Committee Spotlight

Virtual Book Club

Rick Hohfeler, PsyD, Joan Haliburn, MD, and Garrett Deckel, MD, PhD

Our Origins
Some years ago our past president Lynette Danylchuk envisioned an online space where ISSTD members of all levels of experience could join prominent authors in our field for discussion of cutting-edge, clinically relevant literature. The idea was brought to life in 2014 with the formation of the Virtual Book Club.

What We Do
As it was then, it still remains our mission to bring you a lively discussion of the latest and best publications relevant to clinical work in the trauma and dissociation field. This is a free benefit of membership in ISSTD and can provide invaluable professional development and networking opportunities at no extra cost.

The Virtual Book Club offers ongoing, on-line discussions between ISSTD members and the authors of the featured works. These discussions are conducted in a listserv format on our Basecamp platform. This means that you have the opportunity to ask questions, make comments, and become acquainted with leading thinkers in our field!

Discussions are moderated by three well informed and experienced clinicians, Rick Hohfeler PsyD, Joan Haliburn MD, and Garrett Deckel MD, PhD. We strive to provide you with 3-4 books each year and various journal articles that we feel are pertinent and potentially pregnant for lively discussion.

Time frames for each book/journal article are varied, but are designed to encourage a thorough discussion of the books and articles, depending on their length and density of content. For books each discussion period can range from four to ten weeks and articles from three to five days.

Our selections aim to serve all levels of expertise and experience in our field of practice as ISSTD is an inclusive society. We believe that the literature in our field represents some of the most fertile and versatile thinking in the practice of psychotherapy. By its very nature ISSTD has been on the cutting edge of psychotherapy of complex trauma for decades. Our Bookclub showcases this innovation in a welcoming and accessible way.

Writing in the field of trauma and dissociation has now has become even more prolific, with a surge of new literature. Because of this growing momentum, we feel even more committed to helping all of our members to keep growing along with this steep learning curve. The discussion format of the Book Club also keeps us united as a Society dedicated to the treatment of those suffering from severe abuse and neglect.

In our first four years we have featured a significant number of varied books and articles. Books have included:

  • The Child Survivor– Joy Silberg
  • Communicating Trauma– Na’ama Yehuda
  • Healing the Fractured Child– Fran Waters
  • Intensive Psychotherapy for Persistent Dissociative Processes– Rich Chefetz
  • Treating Complex Trauma and Dissociation– Lynette Danylchuk and Kevin Connors
  • Healing the Traumatized Self– Paul Frewen and Ruth Lanius
  • The Dissociative Mind in Psychoanalysis– Edited by Elizabeth Howell and Shelly Itzkowitz
  • The Way We Are– Frank Putnam
  • Traumatic Narcissism– Dan Shaw
  • Neurobiology and Treatment of Traumatic Dissociation– Ulrich Lanius, Sandra Paulsen, and Frank Corrigan
  • Treating Trauma-Related Dissociation– Kathy Steele, Suzette Boon, and Onno van der Hart

Upcoming Books
We will be kick-starting the bookclubs for 2018 very shortly and promise to bring you a year of studies just as rich and diverse as was offered in 2017.

Books planned for the near future include:

  • Understanding and Treating Chronic Shame– Patricia De Young
  • Complex Psychological Trauma: The Centrality of Relationship– Phil Kinsler
  • Dissociation, Mindfulness, and Creative Meditations– Christine Forner

And lest we forget some of the original and still relevant concepts in our field, we also plan to include some of the more timeless classic literature that we feel gives perspective to our field’s developmental trajectory.

Please join us as we put our collective minds together to discover, analyze, even critique new ideas that are being generated at a fast pace. Make sure you look out for updates in ISSTD News as we launch each new Bookclub event.

