Chapter 1

This pamphlet is the third TRT instructional aid for victims of crime. It explains how to do both the third and fourth phases of TRT. The pamphlet number is:



This material is for TRT participants. It also provides family members and friends information about the TRT program so that their support for the participant may be enhanced. The TRT Educational Program, including this material, is not intended for general interest reading. It is not a solicitation to engage in TRT. Neither is it authorization to provide TRT to anyone. TRT is authorized for use only under the supervision and facilitation of a Certified TRT Counselor. The authors of TRT, and or their designates, are the TR T certifying authority.

© 1988 Collins & Carson



Courage, will power, the belief in God, and internal character are reported as having the most profound influence upon the crime victim’s ability to survive. Some aspects of survival, however, are not so helpful. In fact, many survival responses to trauma can even cause additional conflict. The purposes of TR T Phases Three and Four are to help you to identify any such conflicts and then to reconcile the loss which may have resulted from them.

TRT Phase Three

Phase Three functions almost the same as Phase One. However, whereas that phase identified the source of the behaviors that precipitated the original loss, Phase Three identifies the survival behaviors and thoughts that have fostered the additional hurt.

There are several other differences between the two TR T phases that must be kept in mind. First, Phase Three does not require as extensive concentration of thought or profound introspection as did Phase One. All that is necessary now is that the list of survival responses (both thoughts and behaviors) be copied as written from the fifth column of the Matrix. The writer may add optional descriptions of survival response if he or she desires (an example will be provided later).

Second, you should not add times, feelings, emotional states or places to your writing as you did in Phase One. Phase Three is only a transitional stage in which you are assisted in framing your responses, not a time to dwell on or emphasize them for the purpose of improving your awareness of how you act so that you can change your behavior. If we try to improve our “awareness” for purposes other than loss resolution at this point in the program, the tendency is to begin to blame ourselves. As you may be starting to see, blame and judgment are anathemas to loss resolution.

The third difference between Phases One and Three involves writing format and workspace. Be sure to copy the survival-response list onto a separate worksheet. (An example of Phase Three is demonstrated in the next instruction on how to use the worksheet to complete Phase Four.) List one experience under the other so that considerable margins remain to the right of each entry. We will use those margins in Phase Four.

Once the list is completed, check with your TRT counselor for an appropriate time to read what you have written. In addition, as we have said before, be sure always to check with your counselor if you have any questions about this or any phase of TRT.

Phase Four


The fourth phase of TR T is similar in some respects to the second phase in that the matrix format is again used. However, instead of five columns, the matrix for this phase has only three. They are, from left to right:

TRT Phase Four


We ask you to begin Phase Four by turning your list of survival responses described in the previous phase into a worksheet. Writing on the form again should pose no problems.

For a sample of how to use the worksheet, we are going to borrow material for the third and fourth phases from the book, Trauma Resolution Therapy (TRT: A Structured and Experiential Approach to the Reconciliation of Loss. In that book (primarily written for counselors) composite examples of people affected by different kinds of trauma-causing events were followed. The one we are reprinting here is from the example of the assaulted woman also described in Phases One and Two of this pamphlet series. The woman’s worksheet was developed from a list of survival responses taken from the fifth column of her Matrix. The first column of her worksheet as developed from her third-phase work follows:

“I tried to protect myself from the blows to my head.

I began to separate myself from the reality of the experience.

I struggled for my existence.

I separated myself further from the beating. I tried to breathe and stay alive.

I hoped that it would be over soon and that I wouldn’t be killed.

I began to think that if I was nice to him that he wouldn’t kill me.

At that moment I felt myself change and become something other than what I used to be.

I fought back against being killed. I withdrew further.

I became paranoid and boarded up the windows, I never went to the garage.

I bought a gun and repeatedly sat in the kitchen until the sun came up, hoping the killers would return.

I thought I was going insane.

The first column of the Phase Four worksheet then consolidates the individual responses into like groups to create a much smaller listing of various categories of responses. This is done by starting at the top of the worksheet and progressing down the list, placing the responses, depending on their characteristics, into similar categories by assigning numbers in sequence. Each expression that represents a new or different category of response is given a new number.

