The Return


Trauma therapy meets storytelling.

trauma (n.)

1690s, “physical wound,” medical Latin, from Greek trauma “a wound, a hurt; a defeat,” from PIE *trau-, extended form of root *tere- (1) “to rub, turn,” with derivatives referring to twisting, piercing, etc. Sense of “psychic wound, unpleasant experience which causes abnormal stress” is from 1894.

Kolbjørn Vårdal

This weekend I’ll be in Kareby, Sweden. Here I will facilitate a workshop together with trauma therapist Kolbjørn Vårdal titled The trauma therapist – The modern shaman?.

The Shaman and the Bard
The workshop will view trauma therapy in the light of ancient shamanistic techniques and psychoterapeutic perspectives. We will also work on the trauma stories of the participants and find tools and angles to support the telling and conveying of these experiences. According to the model for the Hero’s or Heroine’s journey the protagonist must leave the known world to move through a series of challenges and strong meetings in the Underworld. If the Hero manages to get through this they will return to the known world – this phase is termed The Return.

The Monomyth or Hero's Journey (Joseph Campbell)

Back in the regular world the Hero now has new knowledge, a gift or treasure from the trials of the Underworld and becomes Master of Two Worlds. This phase, the end of the fairy tale, has difficulties of its own.

How do you convey your experiences, the work you have done on your own wound in a world that might not recognize what the Hero has been through? How to build a bridge between the worlds?

Me and Kolbjørn have two different roles in this workshop in this regard – he is the shaman and I am the bard.

So You Want To Be A Hero?
Connected to the workshop I will perform my solo piece So You Want To Be A Hero? which premiered last year during the Norwegian Storytelling Festival. I spent ten years developing this performance and the bottom line is that the show was conected to me working on an underlying trauma, a wound. I was not aware of this when I started working on the piece, but it became clear to me as the form itself, the wish to convey this story led me with a firm but friendly hand into therapeutic processes. The performance is basically about being human, being able to be in the world as your true self, and to be a hero in your own life. The main metaphor in the piece is a series of fantasy computer games I played as a teenager, and the parallels and contrasts between my game avatar and the Torgrim of reality is the dramaturgical driving force of the play.

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