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Working with complex trauma

The Malta Depth Psychological Association, in collaboration with the Psychology Department of the Gozo General Hospital, in­vited Ursula Wirtz, a psychologist and Jungian psychoanalyst from ISAP-Zurich, to give a seminar to caring professionals on working with complex trauma. 

Dr Wirtz explained how trauma can be perceived as a forced descent to the deepest, darkest regions of one’s being, an agonising loss of soul. It ruptures the life of the person who has experienced trauma in two:  life before trauma and life after trauma.

Dr Wirtz said: “Trauma confronts us with the existential questions of suffering and evil, of life and death. Even though traumatic experiences are very damaging to one’s psyche they can at times become a potentially transformative psychological and spiritual experience, calling for an enlargement of consciousness.”

She called for the need to have an authentic attitude to work with these patients to help them restore their dignity, the need to bear uncertainty and strong effective reactions, the importance of challenging negative cognitive attributions of why they suffered trauma and the need to use artistic and imaginative methods to help them express what is very difficult to verbalise.

Dr Wirtz  practises as an analyst and supervisor in Zürich and has taught at various European universities and lectured in the US, Canada, South Africa, Russia, the Baltic States, China and Taiwan.  She is the author of numerous publications on trauma, sexual abuse, ethics and the interface of psychotherapy and spirituality. Her book, Trauma and Beyond. The Mystery of Transformation, was published in 2014.

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