Trauma Relief Unlimited

T.R.U. Project Outline and Development

The Trauma Relief Unlimited (T.R.U.) Research Study was truly a collaborative venture between the Trauma Relief Unlimited, (T.R.U.) Program, Brown University and the Rhode Island Foundation. The T.R.U. Program provided the treatment methodology, application and overall design of the Research Study. Brown University provided the Institutional Review Board, (I.R.B.) and acted as the fiscal agent. The Rhode Island Foundation provided the funding.

The T.R.U. Research Study commenced in March 2001 following the approval of $30,000 in grant funding by the Rhode Island Foundation. Brown University provided the necessary preliminary review (I.R.B.) and continued to oversee the research to completion. A research design was developed. A psychometrist was selected to review the design, to collect, tabulate, interpret and report data. A second professional was selected and trained to administer the T.R.U. protocol. Research study participants were selected from the general public through two sources of recruitment-newspaper advertising and referral from the professional community. Research Study participants were screened and randomly assigned to one of the two T.R.U. treating clinicians. Participants signed a consent to participate form and were asked to commit to four weekly T.R.U. treatment sessions including an initial Psychosocial Evaluation. After consultation with the psychometrist, a suitable, standardized trauma measuring device was selected. In addition, a second patient report, symptoms tracking system was developed.

The T.R.U. Research Study would be a 40 trauma survivor, randomly assigned, control group study using two treating professionals. The general intent of the Research Study design was to scientifically demonstrate the power and effectiveness of the T.R.U. method and to answer the recommendations of the earlier T.R.U. Pilot Project completed in 2000. The goals here were to: l. Increase the sample size from 10 Pilot participants to 40 Research Study participants. 2. To demonstrate that the T.R.U. protocol, and not the special qualities of its founder, was responsible for results. This would be accomplished by training and subsequently treating a portion of the participants with another T.R.U. therapist. 3. To add to scientific validity and reliability by using a control group, i.e. replacing the “before and after” Pilot format. Two other changes in the design from the Pilot design are notable. The Pilot participants were children. The Research Study participants would be adults. This would demonstrate the power and effectiveness of T.R.U. with a much broader age spectrum, virtually covering all ages, 6 years and older. This is particularly significant since traditional Art Therapy, the method from which T.R.U. was derived, has historically been a children’s methodology, commonly used with those under age 12. The Research Study was designed to demonstrate T.R.U. effectiveness with adults as well as with children. Finally, a different psychometrist was chosen to review the Research Study to get another professional reaction to, and interpretation of, the findings.

The treatment phase began in March, 2001. 40 participants were screened and subsequently assigned randomly to either a Control group or an Experimental group. The experimental group was divided into two groups. One group would be treated by the T.R.U. founder, the other by the trained T.R.U. therapist. All participants were pre-tested with the Trauma Symptoms Inventory, a standardized test for adult trauma survivors, developed by nationally recognized trauma specialist John Briere. Incidentally, another of Briere’s tests, The Trauma Symptoms Checklist for Children was used for the Pilot. The T.S.I. established a standardized baseline for treatment. A patient report tracking chart was also administered to all study participants adding another measuring tool. This tracking device noted weekly patient report of trauma symptom levels- including levels of depression and frequency of trauma symptoms. The latter included nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety attacks, violent episodes and crying spells. All common symptoms of trauma.

Control Group participants were pre-tested and then asked to wait 30 days before beginning treatment. Collection of Control Group data before and after the waiting period allowed for a “no treatment” comparison. Control Group participants were then T.R.U. treated. The Experimental Group was pre-tested and then T.R.U. treated immediately. Participants in both groups were post-tested two weeks after the third and final T.R.U. treatment. Participants in both groups at this writing are being “follow-up tested” four months after the last T.R.U. treatment. Follow-up testing is designed to preclude “placebo” effects and to demonstrate T.R.U. staying power over time.