Committee Spotlight

Student and Emerging Professional (SEP) Committee

Christine Forner, MSW, Chair, SEP Committee | Photos by Prof Warwick Middleton, MD

This has been another good year for our student and emerging professional (SEP) members. The three major highlights over the year are the annual conference, the launching of the SEP Discussion Forum and the Special Events offered for SEP members.

SEP Committee Chair, Christine Forner MSW, speaks with Board Member Dana Ross, MD and ISSTD Fellow Colin Ross MD, with another unknown participant, SEP Lunch Annual Conference, 2018.

Some highlights from the annual conference include the lunch meeting, the poster sessions, the networking of students and senior members, the book give away and more. We always have an excellent lunch where students and emerging professionals get together with senior members of the society to have a casual discussion. This is a great opportunity to meet and network with experienced clinicians and researchers in the field of complex trauma and dissociation. During the lunch we had our annual SEP book give away. Every year we hand out about 20 books written by some amazing authors. There were a lot of laughs and a great chance for students and emerging professionals to ask questions and meet others who share a common clinical or research area of interest

I would encourage students to take advantage of the poster sessions. This is an excellent chance to get your information out there. It is also important for students and emerging professionals to know that you don’t have to have a completed research project to be part of a poster presentation. A poster presentation can be a literature review or another form of clinical or research based information sharing. This is an excellent opportunity to show case your area of interest, bring in new ideas and to add the credit to your CV.

Misty Brigham (blue shirt) and other SEP members chat with ISSTD Fellow, Dr Rich Chefetz MD, SEP Lunch, Annual Conference 2018

We would also like to inform others that it is possible to room-share with others at the annual conferences. It is possible for up to four individuals to share a room so that the costs are kept down. It would be amazing if we could have a large student and emerging professional contingency at the annual conferences. The contacts and education that our students have received in the past is invaluable. In this edition of ISSTD News we have two student members, Mary-Anne Kate and Christianna Flynn-Christianson, share their stories of how valuable it has been to connect with senior professionals at the conferences.

We started a forum for students and emerging professionals in the middle part of the year. So far we have began a discussion of a PDF that was generously provided to us from Dr. Colin Ross. This forum is set up so that students have a place to develop a community, to ask research or clinically relevant questions, and to have a place that is a community of like minded individuals. It can be lonely being a professional in this field and the forum is here to help others feel like they have an academic and clinically sound home. I encourage you all to dive in and start a discussion. This forum is set up to be the place where students and emerging professionals can have a safe and educational space for connections, questions and assistance.

Abigail Percival (centre) with other SEP Members at the SEP lunch, Annual Conference 2018

We are also in the process of vamping up the student and emerging professional committee. Our goal is to have a vibrant committee dedicated to the needs of our SEP members. In this process we are looking for SEP leaders. These individuals tend to have a lot of exposure and opportunities with the ISSTD. Many of the members of the committee have gone on to be full board members and practitioners and researchers who are already making impactful contributions to the field of trauma and dissociation. If you are interested in getting your feet wet with a leadership role, please send word and we will add you to the group. Or if you have needs, requests, ideas and suggestions on things that you feel would be an important contribution, again, please send a note. This month in ISSTD News the volunteer spotlight actually features one such SEP member who has volunteered in a lot of ways for ISSTD. Click here to read about her journey and the benefits of volunteering.

We are also offering a full day live Webinar on Dissociation 101. This course can help you with an excellent foundation of information to take with you into your academics and your career. Learning about dissociation, what it might actually be, what is happening neurobiologically, the history of the field and how to best treat these issues can help your career have longevity. Register for the webinar here.

Please join us, as we grow. As usual we are also always looking for individuals to help us with marketing. We need a few people each year that can help get the word out about our annual conferences. If you are in the Tri-State area, looking to help and looking for a few perks that come from helping out, we would love to hear from you. Please contact me here: cf.associatedcounselling@gmail.com

Students & Emerging Professionals

ISSTD Membership Supports SEP Member to Follow her Passion

Kate McMaugh, Editor, ISSTD News

Christianna Flynn-Christianson

Student member of ISSTD, Christianna Flynn-Christianson has developed an early career interest in the assessment and treatment of Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorder. In this interview she speaks of the benefits she gains from her ISSTD Membership which enables her to focus on her particular areas of interest, something that is not adequately covered in general psychology training, even at the doctoral level.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Christianna Flynn-Christianson and am originally from Suffolk, Virginia, currently living in Chicago, Illinois since 2012. I am a nature enthusiast and enjoy hiking in forest preserves, national parks, and anywhere else with a decent trail. I just returned from a lovely trip to rural Ireland (Counties Wexford and Wicklow), where my husband and I spent two weeks with my family, who lives in County Wicklow for about a month a year. I much prefer a good trail in the country to the pub atmosphere, though I did enjoy some Irish folk music during my stay as well. I also enjoy swimming in Lake Michigan in Chicago and the cycling, walking and running along the Lakefront path near my home. On occasion, I will compete in local sprint triathlons or running races just to keep fit.

Can you tell us a bit about your studies?

I am currently starting my third year at Adler University in the Clinical Psychology, Psy.D. program. Previously, I obtained a Master’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis on Social Psychology as well as a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. I am currently a Licensed Professional Counselor working at an inpatient psychiatric hospital outside Chicago. Previous supervised clinical experience included a one year practicum at American Indian Health Services, where I did counseling with a diverse group of American Indian patients from various tribes, most of whom were trauma survivors. I also worked as a case manager with an organization which helps transition institutionalized individuals to independent living.

I just completed my diagnostic practicum at an inpatient psychiatric hospital with a population of predominantly children and adolescents. Currently, I am awaiting the start of my therapy practicum at a college counseling center known for excellent supervision and multicultural competency. I have also completed basic level one clinical hypnosis training and look forward to completing my intermediate training in the Fall. I have clinical and research interests in Complex PTSD, DID, trauma and resiliency in the transgender and gender nonconforming community, and clinical hypnosis.

How did you hear about ISSTD? What led you to join ISSTD as a SEP member?

I heard about ISSTD through my dissertation chair, Dr. Janna Henning, at Adler University. I met with her during my first semester and expressed an interest in becoming competent to serve the needs of individuals with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I had noticed during both master’s programs and already in my first year of doctoral training that attitudes and information provided in classroom instruction and clinical supervision had predominantly been grounded in sensationalized myths and misinformation, seemingly biased against viewing DID as a legitimate diagnosis. By this time, I had already interacted both clinically and relationally with multiple individuals who had shared their how difficult it was to get connected with a therapist competent in working with patients with DID.

