Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) is an evidence-based intervention for resolving traumatic memories and ending the flow of symptoms. To understand how this is effective, it is necessary to know how memory is ordinarily processed and how that process is interrupted during traumatic events.
Recent research, including PET scans of individuals experiencing traumatic event triggers has shown that traumatic memories are formed when the brain defers routine memory processing during times of traumatic stress. Normally, the amygdala collects all of our incoming experience through at least 26 different senses, many largely unconscious, assigns emotions (decides how we should feel about what’s happening right now), and it then dialogs with the hippocampus, which creates conscious memories, connected to our other memories, with a clear place in our past. When the brain responds to a perceived threat to survival, the normal processing of experience into conscious memory in the hippocampus is suspended, however briefly, as the Amygdala focuses exclusively on survival. Often, we may spontaneously talk about the disturbing incident over several days, or even weeks, until it no longer distresses us. During this time, the hippocampus has completed the deferred processing and the memory is like any other memory and no longer traumatic. Unfortunately, in many instances, we don’t spontaneously process the memory for a variety of reasons. It remains unconscious, to be periodically triggered, producing unwanted symptoms. Over time, more and more of an individual’s everyday life can become a trigger for these unconscious responses, creating ever more intrusive and debilitating symptoms.
TIR completes the processing of a traumatic memory in a very systematic and reliable manner. It does this in untimed sessions, in settings of complete safety, using strict rules of facilitation and by a facilitator who has mastered a specific communication discipline. The process is not psychotherapy, and does not involve evaluating, judging or advising the viewer(individual receiving the session). In facilitating, the viewer is informed of exactly what will take place, what questions and prompts will be used, told to expect strong emotion and to expect a great deal of repetition. During this process, the activated and largely unconscious memory completes processing in the hippocampus, now fully available to the amygdala, until all details are processed into normal, conscious memory and connected to other memories. This allows the viewer to understand both what happened, and any decisions or insights that may have flowed from what happened. Once this occurs, the viewer is said to have reached an end point with regard to this incident and no significant emotional charge remains to be ‘triggered’ in the future. This ends the flow of symptoms with regard to the memory of this incident. A typical session may run from 45 minutes to 3 hours, but on average takes about an hour and a half.
This intervention has been used successfully and reliably for at least 30 years. From 1995 to 2017, Teresa’s agency, the Trauma Resolution Center has helped over 14,000 individuals from over 80 countries with virtually every conceivable form of traumatic experience to recover fully from their intrusive memories. This has been documented from the inception by pre and post testing each client with validated western measures for PTSD, Depression and Anxiety. Several university partners have worked with the data and two PhDs have been awarded based on research using this data. Their findings are, that on average after 20-25 hours of individual sessions, clients with complex trauma histories no longer meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD, Depression or Anxiety and recover their ability to function and to enjoy life. With the insertion of additional testing at 6 hours of individual sessions, it was discovered that many, at that point no longer met diagnostic criteria and required no additional services.