We also solicit your ideas for future books and journal articles that can be added to what we already have. Please send any ideas to

Rick – rhohfeler@altlig.com
Joan – jhalibur@bigpond.net.au
Garret – deckelmd@gmail.com

Members Clinical Corner

Commentary on Lisa Butler PhD & Oxana Palesh PhD, `Spellbound: Dissociation in the Movies’, JTD, Vol.5 (2) 2004, pp.61-88.

Pam Stavropoulos, Editor, Member’s Clinical Corner

Dear Fellow ISSTD Members,

For this edition of MCC I have taken the liberty, as MCC editor, of contributing a commentary myself. This is largely because despite a few invitations from both myself and ISSTD News Editor Kate McMaugh, few readers have volunteered to contribute a short commentary on a paper of their choice from any past issue of JTD or the new clinical e-journal, “Frontiers”.

So, in introducing my own commentary on this occasion (on Butler and Palesh’s 2004 paper `Spellbound: Dissociation in the Movies’) I would like to again invite ISSTD members to register your expressions of interest to write a short (1000-1500 word) commentary on any paper previously published in JTD or “Frontiers”.

Please don’t be intimidated! ISSTD News aims for a more casual and relaxed article than a formal journal article and, as highlighted above, submissions can also be much briefer than a typical journal article. You do not need to be an ‘expert’ on the topic. This an opportunity for peer comment and analysis… or even just some intellectual pondering on the topic. Perhaps you have always wanted to write a journal article, but haven’t known where to start? Well, start with us! As Editor I can work with you and help you shape and develop the article, if necessary.

If you are interested there is an archive of previous MCC articles on the Website (to access the archive, please log in to the ISSTD Member’s Corner and click on “Member’s Clinical Corner” on the left side of the screen) This archive is currently in the process of being updated, but will still give you an idea of previous content. In addition some more recent articles are available on the ISSTD News Website (MCC Archive)

Submission dates for commentaries can be quite flexible; it would be great at this point to hear from those of you who think you may like to write such a commentary anytime in the future. The beauty and pleasure of this task is that due to the vast array of papers accessible in the JTD archive, as well as the new journal “Frontiers”, your choice of topic is virtually limitless.

Please contact me directly pstavropoulos@iprimus.com.au if you think you may like to write a commentary for MCC at any time over the next twelve months.

One of several papers addressing the theme of dissociation in culture, `Spellbound: Dissociation in the Movies’ explores issues of interest to researchers and clinicians alike. As the lead author notes in her editorial for this special issue of JTD, at the time of writing (2004) consideration of culture represented, as far as she was aware, one of the first attempts `to explore dissociative experience across a variety of relatively common, and surprisingly normative, life activities’ (p.1). As such, it also foreshadowed and delineated recurring challenges in conceptualization of dissociative processes and phenomena. Over a decade later, the questions to arise remain salient.

Of all the cultural practices to which the lens of dissociation can be applied, what is more richly suggestive than that of movie making and viewing? In `Spellbound..’, Butler and Palesh advance the provocative thesis that film makers both examine and exploit `the plot-expanding possibilities that inhere in the topics of memory, identity, and multiplicity’ (p.61). In so doing, we are told, `film-making and film-watching experience rely on the audience’s innate understanding of dissociative phenomena’ (p.61).

The authors further contend that reliance on innate audience understanding of dissociation suggests `the pervasive nonpathological presence, integration and use of dissociative processes in everyday life’ (pp.61-62). Indeed, Butler and Palesh suggest that `the act of watching a film may be viewed as a voluntary engagement in a positive dissociative experience’ (p.61).

In considering this paper, it is helpful to attune to the organising perspective which underlies it. This is the `continuum’ model of dissociation to which other contributors to the special issue on culture and dissociation also subscribe. If, as Butler outlines in her introductory editorial, `mental disorders typically reflect alterations or perturbations in what are usually ordered processes, it would seem reasonable to look for the functional value of ordered dissociation in everyday life’ (Butler, 2004:4; original emphasis).

