Twenty five years ago, Colin, then a young businessman, started having heart palpitations and chest pains. He found himself unable to sleep and drank alcohol to help with this. He was pushing himself too hard. Unresolved issues from his childhood and school days had followed him into his adult life and were now being triggered by his role as manager of people. This had placed enormous stress on him. Finally, Colin discovered he had been suffering from post-traumatic stress. "I was a terrible manager, ready to be triggered at any time, deeply intolerant of mistakes and bawling my staff out. Now, mistakes don’t wind me up and I point out to them that the best way to learn is to mess something up. I also tell them that there is not an error they can make that cannot be overcome. Work is much more enjoyable." Today Colin continues to work as an international trader, but is passionate and dedicated to the cause of The Serenitas Foundation. His belief in TIR stems from the fact it was the only "method" that got to the root cause of his problems and allowed him to face them and deal with them. Other therapies took the top off the issues, but TIR went far deeper, resulting in a huge reduction in personal stress. He believes TIR should be an option that is available for all and is ideal for both one-way professional delivery or as a peer and reciprocal "two-way" activity in the field of personal growth.  

As a former fire-fighter, John Durkin has first-hand experience of traumatic incidents, including one of his own. At one fire he fell 20 feet in pitch darkness onto a staircase below. He cracked a vertebra which took six months to heal.

“Although I recovered physically I was then troubled for years by nightmares and a fear of getting myself and the men killed. No counselling or psychotherapy really helped.”

Upon leaving the fire service he completed a psychology degree followed by a Masters degree. After hearing about TIR through a colleague, he completed a training course which persuaded him to train further to determine how best to generate evidence of its mental health benefits. In 2010 he graduated with a PhD from the University of Nottingham.

“There is evidence that clinical therapies help people to feel better after trauma, but little to suggest that these therapies help people grow. Many who practice TIR describe it as helping people to grow after trauma. If so, it would be important to see empirical evidence in support of this.”

The work of The Serenitas Foundation will be overseen by John to enable rigorous testing of the emotional and psychological effects of TIR and to see the results published in peer-review journals.

“A pilot project has found growth to be related to TIR following traumatic incidents, usually after a single session. If additional research confirms this, The Serenitas Foundation will be offering techniques to communities that exceed the benefits of standard therapies for trauma.”

John is a member of the Centre for Trauma, Resilience and Growth at the University of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire NHS Mental Health Trust.

Chris has been working in the charity sector for nearly a decade and has had extensive managerial and development experience with a number of leading national charities in the fields of volunteers, offenders, education and culture. Chris’s first task in his new role was to attend a TIR workshop in December 2010. A caveat that all members of staff become trained and accredited in TIR.

I did not consider myself a particularly traumatised or stressed person, things happen to you in life and I just got on with it” ” I was wrong, I actually had a lot of built up feelings which I had kept locked up”

Chris’s last job was not a particular success. There were fundamental differences in opinion about his performance and conduct, which came out at support and supervision meetings.

I found the TIR workshop a fascinating learning experience. When it came to my first TIR session I was able to offload a really big problem that had been affecting my personal life over the last year.

“As soon as the session started I knew that I was not going to be judged or even offered words of advice and I could feel myself welling up with all the anger, frustration and disappointment that I had experienced. Just under 2 hours later, that issue was resolved, by talking about it and exploring all the issues surrounding this stress, it now does not bother me at all”

Chris was amazed that such a big issue could be resolved in such a short time.

“Does TIR work? Absolutely, I am happier, more driven, and more positive and have more energy to do things. I am excited about the prospects and potential of TIR and Serenitas and believe that we will be able to really help people and make society a much better place to be.”

Chris is continuing with his training with other interns, working on issues in his life and has found the result of using TIR immensely beneficial.

Estelle is a qualified Human Resources professional, mother to four children, step mother to three and a grandmother. She runs administration and accountancy for The Serenitas Foundation. Estelle believes TIR is an invaluable tool in helping people overcome traumas in their lives. A single 45 minute session of TIR stopped her life-long and debilitating fear of spiders.

“I had been scared of spiders ever since I could remember. While on holiday in the Caribbean and travelling in a taxi, a huge black spider ran from the back parcel shelf, over my shoulder, body and legs. I couldn’t jump out of the taxi as it was moving quickly and I felt trapped and fearful. This encounter left me with a vivid mental picture of the spider and a feeling of panic that wouldn’t go away. Wherever I looked I saw a huge black spider shape in front of my eyes. A short TIR session enabled me to confront this image and trace the cause of my arachnophobia back to its root when I was a young girl. This erased the phobia.”

Estelle can now scoop up any spider with gusto!

Estelle finds the theory and practise of TIR an invaluable asset in parenting and grand-parenting, “its vital never to take a piece of behaviour at face value.”

She has experienced a reduction in personal stress making it far easier to support family and friends, and help employees overcome their difficulties.

“Its important to really listen to people and to appreciate that the traumatic impact of an event is completely subjective to the individual. Also, knowing that peoples’ present time negative behaviour, fears, phobias and fixed ideas are the result of the unresolved traumas they carry is information every parent and manager needs to know.”

Dr Sunday Olotu is a Consultant Psychiatrist of 12 years experience, 2.5 in the UK & the rest in Nigeria. He became a doctor and then a Psychiatrist, recognising in himself a strong sense of empathy with his clients.

“I knew about TIR from emails and leaflets circulated around by the Serenitas Foundation & I attended a talk on it & eventually the TIR training workshop. In my experience I’ve never before found a therapy like TIR which works dramatically when applied with the proper procedure. It has helped me personally deal with an emotional trauma I had bottled up  for 13 years and also helped handle the anxiety related with going back to my country of origin.”

Dr Olotu is returning to Nigeria in the near future and intends to introduce the methods of TIR.  He plans to keep in touch with the Serenitas Foundation while developing TIR further in Nigeria.

Lurline discovered TIR from a small ad in the local paper, it caught her eye immediately and after speaking to Chris and getting an idea of what TIR was about she wanted to get started immediately. Lurline attended the TIR training in March 2011

“I had two major phobias: needles and snakes. In the past I have had to be physically restrained while the nurses put a needle in my arm. After a viewing session about needles my phobia has gone. I gave a blood sample the other day and I didn’t get over anxious or hide away. Instead I watched the process and even helped the nurses to find a vein. This was unheard of in the past.”

The mere mention of the word “snake” would leave Lurline feeling agitated and ill.

“I couldn’t walk on grass or go to the zoo or anywhere that I might come in contact with snakes. After a single session, I am completely free of the phobia. I even went to a pet shop and looked at the snakes to confirm everything was now OK!”

Lurline is continuing to co-facilitate with other interns and is looking forward to completing further workshops in the near future.