Dr. Henning was the first individual I had encountered who understood my concerns about the way the field seemed to view both DID as a diagnostic phenomenon and the impact this had on patient care. She recommended I read ISSTD’s Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults. Admittedly, I waited until my first day of diagnostic practicum, where I was somehow given a case where the psychiatrist listed DID as a rule out. I was paired with an individual who was gratefully open to the idea and she and I both read the Guidelines to complete the case.

In this experience, I learned how difficult it is as a student to obtain adequate clinical supervision on diagnosing individuals with DID. While the DSM-5 does have some useful information to aid in the process, I found the Guidelines to be much more robust and helpful in navigating the nuances of diagnosing. I was so impressed with the Guidelines that I visited the website and later registered for the 2018 conference, which was conveniently located in Chicago.

I joined as a student and emerging professionals member because I am interested in increasing competence in our field, particularly among newer clinicians who may be open to learning what the research actually says about DID.

How have you found your experience in ISSTD? What has the SEP membership been like for you?

In my first conference experience with ISSTD, I was taken aback by how grounded and friendly people were. I found people at the conference to be open-minded and validating of my experiences in the field. It was particularly meaningful for me to have dialogue with both workshop facilitators and first-time attendees about attitudes in the field, therapy approaches and additional training opportunities. I was moved by the Dissociation 101 workshop and learning about the history of ISSTD, and I think I started to understand how and why the field views DID in such polarized ways.

Since the 2018 ISSTD conference, I attended the Complex Issues in C-PTSD and DID treatment online workshop and hope to attend additional workshops soon. As someone invested and passionate about bringing services to this community, it has been transformative for me to have access to more support, research and resources that are directly relevant to my clinical interests. I am grateful to have found ISSTD during my doctoral program because clinical practica tend to be geared toward shaping generalists, rather than specialists. While it is currently more difficult to pursue specialized clinical practica that would grant me the ability to gain meaningful clinical experience in working with DID and C-PTSD on a longer term basis, I view this time as an important opportunity to build my clinical toolkit so that when I am able to pursue more specialized positions, I have attended conferences and workshops and have built a network of supportive colleagues.

What are your hopes for your future career directions?

As I look around the field, I am aware of the gap in services for individuals who have already suffered unspeakable trauma who have profound difficulty locating competent providers who can help them heal. I could see myself starting in a trauma specialist unit with inpatient psychiatric patients to continue to develop clinical competency, and transitioning to community mental health, where I could work to meet the needs of individuals who have few options. I also plan to teach graduate school, hopefully in a PsyD program, where I can ensure that information about DID and C-PTSD is accurate and grounded in research.

In supervision, I plan to advocate for more emphasis on thorough clinical interviewing, provide training on diagnostic tools for trauma and dissociation, and helping trainees better understand the etiology of DID. Over time, I also hope to become increasingly more involved with ISSTD’s special interest groups and continue to participate in annual conferences. One area I’d like to work on is increasing student participation with ISSTD. After noticing the challenges with supervision and education about trauma and dissociation, I know students will benefit from exposure to ISSTD to increase their knowledge in these areas.

Publications of Interest

Suicide, Trauma, and Dissociation

Lynn Hazard, LCSW, POI Editor

Lynn Hazard, POI Editor

This quarter’s POI theme is suicide associated with trauma and/or dissociation. This is an important theme for me, after having lost two family members in less than one year to suicide – both having had histories of childhood trauma. Professionals and survivors need to be aware of the increased risks for, along with the correlations between, trauma and suicide. When someone can face the past, learn to appreciate themselves for having survived, and develop ways to self-regulate and integrate, then a path is opened to true healing. Please take care of yourselves and, if this issue distresses you, please contact your professional supports or contact the suicide prevention services in your country

Firoozabadi, A., Jahromi, L.R., and Yaghmaie, S. (2018). Prevalence of dissociative experiences in those referred to emergency psychiatric centers after attempting suicide. Journal of Hospital Practice and Research, 3(1):22-27. DOI: 10.1517/hpr.2018.05

Abstract
Background: Dissociation is a symptom that can be related to traumatic childhood events. Dissociation in some cases is categorized in a distinct subgroup from other psychiatric disorders. Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of dissociative experiences in patients who have attempted suicide and who have referred to an emergency psychiatric center. Methods: This was a cross-sectional epidemiological study in which dissociative experiences were evaluated in 98 patients who referred to Ibn Sina and Hafez hospitals after attempting suicide. In addition to determining the prevalence of these experiences, the relationship between the symptoms and variables such as sex, age, marital status, education, and suicide risk was determined. Results: There was significant difference in the level of disappointment between married and single patients (P=0.047). The mean disappointment score for the overall population was 11.92, which is in the normal range. There was no significant relationship between dissociation score and level of disappointment (P=0.933). The prevalence of dissociative experiences was found to decrease as the age of the patients increased (P=0.006). There was no significant difference between rate of suicide as reflected in the measurement of disappointment and dissociative symptoms There was no significant relationship between DES score and other variables. Conclusion: One cause of psychological pressure in deciding to attempt suicide is family conflict. Many individuals who attempt suicide did not have a thought-out desire to take their lives, but attempted it impulsively in response to a periodic stressor.

Ford, J.D., Chark, R., Modrowski, C.A., & Kerig, P.K. (2018). PTSD and dissociation symptoms as mediators of the relationship between polyvictimization and psychososical and behavioral problems among justice-involved adolescents. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 19(3):325-346. Download at https://doi.org/10.1080/15299732.2018.1441354

Abstract
Polyvictimization (PV) has been shown to be associated with psychosocial and behavioral impairment in community and high risk populations, including youth involved in juvenile justice. However, the mechanisms accounting for these adverse outcomes have not been empirically delineated. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociation are documented sequelae of PV and are associated with a wide range of behavioral/emotional problems. This study used a cross-sectional research design and bootstrapped multiple mediation analyses with self-report measures completed by a large sample of justice-involved youth (N=809, ages 12-19 years old, 27% female, 46.5% youth of color) to test the hypotheses that PTSD and dissociation symptoms mediate the relationship between PV and problems with anger, depression/anxiety, alcohol/drug use, and somatic complaints after controlling for the effects of exposure to violence and adversities related to juvenile justice involvement. As hypothesized, PTSD symptoms mediated the relationship of PV with all outcomes except alcohol/drug use problems (which had an unmediated direct association with PV). Partially supporting study hypotheses, dissociation symptoms mediated the relationship between PV and internalizing problems (i.e., depression anxiety; suicide ideation). Implications are discussed for prospective research demarcating the mechanisms linking PV and adverse outcomes in juvenile justice and other high risk populations.

