When a traumatic life event happens to us — a death in the family, a divorce, or being the victim of a crime, for example — there is often a desire to bury or suppress this negative experience. Ironically, that burying of trauma only leads to greater emotional and psychological problems, including increased risk of substance abuse.
Many clients at American Addiction Centers first turned to drugs or alcohol as a way to escape from difficult memories or numb the pain associated with them. For these clients, achieving a successful recovery requires taking a fresh look at past traumatic events, and learning to reprocess those events in a healthier way.
Traumatic Incident Reduction therapy, or TIR, is a highly successful technique that our counselors use with clients who have suffered significant trauma in the past. TIR is a relatively new method of psychotherapy that was first developed by Dr. Frank Gerbode, a California psychiatrist.
TIR works to alleviate the effects of trauma by having the client repeatedly “view” the traumatic event as if they were watching a video. The goal is to replay the incident enough times so that the client no longer has negative emotions associated with it.
Much of TIR is repeated verbal exercises that help the client to focus on — and therefore process — the past traumatic experience. It is only when a memory is fully processed that it becomes finalized in our minds, and we are able to move past it.