Identity-oriented Psychotrauma Therapy (IoPT) is founded on the theories and practice developed by Professor Franz Ruppert over the past 25 years, and articulated in his books, six of which are available in English, with the latest book due out in May 2019, entitled WHO AM I IN A TRAUMATISED AND TRAUMATISING SOCIETY?
IoPT therapy is based on a specific understanding of trauma, and psychological splitting as the means of surviving trauma, and in the earliest stages of life the challenge to the infant of surviving within the context in which he or she is conceived, gestated and born.
The diagram shows the split structure of the psyche after a trauma.
Trauma is a situation that pays no attention to individual identity, and the cost to the child is a loss of self, a loss of identity. This is why we call the work Identity-oriented Psychotrauma Therapy.
There are three unspoken questions that dominate the life of the unborn and newly born child:
Am I wanted?
Am I loved?
Am I safe?
If the answer to any one of these is 'no', this constitutes a trauma for the helpless and utterly dependent child.
The three consequent traumas are:
The Trauma of Identity
The Trauma of Love
The Trauma of Sexuality & Violence, non-protection
In fact these traumas are sequential, in that the trauma of love is the consequence of the trauma of identity, and the trauma of non-protection is the consequence of the trauma of love.
These traumas form the foundation of our life, our ability to grow up with a healthy, stable psyche, or 'I', or not. All later experiences that constitute a trauma are always also a re-stimulation of these early, pre-verbal, pre-memory events.
The child survives the Trauma of Identity by giving up on his healthy identity, his autonomy, in order to have some connection with his mother, without which he cannot survive. He is forced to identify with his mother's wants and needs, where his wants and needs are ignored, mis-interpreted or used as a means of persecution by the mother. This, then, brings the therapeutic question "Who am I?". And existentially this question is automatically followed by the question "What do I want?", because in order to know really what I want I must have a reasonable sense of who I am.
The Trauma of Love happens when the connection that the child does manage to maintain with his mother after the Trauma of Identity is not in effect a clear, loving connection, but rather a connection that is painful, unfulfilling, manipulative and persecutory.
We all have a trauma biography, where the original traumas have a major impact on who we become, how we manage later traumatising events, our relationships, our fulfilment of our abilities. All later traumatic experiences have within them the seeds of re-traumatisation of the original trauma.
The 'Intention Method', developed by Franz Ruppert, offers a way of exploring these issues that is safe, effective and containing.
The Intention method grew out of the work of Family Constellations, the original work of Bert Hellinger. However in its present form it is quite different from the version used in Family Constellations.
The first stage is the person doing their personal exploration to develop their 'sentence of intention'. This can take the form of a sentence, a question, a statement or even a drawing, that encapsulates what the person wants from their exploration. How this is worded and the topic that it covers is entirely up to the client. The facilitator cannot interfere at all in the forming of this sentence.
Once the person's sentence is established she writes on a flip chart board. This then forms the framework for the exploration.
The person then chooses one word from this sentence and a fellow group member to resonate with this word, sharing his or her experience since they were asked as best they can. When there seems nothing more to be said the person will choose another word, and another person to resonate with this word and so on until either there is some insight and shift in perception in relation to the intention, or until all the words are represented.
In this way each word will provide some information to the person about their intention, and the accumulated information can be very revealing as to the underlying dynamics and issues of the intention.
We know from recent developments in neuroscience that we are far more connected with each other than we think we are. In fact we are highly tuned to unconsciously reading and absorbing the minute and subtle messages we are constantly giving out. Through the non-verbal parts of our brain, primarily the limbic brain system, we are in constant communication with each other, and in this kind of exploration we purposefully use this to access the unconscious. So the process becomes an exploration of the mind of the person as it relates to the specific issue stated.