Intriguingly, Butler does this by identifying the `pathological counterparts’ of `three general varieties’ of dissociation in everyday life – namely, dissociation as `a forum for mental processing’, dissociation as `an escape’, and `positive dissociative experience as reinforcement’ (p.5). In the first case – that of dissociation as `a forum for mental processing’ – the normative experience of, for example, dreaming, has its pathological counterpart in the processing failures of intrusive, repetitive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, and traumatic re-experiencing (Butler, 2004:7, referencing Horowitz, 1986).

In the second case (dissociation as `escape’) the potentially restorative experience of distraction from daily life stress has its pathological counterpart in `involuntary immersion’ in maladaptive behaviours deployed to manage and potentially stave off disturbing affective states (p.8). In the third case, `positive dissociative reinforcement’ relates to the narrowing of focus in activities of personal significance of diverse kinds (and which potentially include `flow’ and `peak’ experiences). This variety of dissociation has its pathological counterpart in peritraumatic dissociation, in which the gratification afforded by self-efficacy is precluded by a challenge which `exceeds or overwhelms existing resources and capabilities’ (p.9).

The above is a fascinating encapsulation of the conceptual challenges posed by dissociative phenomena and processes. It repays consideration even if the reading of dissociation as `ubiquitous’ in `normative human activities’ (p.3) is contested. For Butler et al, the corollary is that `when voluntary phenomenal self-awareness is curtailed, when the full scope of internal and external reality is no longer engaged or accessible, when symptoms persist or reactions are overgeneralised, dissociation has become maladaptive’ (p.4).

The lead author of `Spellbound..’, as all contributors to this special issue of JTD on the topic of dissociation and culture, subscribes to the continuum model of dissociation according to which adaptive, non-pathological expressions fall at one end and dysfunctional, maladaptive manifestations at the other. This is a perception, we are told, which `both the classical and modern dissociation literature’ upholds (p.63).

As compelling as a continuum model of dissociation is, however, not all in the field subscribe to it. For example, van der Hart et al (2006) caution against too capacious a reading of dissociation, and seek to distinguish and preserve `structural’ dissociation from the many other and more benign forms of psychological experience to which adherents of the `continuum’ model lay claim. The Haunted Self was published after the issue of JTD in which `Spellbound’ appears. Nor was it the brief of Butler et al to examine the limits of a reading predicated on the pervasiveness of dissociation in everyday life.

Butler’s above described distillation of the `normative/pathological’ problematic remains enormously suggestive, and deserves wide citation for its succinct presentation of dilemmas we continue to debate. Nevertheless, while the `continuum’ understanding of dissociation remains powerful, it needs to be noted that not all in the field would agree with it.

So how does `Spellbound’ elaborate its contentions? Butler and Palesh contend that many Hollywood directors have `long intuitively recognised…and capitalized’ on recent epidemiological findings that dissociative experiences `are far more common to everyday experience than previously recognized’ (p.63). Referencing Greenberg and Gabbard (1999), a particularly interesting observation is the `mysterious parallelism’ between cinema and science as alternative but complementary sites for exploration of `the same inchoate notions about perception, consciousness and memory which arose synchronously in the collective mind-set because the time was ripe’ (p.76).

Not only is this a fascinating observation in its own right. It also evokes the disconcerting notion of popular culture (in this context via the medium of movies) as generator – albeit influenced by the findings of science – as well as contributor to conceptions of mental health.

As vehicles for portrayal of interior landscapes, movies possess a number of advantages. Film, say Butler and Palesh, `is the only medium in which time can be objectively expanded or condensed to parallel the subjective change in time perception commonly reported by trauma survivors’ (69) While home entertainment systems and a plethora of devices now challenge the monopoly of the multiplex, movies retain singular advantages in depicting the myriad complexity of psychic life.