For example, the first response obviously would be new and so far unduplicated. Consequently, we would place the number (1) in the margin to the right.


“I tried to protect myself from the blows to my head.”                            (1)

The second response is new, so we give it another number.

“I began to separate myself from the reality of the experience. ”         (2)


The third survival response is also slightly different from the first two. At the same time, however, it could be considered as the same as number 1. In such cases your and / or your counselor’s judgment as to what you believe is the most appropriate categorization is all that is required. We do suggest that if you desire less written work in the fourth phase Matrix, that you combine as many such similar responses as possible. You will probably find that there will be no reduction in the thoroughness of your TRT experience. We assign the third reported survival response a number (1).


“I struggled for my existence.                                       (1)


The next responses are more of the same. They are assigned to the second and first categories also.

“I further separated myself from the beating.”         (2)

“I tried to breathe and stay alive.”                               (1)


As we continue down the worksheet, we discover new categories of response but also find considerable duplication. The completed worksheet from this example might look like this:

I hoped that it would be over soon and that I wouldn’t be killed. (1) (1)
I began, to think that if I was nice to him that he wouldn’t kill me. (2)
At that moment I felt myself change and become something other than what I used to be. (2)
I fought back against being killed. (1)
I withdrew further. (3)
I became paranoid and boarded up the windows. I never went to the garage. (4)
I bought a gun and repeatedly sat in the kitchen until the sun came up, thinking the killers would return. (5)
I thought I was going insane. (6)

The way that you consolidate your survival responses may be considerably different from the way we do it, because the division and combination of the responses will depend on their individual meanings to you. Such differences are not a problem. If you have additional questions, be sure to ask your TRT counselor.

Once the consolidation is complete, the next step is to list the different categories in the Phase Four Matrix all the way down the first column. Remember, this matrix is three columns across, rather than five, and focuses only on the initial survival response, the values contradicted by that response and the loss sustained as a consequence of the contradiction. To illustrate, the first five categories of responses in the example we have been using are reduced to simplified descriptions.

 TRT Phase Four

 fig2ph3-4victimsIn summary, the function of the numerical system is simply to provide a way to identify similar survival responses and to discern the frequency with which each was used. From this identification, the loss resulting from those responses can be identified, setting the stage for its reconciliation.

Even though Phases Two and Four both identify and help to reconcile loss, there is an important difference between the two. The second phase addresses loss on an extremely specific level: exact trauma-causing behaviors are correlated with the particular emotions experienced’ values contradicted, loss sustained and immediate survival response made. Through that approach, loss is not only reconciled at individual levels, but also through the wider view that comes from seeing the myriad events as a single life experience. The result of that approach is a rigorous, uncompromising confrontation of the heart of the trauma. In Phase Four, however, we are looking only at the remnants of the trauma. This is what happened to us. Phase Four is about how we adapted and then, how we were changed by the trauma. Had there not been an original trauma, there would be nothing now to write about. Consequently, we approach this phase with special care and ask that you give that same special care to yourself.

The special care (exemplified in the use of “categories” by the fourth phase) is intended to provide you with some distance from the necessary experience of survival change and adaptation by purposefully making the survival behaviors more generalized. Consequently, when you fill in the rest of the fourth phase matrix, think in terms of what values were contradicted. If for example, “pretending the trauma wasn’t happening” was a response of your own, your matrix would reflect a summary or overview of your values and beliefs about the prospective denial of trauma-causing events.

Identification of loss should be handled similarly to that of contradicted values. An example of the Phase Four Matrix follows.

TRT Phase Four


When the Phase Four Matrix is completed, arrange with your counselor to share it with your group. Of special note, whereas the predominant feelings surrounding Phase Two were of anger and shame, the general experience most often reflected at this juncture of TRT is the deep sadness and sorrow that accompanies all true mourning. Again, it is important to maintain your close contact with your TRT counselor. He or she will assist you in sharing as much of the matrix in each sitting as is believed to be appropriate for your individual needs. Once the reading has been completed, you will be ready to enter the last phase of TRT.


The next pamphlet is the final TRT instructional aid. That pamphlet number is:


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