Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR)

Traumatic incident reduction is a brief, one-on-one, person-centered, simple and highly structured method for permanently eliminating the negative effects of past traumas. It involves repeated viewing of a traumatic memory under conditions designed to enhance safety and minimize distractions. The client does all the work; the therapist or counselor offers no interpretations or negative or positive evaluations, but only gives appropriate instructions to the client to have him view a traumatic incident thoroughly from beginning to end. Hence, we use the term “viewer” to describe the client and “facilitator” to describe the person who is helping the client through the procedure by keeping the structure of the session intact and giving the viewer something definite to do at all times. The facilitator confines herself simply to giving a series of set instructions to the viewer; she offers no advice, interpretations, evaluations, or reassurances.

The viewer locates a specific trauma that he is interested in working on — one with a specific, finite duration. Then he treats the incident like a “videotape”. First, he “rewinds” it to the beginning, then “plays” it through to the end — without talking about it while he is viewing it. After he has viewed it, the facilitator then asks him what happened, and he can then describe the event or his reactions to going through it.

After the viewer has completed one review (and one description), the facilitator has him “rewind the videotape” to the beginning and run through it again in the same fashion. The facilitator does not prescribe the degree of detail, sensory modalities, or content the viewer is to get on each run-through. The viewer will view as much as he is relatively comfortable viewing. After several run-throughs, most viewers will become more courageous, contacting the emotion and uncomfortable details more and more thoroughly. Typically, the viewer will reach an emotional peak after a few run-throughs and then, on successive run-throughs, the amount of negative emotion will diminish, until the viewer reaches a point of having no negative emotion about the incident. Instead, he becomes rather thoughtful and contemplative, and usually comes up with one or more insights — often major- concerning the trauma, life, or himself. He displays positive emotion, often smiling or laughing, but at least manifesting calm and serenity. At this point, the viewer has reached an “end point” and the facilitator stops the TIR procedure.

A TIR session is not ended until the viewer reaches an end point and feels good. This may take anywhere from a few minutes to 3-4 hours. Average session time for a new viewer is about 90 minutes. Average total session hours to eliminate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder is 15 (usually about 10 sessions).