Xie, P., Wu, K., Zheng, Y., et. al. (2017). Prevalence of childhood trauma and correlations between childhood trauma, suicidal ideation, and social supports inpatients with depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia in southern China. Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 228:41-48. Download at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2017.11.011.

Abstract
Background: Childhood trauma has long-term adverse effects on physical and psychological health. Previous studies demonstrated that suicide and mental disorders were related to childhood trauma. In Chine, there is insufficient research available on childhood trauma in patients with mental disorders. Methods: Outpatients were recruited from a psychiatric hospital in southern China, and controls were recruited from local communities. The demographic questionnaire, the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire – Short Form (CTQ-SF), and the Social Support Rating Scale (SSRS) were completed by all participants, and the Self-rating Idea of Suicide Scale (SIOSS) were completed only by patients. Prevalence rates of childhood trauma were calculated. Druskal-Wallis test and Dunnet test were used to compare CTQ-SF and SSRS scores between groups. Logistic regression was used to control demographic characteristics ad examine relationships between diagnosis and CTQ-SF and SSRS scores. Spearman’s rank correlation test was conducted to analyze relationships between suicidal ideation and childhood trauma and suicidal ideation and social support. Results: The final sample comprised 229 patients with depression, 102 patients with bipolar, 216 patients with schizophrenia, and 132 health controls. In our sample, 55.5% of the patients with depression, 61.8% of the patients with bipolar disorder, 47.2% of the patients with schizophrenia, and 20.5% of the healthy people reported at least one type of trauma. In patient groups, physical neglect (PN) and emotional neglect (EN) were most reported, and sexual abuse (SA) and physical abuse (PA) were least reported. After controlling for demographic characteristics, mental disorders were associated with higher CTQ-SF scores and lower SSRS scores. CTQ-SF scores and number of trauma types were positively correlated with the SIOSS score. Negative correlations existed between SSRS scores and SIOSS score. Limitations: Our sample may not be sufficiently representative. Some results might have been interfered by demographic characteristics. The SIOSS was not completed by controls. Data from self-report scales were not sufficiently objective. Conclusions: In southern China, childhood trauma is more severe and more prevalent in patients with mental disorders (depression, bipolar and schizophrenia) than healthy people. Among patients with mental disorders in southern China, suicidal ideation is associated with childhood trauma and poor social support.

Xiang Ng, Q., Zheng Jie Yong, B., Yin Xian Ho, C., Yutong Lim, D., & Yeo, W-S. (2018). Early Life sexual abuse is associated with increased suicide attempts: an update meta-analysis. Journal of Psychiatric Research, Vol. 99:129-141.
Download at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.02.001

Abstract
Suicide is an emerging, yet preventable global health issue associated with significant mortality. Identification of underlying risk factors and antecedents may inform preventive strategies and interventions. This study serves to provide an updated meta-analysis examining the extent of association of early life sexual abuse with suicide attempts Use the keywords [early abuse OR childhood abuse OR sexual OR rape OR molest* OR violence OR trauma OR PTSD] AND [suicide* OR premature OR unnatural OR deceased OR died OR mortality], a preliminary search on PubMed, Ovid, PsychINFO, Web of Science and Google Scholar databases yielded 12,874 papers published in English between 1-Jan-1988 and 1-June-2017. Of these, only 47 studies were included in the final meta-analysis. The 47 studies (25 cross-sectional, 14 cohort, 6 case-control and 2 twin studies) contained a total of 151,476 subjects. Random-effects meta-analysis found early life sexual abuse to be a significant risk factor for suicide attempts, compared to baseline population (pooled OR 1.89, 95% CI: 1.66 to 2.12, p<0.001). Subgroup analyses of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies showed similar findings of increased risk as they yielded ORs of 1.98 (95% CI: 1.70 to 2.25, p<0.001) and 1.65 (95% CI: 1.37 to 1.93, p<0.001), respectively. In both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, childhood sexual abuse was consistently associated with increased risk of suicide attempts. The findings of the present study provide strong grounds for funding public policy planning and interventions to prevent sexual abuse and support its victims. Areas for future research should include preventive and treatment strategies and factors promoting resilience following childhood sexual abuse. Future research on the subject should have more robust controls and explore the differential effects of gender and intra- versus extra-familial sexual abuse.

Stein, M.B., Campbell-Sills, L., Ursano, R.J., et. al. (2018). Childhood maltreatment and lifetime suicidal behaviors among new soldiers in the US Army: results from the Army study to assess risk and resilience in service members (Army STARRS). The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry [01 Mar 2018, 79(2)]. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.16m10900.

Abstract
Understanding suicide risk is a priority for the US military. We aimed to estimate associations of childhood maltreatment with pre-enlistment suicidal behaviors in new Army soldiers. Cross-sectional survey data from 38,237 soldiers reporting for basic training from April 2011 through November 2012 were analyzed. Scales assessing retrospectively reported childhood abuse and neglect were derived and subjected to latent class analysis, which yielded 5 profiles: No Maltreatment, Episodic Emotional Maltreatment, Frequent Emotional/Physical Maltreatment, Episodic Emotional/Sexual Abuse, and Frequent Emotional/Physical/Sexual Maltreatment. Discrete-time survival analysis was used to estimate associations of maltreatment profiles with suicidal behaviors (assessed with modified Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale), adjusting for sociodemographic and mental disorders. Nearly 1 in 5 new soldiers was classified as experiencing childhood maltreatment. Relative to No Maltreatment, all multivariate maltreatment profiles were associated (P values <0.001) with elevated odds of lifetime suicidal ideation (adjusted odds rations [AORs] = 3.10-4.93), plan (AORs = 3.75-10.77), attempt (AORs = 3.60-15.95), and onset of plan among those with ideation (AORs = 1.40-3.10). Several profiles also predicted attempts among those with plans (AORs = 2.01-2.47), and Frequent Emotional/Physical/Sexual Maltreatment predicted unplanned attempts among ideates (AOR = 5.32). Adjustment for mental disorders attenuated but did not eliminate these associations. Childhood maltreatment is strongly associated with suicidal behavior among new soldiers, even after adjusting for intervening mental disorders. Among soldiers with lifetime ideation, certain maltreatment profiles are associated with elevated odds of subsequently planning and/or attempting suicide. Focus on childhood maltreatment might reveal avenues for risk among new soldiers.

