History and Development

The IPTS was founded in 1992 by Gisela Perren-Klingler. This was the year, in which the Law for victims of violence was voted in the Swiss parliament and at the same time a massive arrival of refugees from the Balkans and Ruanda alerted Swiss public opinion to the pschological sequelae of traumas. For the first time the public became aware of the heavy psycho-social toll of violence, persecution torture and war. Different groups constituted themselves with the support of IPTS into multi-professional and multicultural teams- amongst others HCUG (Hôpital Cantonal Universitaire de Genève) and the Asylum Organization of the City of Zurich and started to care actively at a psychosocial level for these refugees
This is how a network of psychotherapists in private practice was established, specialised in the treatment of survivors of traumatogenic (possibly traumatic) events from different cultures.

At the same time, IPTS started to train peers, professionals from other backgrounds, in immediate interventions after traumatogenic exposure, such as stress management, crisis intervention, CARE, support, defusing, demobilisation and psychological debriefings.

Since 1992 IPTS has trained intervention groups (police, firefighters, paramedics), as well as representatives from churches and many other interested groups in different Swiss Cantons in early psycho-social intervention techniques. Ongoing and post-graduate traning for Mental Health groups in recognising trauma and applying specific treatment techniques. MHProfessionals as well as peers from about 10 different cultures and mothertongues are linked together, as well as some specifically trained interpreters.

Antennas of IPTS have grown also in the European neighbourhood, Germany, Austria, Italy, France and also Spain. Two other groups grew in the region of the Rio de la Plata, Argentine and Uruguay, one in South Africa and the latest in Pakistan. Sustainability however is only guaranteed, if a continuous contact between trainers and and trained persons is going on, something, which is only done regularly within Europe and the two groups in Latin America.

The trainings are addressed at very different groups of professionals: intervention groups (police, firefighters, paramedics), health professionals (up to anaesthetists), Mental Health Professionals (MHP), pedadogical professions, theologians, social workers, refugee organizazions, army people, security services, personnel of public transport, of banks prisons etc.

The goal of the trainings is to give the trainees a serious basic knowledge of psychotraumatology, healthy ways of coping, and fresilience, skills and internal security and confidence to deal with persons, who a short time beforehand have gone though a traumatogenic event: Give them CARE and support, and mobilise their personal and systemic resources.

Control of the quality of work, the will to do ongoing training, and motivating new peers to network are all considered to be tasks of the trainees. IPTS is there to respond to expressed needs of those who work in the field.