Review Article

Traumatic incident reduction: A suitable technique for South African social work practice settings

H. Marili Williams, Elizabeth C. Erlank
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 24 | a1106 | DOI: | © 2019 H. Marili Williams, Elizabeth C. Erlank | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 February 2018 | Published: 29 May 2019

About the author(s)

H. Marili Williams, Department Social Work, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Elizabeth C. Erlank, Department Social Work, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


It is part of South African social workers’ responsibilities to attend promptly and appropriately to victims of trauma. Overstrained and limited resources in communities influence the availability of debriefing services to traumatised community members. The purpose of this article was to elaborate on the traumatic incident reduction (TIR) technique as a suitable, short-term intervention technique for social work practice settings to address the impact of trauma effectively and timely.

A discussion on TIR is presented by contextualising and defining mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and elaborating on other practice approaches, therapies, techniques and models for addressing trauma and PTSD in social work practice.

Given the excessive exposure to trauma experienced by the South African population, it is clear that further trauma counselling services are required and more effective ways must be found to empower communities to deal with trauma. Most approaches for the treatment of trauma in South Africa are specialised and resources are limited; therefore, many communities are excluded from these specialised services. The TIR technique fits appropriately within the ambit of the developmental approach, as embraced by the South African Department of Social Development.

It will be beneficial if social workers, auxiliary social workers, community leaders, community volunteers, health care workers and lay counsellors are trained in the TIR technique. Concerted efforts are necessary to empower communities in supporting themselves and developing the necessary skills to address trauma. This initiative will be consistent with the developmental approach sanctioned by the Department of Social Development.


mental health; posttraumatic stress disorder; traumatic incident reduction technique; social work; social workers; health care practitioners


Total abstract views: 565
Total article views: 800

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.