Bjorkenstam, E., Hjern, A., Bjorkenstam, C., et. al. (2018). Association of cumulative childhood adversity and adolescent violent offending with suicide in early adulthood. Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, 75(2):185-193.
Download at https://doi.org/doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.3788

Abstract
Importance: Childhood adversity (CA) is associated with an increased risk of suicide in young adulthood that might be explained by maladaptive trajectories during adolescence. Although adolescent violent offending is linked with suicide, little is known about its role in the association between CA and suicide. Objective: To examine whether adolescent violent offending mediates the association between CA and suicide in early adulthood. Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based, longitudinal cohort study with a follow-up time spanning 5 to 9 years included 476,103 individuals in Sweden between 1984 and 1988. The study population was prospectively followed up from 20 years of age until December 31, 2013, with respect to suicide. Data analysis was performed from January 1, 1984 to December 31, 2013. Exposures: Resisted-Based CAs included parental death, parental substance abuse and psychiatric disorder, parental criminal offending, parental separation, public assistance recipiency, child welfare intervention, and residential instability. Adolescent violent offending was defined as being convicted of a violent crime between the ages of 15 and 19 years. Main Outcomes and Measures: Estimates of risk of suicide after 20 years of age (from 2004 if born in 1984 and from 2008 if born in 1988) until the end of 2013 were calculated as incidence rate rations (IRRs) with 95% CIs using Poisson regression analysis. Adjustments were made for demographics and psychiatric disorder. In addition, binary mediation analysis with logistic regression was used. Results: A total of 476,103 individuals (231,699 [48%] female) were included in the study. Those with a conviction for violent offending had been exposed to all CAs to a greater extend that those with no violent offending. Cumulative CA was associated with risk of suicide in non convicted (adjusted IRR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.5-3.9) and convicted youths, who had a higher risk of suicide (adjusted IRR, 8.5; 95% CI, 4.6-15.7). Adolescent violent offending partly mediated the association between CA and suicide. Conclusions and Relevance: Individuals with a history of CA who also engaged in violent offending in adolescence have a high risk of suicide. Interventions to prevent externalizing behavior during childhood and increased support to youths with delinquent behavior may have the potential to prevent suicide related to CA.

Bromet, E.J., Nock, M.K., & Saha, S. (2017). Association between psychotic experiences and subsequent suicidal thoughts and behaviors: a cross-national analysis from the World Health Organization world mental health surveys. Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry 74(11):1136-1144.
Download at https://doi.org/doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.2647.

Abstract
Importance: Community-based studies have linked psychotic experiences (PEs) with increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs). However, it is not knows if these associations vary across the life course or if mental disorders contribute to these associations. Objective: To examine the temporal association between PEs and STBs across the life span as well as the influence of mental disorders (antecendent to the STBs) on these associations. Design, Setting, and Participants: A total of 33,370 adult respondents across 19 countries from the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys were assessed for PEs, STBs (ie. Ideation, plans, and attempts), and 21 DSM-IV mental disorders Discrete-time survival analysis was used to investigate the association of Pas with subsequent onset of STBs. Main Outcomes and Measures: Prevalence and frequency of STBs and Yes, and odds ratios and 95% CIs. Results: of 33,370 included participants, among those with PEs (n=2488), the lifetime prevalence (SE) of suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts was 28.5% (1.3), 10.8% (0.7), respectively. Respondents with 1 or more PEs had 2-fold increased odds of subsequent STBs after adjusting for antecedent or intervening mental disorders (suicidal ideation: odds ratio, 2.2: 95% CI, 1.8-2.6; suicide plans: odds ratio, 2.1; 95%CI, 1.7-2.6; and suicide attempts: odds ratio, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.5-2.5). There were significant does-response relationships of number of PE types with subsequent STBs that persisted after adjustment for mental disorders. Although Yes were significant predictors of subsequent STBs onset across all life stages, associations were strongest in individuals 12 years and younger. After adjustment for antecedent mental disorders, the overall population attributable risk proportions for lifetime suicidal ideation, plans, ad attempts associated with temporally prior PEs were 5.3%, 5.7%, and 4.8% respectively. Conclusions and Relevance: Psychotic experiences are associated with elevated odds of subsequent STBs across the life course that cannot be explained by antecedent mental disorders. These results highlight the importance of including information about PEs in screening adjustments designed to predict STBs.

Volunteer Spotlight

Abigail Percifield

An Interview with Kate McMaugh, Editor, ISSTD News

Abigail receiving the Student Award from Rich Chefetz, ISSTD 2018 Annual Conference

ISSTD Member Abigail Percifield is well known to many of us through her various volunteer roles in ISSTD. What many may not realise is that Abigail is actually a Student Member of ISSTD and is currently completing her Doctoral studies! We think it is only too fitting, this being Student and Emerging Professional Month, to focus this month’s ‘Volunteer Spotlight’ on a member who is still a student.

Kate: Abigail, We all appreciate all that you do for ISSTD. But tell us – how did you get here? What led you to a psychology pathway and membership of ISSTD?

Abigail: My path to becoming a psychologist is filled with small coincidences and a laughable amount of irony. When I started my undergraduate career I had little idea what field I wanted to go into. I chose Biology because I was passionate about the sciences and felt this degree would open help me explore and find a career I love. I had a lot of credits from high school so I also chose a second major simply based off what I found most interesting, psychology and the study of human individuality. In a sort of ironic blindness that is so common in recent high school grads, I could not see that if I could study a topic for 4 years “just for fun” that I could probably make a career out of it.

Upon graduation I was still at such a loss of what to do that I ended up taking a job in sales and quickly learned that the business world was not made for me. With a little help from my newly matured prefrontal cortex, I was finally able to connect the dots between what I do for fun and what I could do for work. It was not easy to make the leap from sales to mental health, but through a series of small hops I eventually landed a job with Court Appointed Special Advocates and answered the call to trauma work that I had been ignoring for so long.

I now am enrolled in my third year of doctoral studies at Adler University in Chicago, with an emphasis in traumatic stress studies. Since enrolling, I have worked or volunteered with refugees, survivors of sexual assault, and communities in Chicago that live with extraordinary levels of prejudice and violence. My journey to get here was far from linear, but—to steal Rumi’s words—has taught me to answer every call that excites my soul.

Kate: Thank you. I love to hear how people come to this profession. Now, just for interest’s sake, can you tell us something most of us may not know about you?

Abigail: I tend to steer clear of most adrenaline heavy activities, but I absolutely love scuba diving. The perspective shift when you immerse yourself in a world that is typically hidden from our purview is just incredible. To me, reefs are reminders of the beauty when systems work in such flawlessly interdependent ways. Every bit of diversity is celebrated. I can’t wait to advance my scuba training and be able to explore underwater caves – if there’s anything this field taught me it is that there is beauty in the places hidden away from view.

