Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 152 of 154 
Next page End Contents 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154  

Desensitization (chapter 12) 
Stress inoculation (chapter 12) 
Correct false beliefs (awfulizing) and develop healthy attitudes
(Rational-Emotional, determinism, optimism in chapter 14) 
In addition, some specialized therapy techniques have been
developed in the last decade or two to deal with the emotional
reactions lasting long after a trauma. Most have not, as yet, been
translated into self-help methods, but that is probably not far off. One
Reduction ( , which utilizes aspects
of exposure, desensitization, and non-directive counseling. The client
selects a specific traumatic incident that he/she wants to handle
better. The therapist simply asks the client to review, without
commenting, the event as though it were a videotape in his/her mind.
When the silent review is finished, the therapist just asks "what
happened?" and the rest of the session (which lasts as long as needed)
is devoted to allowing the client to describe the incident and his/her
reactions while reviewing it. If there is time, the therapist asks the
client to do the same thing again (reviewing the videotape and then
describing the event as well as his/her reactions while reviewing it).
The therapist doesn't give detailed instructions; the idea is for the
client to get comfortable reviewing and describing the traumatic event.
After a few sessions done in this manner, the client becomes more and
more comfortable with the process. This will lead to attending during
the review to different aspects of the trauma situation. Eventually, the
client will courageously attend to and describe the more disturbing
emotional aspects and the more uncomfortable actions during the
event. TIR usually takes 10 to 20 hours spread over several weeks. 
If things go well, after several sessions the client will have little or
no negative emotions associated with the incident. During the
repeated reviewing process, the client will frequently remember
another traumatic event. In that case, the other event will also be
reviewed and described over and over until the emotional reactions are
eliminated. Naturally, as the details of the trauma experiences are
explored in this way, new aspects will be discovered--these may be
different emotions and feelings, thoughts and needs that had gone
unrecognized, and a better awareness of the body's physiological
reactions during the event. This enhanced perception of the trauma
will often lead to new insights and new ideas about how to cope with
similar situations. 
It is uncertain if a person can benefit from such a repetitive review
process when done alone, without a therapist. Since this often involves
a highly emotional situation, I would not recommend it. Yet, the TIR
therapist intentionally avoids being directive, encouraging, expressing
sympathy, and giving other reinforcing behaviors. So, the client
remembers and thinks about the trauma situation over and over in a
safe, calm, undemanding setting. In effect, the trauma experience is
being desensitized. Keep in mind, research has shown that writing in
detail over and over about an emotional experience also reduces
Previous page Top Next page

« Back