Traumatic experiences are often sudden, one-time incidents, such as a car accident, natural disaster, or school shooting. Other traumas may occur over a longer period of time, such as a lengthy illness, financial difficulties, or domestic abuse.
While some people can recover from trauma without long-lasting effects, many others develop mental-health symptoms that can last for years. There are several therapeutic approaches for addressing trauma, such as Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) therapy.
What is Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)?
TIR is a form of psychotherapy first developed in the 1980s by California psychiatrist Dr. Frank Gerbode. TIR is meant to help a person become desensitized to painful experiences, which can reduce or eliminate their negative impact.
TIR is a rapid treatment method, compared to more traditional psychotherapy. This method involves a client re-experiencing their past trauma in a safe, judgment-free environment, without distractions or subjective interpretations.
In general, TIR is delivered in one-on-one sessions between the client and a trained facilitator. These sessions are usually weekly sessions of 60-90 minutes in length. The number of sessions depend on the individual client.
The idea behind TIR is that, when a person experiences a physical or emotional trauma, they can either fully confront and experience it, or try to block it from their awareness. When the person faces the incident and does not try to escape the negative effects or emotions involved, then the event is “completed” and it becomes part of their past.
However, if the person tries to block the experience, or repress it, the incident cannot be “completed” and becomes a kind of “unfinished business” that continues to have negative effects. In this case, the person’s existence can become too tied up in the past, preventing them from fully experiencing the present.
With TRI, the person can enter a “safe space” in which they can more fully examine and experience the incident that they had previously blocked. This way, they can release their resistance to it, as well as the negative emotions and thought patterns associated with it. Thus, the traumatic incident is “completed” and no longer affects the present.
Who benefits most from TIR?
Clients who are aware of a specific, traumatic event and how it has affected them are the most likely to benefit from TIR. However, it may also help individuals who experience unwanted emotions, sensations, or attitudes without knowing what specific traumas may have caused them. TIR may also help treat addiction, though this application requires further research.
When fully completed, TRI has been able to eliminate symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for many clients. They also may gain new, helpful insights of their own, and even increase their quality of life.
One study conducted in the Tallahassee Federal Correction Institute in Florida examined the effectiveness of TIR in 123 female inmates who had experienced interpersonal violence. Participants who were assigned to TIR experienced a statistically significant decrease in symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety, compared to the control group.
Demand for behavioral health services are on the rise, and current events may lead to an increase in trauma that will further drive individuals to seek mental health care. Whether you provide services that address PTSD, substance misuse, ADHD, depression, or other behavioral health needs, BestNotes offers EHR solutions that help you save time, stay profitable, and improve client outcomes. Contact us today to learn how our customizable solutions can fit your practice’s workflow.