Kate: What lead you to join ISSTD? What is your favourite thing about ISSTD?

Abigail: After a couple weeks of classes, I realized that trauma was not going to be adequately covered in my coursework. Having witnessed the incredibly complex nature of traumatic responses through professional experiences, I sought out advice from my supervisor, Dr. Henning, who directed me towards ISSTD. I did a bit of research, discovered I could get a discount by volunteering at the conference, and attended my first ISSTD conference in 2017.

Looking back, it is hard to put into words the amount of apprehension and anxiety I felt being surrounded by the people whose books, papers, and training videos I was devouring. It is hard to remember feeling that way because every person I have interacted with at the conferences have been respectful, inspiring, and welcoming. Our current executive director, Mary Pat Hanlin, found time to introduce me to people and deserves a special shout out for how much she goes out of her way to make members like myself feel comfortable. The people are my favorite thing about ISSTD, and coming from a person with more than a little social anxiety, that is saying something.

Kate: I totally get what you are saying about trauma not being adequately covered. My clinical psychopathology textbook didn’t even have ‘Dissociation’ in the index! This shows how important ISSTD is to us when we are studying. What has been important for you as a SEP member of ISSTD?

Abigail: I feel I have benefitted the most from the educational opportunities that being a member of ISSTD offers. Not only are the conferences some of the most intense and immersive learning experiences I have had during my graduate career, but the webinars are also extremely valuable. I have also had opportunities to develop in the professional sense, as well as the academic. Becoming involved as a volunteer has allowed me to learn things ranging from launching a new social engagement platform to identifying locations, plenary speakers, and workshops for future conferences.

Kate: Yes, the training provided by ISSTD is second to none! Tell us a bit about your volunteer roles in ISSTD. What are your volunteer roles and what led you to volunteer?

Abigail: I currently serve as Co-Chair of the Membership Committee with the wonderful Warwick Middleton. I am also on the Conference Committee and am beginning to get more involved with the Student and Emerging Professionals Committee.

When I first started I wasn’t sure where I could be helpful. I initially volunteered as way to feel less nervous attending my first academic conference. I keep saying yes to new roles because I am gaining professional experience in areas outside my clinical training.

Kate: When I hear this, Abigail, I am completely reminded of how I felt a few years back. I wanted to volunteer, but was not sure if I had anything useful to offer! We soon learn that ISSTD is accommodating and will help us develop skills as we need to. Tell us what is volunteering like for you? What’s good about volunteering? What do you get back?

Abigail: There are a lot of different things I get from volunteering, a couple of which I touched on above such as professional development. For example, many volunteers across committees have been working tirelessly to launch a new social engagement platform and it has been fascinating to see the many layers of work that go into making a change like that happen. I have also benefitted immensely from hearing about what sort of books or speakers other clinicians are interested in. One of the best ways I can round out my education is by reading things I typically wouldn’t be exposed to. Having the opportunity to interact with and learn from what others are learning from is truly invaluable.

Kate: Any drawbacks?

Abigail: The only thing is I wish I had more time! I wish I could get more involved and take greater advantage of the educational opportunities, but I plan to be around for a while so I’m sure I’ll work my way through things eventually.

Kate: Thank you Abigail for your generosity.

Students & Emerging Professionals

ISSTD Student Member Completes Exciting Doctoral Research

Kate McMaugh, Editor, ISSTD News

Mary-Anne Kate, a SEP member from Australia has just completed her PhD investigating the aetiology of dissociative disorders and an exploration of the validity of the trauma and fantasy models of dissociation. In this interview she speaks of the paths that took her to ISSTD, her experience of ISSTD as a SEP member, and gives a brief introduction to her research.

Mary-Anne Kate

Q: Mary-Anne, you have such an interesting CV! How exactly does one get from Western Australia to Bellingen, via Cairo? How did you end up in the field of trauma and dissociation research?

I am from Perth originally. After graduating from university I worked as a researcher providing information to adoptees; the Stolen Generation of indigenous people who were taken from their families by the Australian government; and to adults who had been placed in care in Britain as young children and shipped to Australia, sometimes without the mother’s consent. In this role I came to learn about the impact of early trauma and attachment and the complexities of identity.

I moved to Canberra to work with the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and became the national coordinator for settlement services for migrants and refugees, including trauma and torture counselling services. After a year in London at the Australian High Commission I embarked on a diplomatic posting to Cairo where I managed Australia’s migration and refugee program for North Africa.

Frustrated with the international response to asylum-seekers and refugees I then undertook my Masters in Social

Policy at the University of Edinburgh. My thesis examined the inequity of protection opportunities for asylum seekers and refugees in Western countries and was published by the UNHCR. I worked for a year as a Policy Advisor in the Scottish Health Department on issues related to the education and training of health professionals, and then for many years as a researcher, policy analyst and writer for an influential Brussels-based think tank that worked closely with the European Commission to improve human rights, socio-economic outcomes, health, and community and political participation of people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

Living in Edinburgh I missed the warm weather and outdoor lifestyle of Australia, so my young family and I would have a beach holiday in Australia each year at the end of the long Scottish winter. One year we visited Bellingen – an idyllic rural town nestled between world heritage listed rainforest and pristine beaches – and decided to make a ‘tree change’. I thought it was time for a career change too. I knew about the struggles of people living with a Dissociative Disorder (DD), and the issue had the same themes that I had been focussed on most of my working life: trauma, identity and social justice. After learning more about dissociation, I decided that I would like to conduct research in that area.

Q. What attracted you to ISSTD? Tell us a little about when you joined and how you found out about ISSTD?

I was lucky enough to have ISSTD past president Dr. Warwick Middleton as my second supervisor for my PhD, and one of the first things he suggested was to connect with the ISSTD, which I did in 2012. When I first started researching dissociation I found it difficult to find information that was evidenced-based, straightforward and helpful, so it was wonderful to tap into the ISSTD’s wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Q. As a SEP member, what has ISSTD been able to offer you?

I attended my first ISSTD conference in Long Beach in 2012. The Chair of the SEP committee Christine Forner was so welcoming and helpful as were her initiatives, including the introductory course Dissociation 101, which six years on I am now teaching with her.

Christine gave me the opportunity to bring my bookshelf to life. Through ISSTD I was able to speak with some of the most influential minds in the field including Rick Kluft, Colin Ross and Marlene Steinberg. I was in awe how helpful and kind everyone was, and about their genuine interest in my research. At my university dissociation was taught primarily from a fantasy model perspective, so it was refreshing to be amongst experienced clinicians who viewed dissociation as a defense mechanism.

