Trauma may prevent us from getting what we really want from life. At a Norwegian institute that trains trauma therapists, staff are dedicated to explaining what trauma really is, how it can affect our lives, and how we can learn to cope with it to unleash our true potential.

A lot of us have experienced some degree of trauma in our lives, yet we may not necessarily be aware of it. The problem is that our bodies make us forget trauma through automatic survival processes put in place to help us survive. These same survival processes can prevent us from living full lives – they can complicate our relationships with others, be that our partners, our friends or our families, and they can even make us physically sick.

Unwinding these processes and getting through to the experiences that might have given rise to trauma is, for those that embark on it, a challenging process. But there is good help to be found.

Trauma can be treated

“I should have retired a long time ago, but I really feel a desire to continue working to let people know that there is good treatment for trauma available,” says Marta Thorsheim, the soft-spoken founder of Institutt for Traumearbeid, or IoPT Norway.

IoPT is short for Identity-oriented Psychotraumatheory and Therapy, an approach to working with trauma developed by Dr. Franz Ruppert, a German psychologist. Dr. Ruppert developed his theory through some 30 years of research and therapeutic practice.

Dr. Ruppert explains the consequence of trauma in several models. He believes that the psyche of a person who has experienced trauma is split in three: a healthy part, a traumatised part, and a survival part. The latter two, in different ways, prevent us from getting in touch with our true selves and condition our feelings and behaviours in ways that we don’t always realise or understand.

At IoPT Norway, students learn how to apply Dr. Ruppert’s theory in their daily work, be that as counsellors, therapists or other people-related jobs. Starting with basic courses and all the way through to specialised international training, IoPT offers complete educational cycles for professionals interested in learning more and adopting the IoPT approach.

Evening introductory sessions for everyone

While it’s not a centre for treatment, but for education of practitioners, the institute organises introductory evening seminars for everyone, patients included, interested in learning more about trauma and how to treat it.

“It’s really important for us to explain what traumas are, because so many people think of them as very serious, high-impact events. In reality, traumas are all experiences that are subjectively perceived as more challenging than what an individual can cope with,” explains Geir Dale, one of the teachers at IoPT Norway.

“It is the mechanisms developed to cope with a trauma, to survive it, that prevent us from living life to the fullest, from truly enjoying and getting want we want from life,” stresses Dale.

Taking desire or what we want to achieve as a starting point, IoPT therapy is a gentle but efficient way to help us unwind our mechanisms and reach and treat the trauma that spurred them in the first place.

A liberating experience

“It can be a really liberating experience to see patterns and mechanisms that have conditioned our lives, dissolve,” explains Thorsheim with a smile that reveals that she has seen it happen in patients through her years as a practitioner.

IoPT Norway: Living life to its fullest

Martha Thorsheim, founder of IoPT Norway. Photo: IoPT Norway


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