[Definitions: Triggering or reactivation takes place when something happens to remind us, whether we are aware of it or not, of a past trauma. Deactivation occurs when, because of the passage of time, a change of environment or some other reason, a triggered past trauma or sequence of traumas becomes inactive.]
Deactivation is different from discharge. If a trauma is fully discharged, it can no longer be reactivated because it is no longer traumatic. On the other hand, if a trauma is only deactivated, the person may feel relieved but the trauma can be reactivated later on and can then affect the person as strongly as ever..
The Value of Facing a Traumatic Memory Head-On
To ask someone to face a traumatic memory head-on, we need to establish a number of things first. Is the person:
- In a good condition physically, well fed and well rested?
- Emotionally ready, willing and able to face the trauma?
- Mentally able to focus and to stay with the work long enough to get a good result?
- Feeling secure in a safe space to do this work, free from distractions*, free of judgment or interpretations from the practitioner?
Once we have someone who is well informed as to the nature of Traumatic Incident Reduction and willing or even eager to face a trauma that is holding them back, the amazing work of TIR can begin. It is often less scary or painful than we may have expected. Consider this: a traumatic memory is of an event that we did live through. It did not kill us at the time, no matter how bad it was, and it will not kill us now.
Client and practitioner have the same aim: the resolution of the traumatic memory or sequence of memories…
* Crisis TIR, done in field conditions with crisis responders, done by experienced, fully trained practitioners. may bend a few of these rules at times.
Older forms of treatment or therapy have tended to skirt around the edges of traumatic memories, rather than tackling them directly. This approach can have the effect of actually making that memory seem more potent and scary. The truth is, it is kinder to let a client (one who is ready, as noted above), face that memory in a structured way in a safe space than it is to avoid going to the heart of the matter.
There is a particular kind of relief that comes with facing something painful directly. TIR allows us enough time to finish the task of completely viewing a trauma to the point where it no longer bothers us, all in one session. This is far less pain and effort than we get from exerting effort to try to hold off such a memory and to try to keep it from affecting us.
Some traumas are complex enough so that we need to take them apart into separate pieces and address each one, each to its own end point (point of resolution), until all aspects have been successfully addressed.
If the job is well and completely done, a traumatic memory no longer has any force. Once it has no power left, it cannot be triggered again. Another benefit is that drops out of the whole network of traumatic events we may have experienced, along with all the triggering events that have occurred when we felt pain as a result of being reminded of a trauma. By systematically reducing the pain from traumatic memories with TIR, one by one, we are lightening someone’s load significantly.
Compare that with the strategy of tiptoeing around the edges of traumatic memories and never letting the person come to grips with them.
Delve into this treasury of articles and case stories about Traumatic Incident Reduction and its many applications. Hear from a philosopher (Dr. Frank A. Gerbode, the founder of TIR), from therapists, researchers, educators, and from people who have experienced benefits from TIR and related techniques. This is a book you can dip into as your interest leads you, or read cover-to-cover, as you wish.
Late September brought the annual TIR Association Symposium, where practitioners of TIR and related Applied Metapsychology Techniques gather to works and study together. Speakers shared knowledge from their fields of expertise, including the use of TIR:
- in crime-ridden areas
- with crisis responders
- with transgender persons
- and much more
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