I could really sense the passion and commitment of members of the ISSTD towards improving the lives of people with backgrounds of interpersonal trauma and dissociation. Christine invited me to join the SEP committee where I was responsible for the SEP column. Over the past six years I have been a member of the marketing committee, the nominating committee, and the scientific committee. I am strongly committed to the goals and ethos of the ISSTD and it is fantastic to have the opportunity to contribute in a practical and meaningful way.

Mary-Anne Kate presenting, Brisbane, 2017 (Photo by Warwick Middleton)

Q. I have read your PhD and think it is an exciting addition to our field. Could you summarise for the readers the nature of your research and what you think it offers to the field?

Thank-you Kate, I was really pleased that my PhD was able to make some conceptual and practical contributions to the field. My PhD looks at the prevalence of dissociation and the DDs and the etiological role of childhood abuse and parent-child dynamics, and then examines the implications of these findings for the validity of the trauma and fantasy models of dissociation.

My first chapter is actually a rewriting of Kring’s Abnormal Psychology, one of the world’s leading textbooks. I rewrote 60% of the chapter on DDs with Warwick Middleton to bring it into line with the scientific evidence on dissociation and traumatic and recovered memory as the original text had a strong fantasy model slant and was often inaccurate. This version became the first Australasian edition of the textbook: http://www.wileydirect.com.au/buy/abnormal-psychology-1st-edition/

In the second chapter I disprove the fantasy model by using prevalence rates of dissociation and DDs. The current construction of the fantasy model makes it very difficult to disprove as antecedents overlap with other trauma responses, i.e. sleep problems and fantasy proneness; and reality monitoring, cognitive distortions and suggestibility are all likely to be compromised by dissociative symptomology.

To get around this, I decided to test the plausibility of the trauma and fantasy models using DD and dissociation prevalence rates. My meta-analysis demonstrates the fantasy model is not a plausible explanation for dissociation or DDs in college populations. It finds 11% of students meet the criteria for a DD, which is consistent with the prevalence of experiencing multiple types of trauma during childhood, but is not consistent with the prevalence of fantasy proneness. It is simply implausible that 11% of college students are so fantasy prone that they would enact a disorder they do not have AND be exposed to enough information that could potentially enable them to enact a DD to the extent that it can be diagnosed AND then assimilate that information and believe that they have a DD. This very specific manifestation of fantasy proneness would be expected to be exceedingly rare.

Mary Anne Kate with Phil Kinsler, Sydney 2015 (Photo by Warwick Middleton)

I also found mean scores on the Dissociative Experiences Scale varied significantly across the 16 countries, but the pattern did not fit the fantasy model as rates were not highest in North America or Western countries, but in countries that were comparatively unsafe. Furthermore, the most obscure DD from a socio-cultural perspective (DDNOS-1) was the most common, which does not support the fantasy model as a person can only enact something that they are familiar with.

Chapter three outlines my research with over 300 university students. I was able to predict more dissociation using trauma and family dynamics variables than any other research study. In female students 51% of dissociation was predicted by a regression model consisting of insecure attachment, the number of sexual abuse episodes, the number of different types of sexual abuse and physical abuse, and being choked. In males 53% of MID scores were predicted by a regression model consisting of the number of sexual abuse episodes, a father who was not kind and caring, and parents who preventing independent action by organizing and problem solving on the child’s behalf. The findings of this study indicated that dissociation is most likely when sexual abuse and other potentially life threatening traumas in childhood (whether inside or outside the family) occur against a backdrop of a negative family life, including having an insecure attachment to one’s caregiver.

In the fourth chapter I examined the risk factors for clinical levels of dissociation. This study also examines the relationship between dissociation, parent-child dynamics, attachment and interpersonal trauma but compares university groups with different levels of dissociation – normal-range, consistent with a DD or PTSD, and consistent with a DD – and a fourth group comprising inpatients and outpatients diagnosed with a DD. Odds ratios for clinical levels of dissociation in females were as follows:

  • an insecure attachment style: 72 :1
  • negative parent child dynamics: 21:1
  • the mother’s role in, or response to, maltreatment being negative: 45 :1
  • any sexual abuse: 16 :1
  • being choked: 28 :1; and
  • choking or smothering and sexual abuse.106:1

To put these findings in perspective the odds ratio for smokers, as compared to non-smokers, getting lung cancer is 40:1.

Q. I hear a rumour that your PhD has been awarded a major university prize? Can you tell us a bit about that?

I have been notified I will be awarded the Chancellor’s Doctoral Research Medal at graduation, which is given to two PhD graduates university-wide in recognition of their research being of “exceptional merit and at the forefront of the field”. I was nominated for the medal by the examiners, with support from my supervisors.

Q. Congratulations. Mary-Anne. This is a well-deserved recognition. I must say I admire you, doing a PhD on Dissociative Disorders in Australia. Did you face any particular challenges and obstacles?

It was incredibly challenging and there are many stories I could tell, but I will focus on one particular stumbling

Bellingen Valley, Australia

block. It was very difficult to get ethics approval to do research with in-patients with a DD, and my ethics application was on a merry-go-round between the university’s ethics board, and the hospital ethics board for over two years before being approved.

Q. Finally, I am interested that you have settled in the lovely Bellingen valley. Actually this is not far from my country. I grew up in the upper Macleay valley, in Dunghutti country. Could you find a photo of Bellingen to share with ISSTD?

I live in neighbouring Gumbaynggirr country (for non-Australians the Gumbaynggirr are the indigenous people who are the traditional custodians of the land). It is terrific to see such a strong Australasian contingent in the ISSTD, noting that the past two presidents were antipodeans!

Letter From The President

Roll Up Your Sleeves! Time to Make a Difference in ISSTD

Kevin Connors, MS, MFT

Greetings Friends and Colleagues,

August is winding down and as we enter a new season, new starts and exciting changes are happening in our Society. Now is the time we start the ISSTD election process. If you have ever thought of having a voice in the direction of our Society and in the field of trauma and dissociation, now is your time.

Our first step is to identify a cohort of potential candidates. This year, not only are we looking for a new President-Elect, we will be choosing a new Secretary. Moreover there are up to five openings on our Board of Directors. While some of the current Directors are eligible to run for a second term, we are in need of fresh faces, new eyes, and innovative ideas.

Board members have the opportunity to make a real difference in our Society and ultimately in the field of trauma and dissociation. Collaborating with ISSTD members from all over the world, utilizing their strengths and skills to benefit our Society, our Directors contribute to meeting ISSTD goals and to fulfilling our Mission.

