Trauma Relief Unlimited
T.R.U. Research Study Design
The T.R.U. Research Study was a free-standing study, i.e. a community based study with no “host” venue or agency. Unlike the T.R.U. Pilot Project subjects were randomly selected from the Greater Providence community at large rather than from one particular agency or organization. Doing a much larger study- four times the size of the Pilot- at R.I.S.E., the host agency of the Pilot, was not an option due to the degree of disruption that such a study would cause to such a small organization. Moreover, R.I.S.E. is an organization of children and the Research Study would be a study with adults.
An advertising budget was provided as part of the R.I.F. Grant to allow for community solicitation of subjects. As it turned out approximately two-thirds of the Research Study participants came from newspaper announcements and one-third from helping profession referrals.
Participants were screened to meet study objectives. The first of these was to insure that all participants were, in fact, trauma survivors. Those who had histories of physical abuse, sexual abuse, rape, industrial/car accidents, family deaths, familial breakup, marital breakup, miscarriages, abortions, birth trauma, war trauma, assaults, family suicide/murder or other similar “traumas” were selected. All subjects survived at least three such, or similar, episodes. Preference was also given to those who experienced significant post traumatic stress (P.T.S.) symptoms including flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety attacks, crying spells or violent episodes, i.e. throwing things, breaking things, etc. By design all subjects were l8 years of age or older.
A second objective was to rule out those who were not appropriate for the T.R.U. method. For instance, an attempt was made to screen for alcohol or drug abuse. This objective was fairly well met considering no one was asked to leave the study for abuse reasons and in only one or two cases was alcohol or drug abuse suspected once the study began.
A third objective was to screen for those with “personality disorders”, i.e. those with a history of psychosis, manic-depression or “borderline” personalities. Those with these diagnoses are usually not helped by T.R.U. However, in two instances an exception was made to include two people who had long-standing bipolar diagnoses. Both were stable and consistently taking medication as prescribed. Yet, both had very significant trauma symptoms even on medication. Both fit other criteria as trauma survivors. I chose to include both in part because I was curious to see how they would perform. I am so happy that I did. One of these participants had more than 70 post traumatic symptoms per week at intake. After three treatments that figure was 2 per week. The other reached complete extinction. Were they misdiagnosed? Does T.R.U. help some diagnosed bipolar? Certainly there is a need for further study here. This objective was also fairly well met, although, I did get one person who in retrospect appears to have been “borderline”. That person’s results were marginal improvement.
A fourth screening objective was to get participants who would complete the study. All participants were asked if they had been in therapy before and how long that process lasted. The thinking here was that those who had done counseling and participated for at least two or three months would probably complete the study. All participants were also asked to commit to complete the work and to contact the study director if there was a problem before dropping out. Only one participant in 40 actually considered dropping out to the point of contacting the study director. The actual attrition or drop rate was 7.5 %. I am told that is quite good for a study of this magnitude. All participants were asked to complete a Consent to Participate Form indicating the study was voluntary. All dropouts were in the control group. That was not surprising since those in the control group were asked to wait for a period of 30 days before treatment. For future reference, I would have included more subjects in the control group for this reason.
With the exception of the alcohol and drug abuse issue, relatively little screening was done.
Once admitted to the study, participants were randomly assigned. That is to say, they were alternately assigned to either therapist or the control group until all slots were filled.
The actual Research Study Design looked like this.
- Pre-Test Minimum 30 Day Waiting Period Re-Test
- PsychoSocial Evaluation Three T.R.U. Treatments
- Minimum Two Week Waiting Period Post-Test
- Minimum Four Month Waiting Period Follow-up Test
- Pre-Test PsychoSocial Evaluation
- Three T.R.U. Treat
- Minimum 2 Week Waiting Period Post-Test
- Minimum Four Month Waiting Period Follow-up Test
The Experimental Group was divided between Therapist I, founder of T.R.U. and Therapist II, a T.R.U. trained therapist. The former had 1800 or more pre Research Study trials with T.R.U., the latter had zero pre-Research Study trials with T.R.U. The second, trained therapist had eight 45 minute T.R.U. pre-Research Study training sessions with the T.R.U. founder. Therapist II, although a licensed, insured professional with 10 years of clinical experience, had no prior trauma related training or experience. (Note attached Psychometrist’s Report for more details).
Each participant was tested with the Trauma Symptom Inventory, a standardized trauma test for adults by John Briere, a nationally recognized trauma specialist and researcher. Each participant received one PsychoSocial Evaluation and three subsequent, weekly T.R.U. treatments. Treatment sessions were 45 minutes in duration. Each person was also Post-Tested with the T.S.I. Follow-up testing with the T.S.I. is now underway four months after treatment. All participants were also tracked weekly for patient report of trauma symptoms including flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety attacks, crying spells and violent episodes, the common symptoms of psychological trauma. Each patient was Pre-Tested and Post-Tested with the T.S.I. Each participant was also tracked with the Patient Report noted above to monitor changes in trauma symptom frequency.
All participants were also tracked weekly to monitor changes in depression levels. The device used here was a mental status for depression wherein patients were queried weekly about sleep disturbance, eating disturbance, libido levels, social and recreational activity frequency and suicidal ideation. Patient responses were graded on a 1-5 scale by the T.R.U. therapist. Although, T.R.U. is not a cure for depression, significant drops in depression are usually observed once the trauma material is removed. The average participant’s depression level drop in this Research Study was approximately 40%.
Note the attached Psychometrist’s Report for more details, charts, graphs and other information.