over you it once had.

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