Board members are responsible for attending monthly Board meetings conducted online via videoconferencing. Additionally, they are required to attend the all-day, face-to-face Board meeting held annually in conjunction with our annual conference. The date for the 2019 Board Meeting is Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at the Sheraton New York Times Square. Behind the scenes, Board members are expected to serve as a chair and/or as members of the different committees that do the hard work of running a Society. They contribute to lively online discussions that shape how our Society meets the challenges facing our field.

What are the qualifications needed to become a Board member?
ISSTD is seeking individuals who are:

  • Current members of ISSTD who have sustained membership for at least the past 3 consecutive years
  • Dependable and hard working
  • Known for their ethical practice in the field of trauma and dissociation

Highly-rated nominees:

  • Work and play well with others
  • Work well as part of a team and are able build a consensus
  • Have a history of ISSTD committee membership or participation in other ISSTD activities
  • Have an interest in the overall well-being and growth of ISSTD, not just in particular projects
  • Are committed to working hard to ensure the future of ISSTD
  • Have previous non-profit organization board experience
  • Have no conflicts of interest

The Call for Nominations will run from August 30 – September 30, 2018. If you know of a colleague that will help serve our Society and further our Mission and goals, please consider nominating them. (Ask First! No Surprises!!!) Each nominated candidate must be endorsed by two other ISSTD members and complete a nominated candidate profile. Please feel encouraged to step up and contribute.

All the forms and the fine print can be found on the nominations page of the ISSTD website.

Beyond the opportunities to serve on our Board of Directors, we are also looking for a new Secretary. The Secretary serves not only as a member of the Board but also as an officer on our Executive Committee. The Secretary is responsible for recording the minutes of all the Executive Committee and Board meetings; ensuring that approved copies of minutes and the records of the organization are properly maintained. The Secretary serves a three year term and may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Those are the leadership opportunities available for this year. Every year we also look for candidates for the position of President-Elect. The person elected serves a three year term moving from President-Elect to the sitting President and then onto the advisory role as Immediate Past President. Our bylaws call for the successful candidate to have served at least two years on the Board of Directors to demonstrate familiarity with the workings of and issues confronting our Society. The role is both taxing and deeply rewarding.

Again, if you, or someone you someone you know, is qualified and interested in serving either as a Director on our Board, or as an officer of our Society, reach out and start the Nominating process ASAP!

Martin Dorahy, our Immediate Past President, is convening this year’s Nominating Committee. They will be charged with the responsibility of vetting potential candidates. The Nominations Committee will review all candidates nominated for the open positions, based on the best fit for the current and long-term needs of ISSTD. Their recommendations will be submitted to the Board of Directors for final approval as this year’s slate of candidates.

Are you ready to roll up your sleeves to make a difference and help create the future for ISSTD and the field of complex trauma and dissociation? Send in your nominations today.

Hoping you will join me and the other Board members.

All the best,
Kevin

LAST MINUTE SHAMELESS PLUG:
Please help support our $35 for the 35th campaign. This important campaign raises funds to grow and support student member opportunities and activities and to provide for our much needed website updates and improvements as well.

You can help by making a donation of any size by visiting the 35 for the 35th webpage on the ISSTD website. One time and monthly installment payment options are available.

Thanks for helping grow ISSTD!

News You Can Use

News You Can Use

Kate McMaugh, Editor, ISSTD News

 

 

ISSTD and SoWH Joint Webinar – 8 October 2018
ISSTD is partnering with Section on Women’s Health – American Physical Therapy Association (SoWH) for a webinar this October: Trauma, Abuse and Pelvic Health. ISSTD’s President-elect, Christine Forner, will join with Lauren Collins, a physical therapist and trained sexual assault survivor advocate, as well as other panelists yet to be announced. This free webinar will centralize around trauma, abuse, and how physical therapists can navigate the challenges inherent in dealing with this population. Panelists will answer questions from attendees and discuss how trauma and abuse affect physical therapy clients, how it may impact treatment, and how physical therapy providers can better serve clients with a history of trauma. More information about the panelists and registration for the webinar can be found here.

ISSTD Therapist Finalist in Prestigious Art Award

ISSTD therapist and editor of Creative Space Noula Diamantopoulos has been nominated as a finalist in the prestigious 2018 Ravenswood Art Prize, which attracts substantial competition for the $35, 000 prize. The artwork nominated was a neon art sign: Love Shouldn’t hurt created as part of a DV awareness campaign.

Noula, who also won the ISSTD audio-visual award for the Love Shouldn’t Hurt campaign, was delighted to be nominated, although unfortunately it she did not win the final prize.

Noula notes “I was thrilled to be a finalist and the publicity was a great opportunity to promote the important message that ‘Love Shouldn’t Hurt’ and that women should not put up with intimate partner violence.”

An article about the Love Shouldn’t Hurt Campaign can be read here.

Welcome ISSTD’s New Members in August!

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERS
Susan Burland
Jennifer Burton
Michelle Craig
Monica Descamps
Debra Evans
Brian Gong
Bettie Howe
Rebecca Jones
Stephen McDonnell
Adele Nicols
Maryam Rahimi
Jacquelyn Smith
Laura Stanislawski
Caron Trout
Melissa Walker
Jonathan Wolf-Phillips
EMERGING PROFESSIONAL MEMBERS
Kathryn Brown
Tamsin Embleton
Sandra Farahani
STUDENT MEMBERS
Susan Dantilio
Ramie Oakley
Sarah Swenson
Sarah Urdiales

Do You Have News ISSTD Members Can Use?
We need your help to make NYCU a great feature, full of news and connecting us all!

Do you have a book or journal article coming out that you wish to share? Have you received an award for your work in the field? Have you been part of developing a new website or training course? If so, we want to hear from you! Don’t be shy, submit your news to us so that we can share with other members.

Submission Deadline: 20th of the month
Send to ISSTD Editor, Kate McMaugh: katemcmaughpsychology@gmail.com

Clinical E-Journal

JTD and Frontiers Table of Contents (August 2018)

Journal of Trauma & Dissociation

Check out the entire library online of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation – your member benefit – now!

Table of Contents
Volume 19, Issue 1
Volume 19, Issue 2
Volume 19, Issue 3
Volume 19, Issue 4
Volume 18, Issue 5

Are you interested in auto publication alerts?
To set up a quick and each way to get a ‘new content alerts’ for JTD, go to the JTD page at Taylor & Francis and click the ‘Alert me’ button under the graphic of the JTD.

For full access to the entire library of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation (your member benefit) visit the Member’s Only section of the ISSTD website and log in with your member username & password. Need help to access? Call ISSTD Headquarters at 703-610-9037, or email info@isst-d.org for assistance.

Frontiers in the Psychotherapy of Trauma & Dissociation

Table of Contents

2018

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in Complex Trauma and Dissociation: Reflections on Safety, Efficacy and the Need for Adapting Procedures (Anabel González, MD, PhD)
  • Cross-Cultural Trauma Work With a Tribal Missionary: A Case Study (Heather Davediuk Gingrich, PhD)
  • The Potential Relevance of Maladaptive Daydreaming in the Treatment of Dissociative Disorder in Persons with Ritual Abuse and Complex Inner Worlds (Colin A. Ross, M.D.)
  • Neuroaffective Embodied Self Therapy (NEST): An Integrative Approach to Case Formulation and EMDR Treatment Planning for Complex Cases (Sandra L. Paulsen, Ph.D.)
  • The Case of the Shaking Legs: Somatoform Dissociation and Spiritual Struggles (Alfonso Martinez-Taboas, Ph.D.)
  • Treatment Outcomes Across Ten Months of Combined Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment In a Traumatized and Dissociative Patient Group (Colin A. Ross, M.D., Caitlin Goode, M.S., and Elizabeth Schroeder, B.A.)
  • Maladaptive Daydreaming: Ontological Analysis, Treatment Rationale; a Pilot Case Report (Eli Somer, Ph.D.)

2017

  • Editorial: How Close Encounters of the Completely Unanticipated Kind Led Me to Becoming Co-Editor of Frontiers (A. Steven Frankel, Ph.D., J.D.)
  • Editorial: Sources for Psychotherapy’s Improvement and Criteria for Psychotherapy’s Efficacy (Andreas Laddis, M.D.)
  • Trying to Keep It Real: My Experience in Developing Clinical Approaches to the Treatment of DID (Richard P. Kluft, M.D., Ph.D.)
  • Expanding our Toolkit through Collaboration: DIR/Floortime and Dissociation-Informed Trauma Therapy for Children (Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D. and Chevy Schwartz Lapin, MA)
  • From Passion to Action: A Synopsis of the Theory and Practice of Enactive Trauma Therapy (Ellert R.S. Nijenhuis, Ph.D.)

To access articles, log into the Member’s Corner area of the website and click on the Frontiers link in the upper right corner. New articles will be posted monthly on the fourth Tuesday of the month as they become available. Frontiers is a member-only benefit.

Membership

ISSTD is on the Move!

Mary Pat Hanlin, ISSTD Executive Director

October will be an exciting month for ISSTD as two major changes occur: the introduction of our new community platform, ISSTDWorld, and the move of the ISSTD office to Washington, DC.


Launch of ISSTDWorld

The launch of ISSTDWorld, powered by Higher Logic, is one key component of the overall website update currently underway and scheduled to be completed in early 2019. The new platform, which will be launched on Monday, October 8, 2018, will allow ISSTD members from around the globe to connect with each other more easily via groups called communities or directly with other ISSTD members. The system will replace Basecamp, which ISSTD currently uses for book club discussions, committee work, and special interest group listservs.

During the month of October, members will receive a series of emails with instructions for tasks to fully set up their profile in the system and engage with other members. The system will be tied in with our current membership system via a single password and information updates will be synced across both platforms

One key component of the system will be the updated directory feature which will allow for both a Member Directory, visible only to other members, and a public Find A Therapist Directory, which will be available via the main website when it is completed. The search options for the public directory are being overhauled to include additional categories such as payment information, treatment methods, populations served, and much more.

We believe these updates will help the public find a therapist more tailored for their needs and increase the number of inquiries members are receiving from other members as well as the public. More details will be shared about updating your profile after the system launch in October.

Our goal is to make these valuable features available to members without a substantial increase in membership dues. Please consider a donation to our 35 for the 35th campaign to help offset the costs of these upgrades. One time and recurring donation options are available. Thank you to all those who have already contributed to help with this investment in our future.

Move to Washington, DC
ISSTD will also be moving our physical office from Northern Virginia to downtown Washington, DC as of October 1, 2018. The new office at 1420 New York Avenue NW will provide us with a modern space, including enlarged conference space that will be used for future trainings. Please bear with us as we make this move as there could be intermittent disruptions to phone and email services during the last week of September and the early part of October as the move is completed. We will be updating the ISSTD website with the new address and phone number shortly and all member correspondence starting in September will include information on the move.

Board Briefs

The Latest News From Your Board

Willa Wertheimer, PsyD

Hello Fellow Members,

Another season has come to ISSTD, after a very successful celebration of our 35th anniversary. Your Board has been very busy as there is much on the move, with new developments in resources and training for our members.

This year is proving to be a busy year for regional conferences. In June ISSTD, in conjunction with CTC Psychological Services, held a very successful conference in Chester, England. In addition, there will be three more regional conferences before year’s end: in San Francisco and New York, USA and Hobart, Australia. In addition, our 2019 Annual Conference in New York promises to be an amazing experience, bringing together members from South America, India, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Canada, and America to name a few. It is amazing that technology and a common vision can connect us all around the globe.

What you will notice from your own desk, is that our online platform is changing. We are moving into a new way of connecting people and groups within our organization, via Higher Logic, an online community management system. By mid-October, we will have a much more “at your fingertips” way of connecting with our membership, groups and many training resources. No matter how remote, community and support will be there with a click! Seeing the demonstration of how members can communicate and interact was exciting and we anticipate many “likes”! If you want to read more about Higher Logic click here.

Our current SIGs (Special Interest Groups) include: RAMCOA, Child & Adolescent and Creative Arts Therapy, with the application for the Vicarious Trauma SIG being reviewed by the board and additional SIGs being planned.

Currently, there are 13 Professional Training Program courses being offered in various areas, including five teleseminar classes. In 2019 ISSTD will be offering several webinars, by Dolores Mosquera, Niki Gomez-Peralez, Colin Ross, Kevin Connors, Lynnette Danylchuk, and Richard Kluft, with new ideas always on the horizon.

This has been a signature year in creating many ways for us to relate and learn in our community. We hope that each member can feel we are available to them in many ways, all around the world.

Finally, as you will know by now, 2019 nominations for the Board are now open. Serving on the ISSTD Board is a great opportunity to connect with colleagues and support members as they undertake the challenging work of therapy, research and training in the trauma and dissociation field. Being a board member is rewarding and exciting. If you are interested click here for more information!

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