Nor is it only trauma-related dissociation that movies compellingly convey. Of course audiences view movies for entertainment. But also not only for the purpose of pleasurable distraction. As Butler and Palesh (referencing Gabbard, 2001) point out – `audiences do not attend films merely to be entertained…. The screen in the darkened theatre serves as a container for the projection of their most private and often unconscious terrors and longings’ (p.73)

In addition to the 1945 Hitchcock thriller for which the paper is named (and which `conveys two major themes that have recurred in films since: the restorative potential of examining traumatic life events and the necessity of continuity in autobiographical memory for the maintenance of coherent identity’, p. 74) `Spellbound’ surveys a wide range of movies which, Butler and Palesh contend, presuppose dissociative experience even when it is not depicted in the plot line.

A major means by which this is achieved and exploited is via the mechanism of suturing, whereby `the filmgoer is able to connect and integrate separate scenes into a coherent narrative in spite of distinct story lines and cinematic editing cuts’ (p.61, referencing Silverman 1992). Successful suturing means that critical reflection and judgement is suspended, `viewers lose awareness of their surroundings and perceive the events on the screen as life-like’ (p.65). This is a process which `parallel[s] elements of some nonpathological dissociative experiences such as hypnotic states’ (p.65).

Unconscious processes including time disruption, depersonalisation, derealisation, and other dissociative indicators are portrayed with singular effectiveness by the medium of film, which, irrespective of the particular plotline, has a range of cinematic techniques at its disposal. Thus movies do not need to be `about’ dissociation per se (even as interestingly many are) to draw upon and amplify what Butler and Palesh contend to be the innate dissociative capacity and tacit acceptance of dissociative processes by audiences.

The plethora of movies surveyed in `Spellbound’ span a broad period. They include Three Faces of Eve [1957], Psycho [1960], The Manchurian Candidate [1962], Sybil [1976], Total Recall [1990], Color of Night [1994], The Matrix (1999); Fight Club [1999; there is a wonderful separate paper on this movie by Steven Gold in the same issue], Vanilla Sky [2001] and The Bourne Identity [2002], among others. In light of this `breadth rather than depth’, and the sheer scope of the authors’ key claims about the prevalence of dissociative phenomena and processes in everyday life, it might be surmised that Butler and Palesh draw too long a bow.

But this would be to misunderstand their intention. In inviting us to reflect on `the big screen dramatic elaborations of the smaller experiences many of us confront in daily life’ (p.80) Butler and Palesh challenge us to consider instances of normative dissociative more seriously. Correspondingly, they challenge us to explain why, and on what grounds, a vast array of everyday practices are not normatively dissociative if we want to contest their reading.

In `Spellbound’, Butler and Palesh contend that `the active pursuit of (nonpathological) dissociative activities…may represent a cornerstone of everyday existence – one so common and so second-nature, that its role in our lives has not been fully appreciated or examined empirically’ (p.67; original emphasis).

Even for those who disagree with the first part of this claim, it is hard at many levels to contest the second. In their enlivening account of the processes (and frequently plotlines) represented in and by movies, Butler and Palesh have also amply succeeded in highlighting conceptual challenges around dissociation which, well over a decade later, remain ongoing.

References
Butler, L.D. (2004) `The Dissociations of Everyday Life’, JTD, Vol.5 (2) 2004, pp.1-13.
Butler, L.D. & Palesh, O. (2004) `Spellbound: Dissociation in the Movies’, JTD, Vol.5 (2), pp.61-88.
Gabbard, G.O. & Gabbard, K. (1999) Psychiatry and the Cinema, 2nd edit, Washington DC, American Psychiatric Press.
van der Hart, Onno, Nijenhuis, Ellert & Steele, Kathy (2006) The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization, New York: Norton.

International Spotlight

The Trauma and Dissociation Field in the UK: Reflections on the Last 3 Decades

Sue Richardson, Attachment-based Psychoanalytical Psychotherapist, UK

(An earlier edition of this article was published in ESTD News, 2016. We thank ESTD for permission to publish this updated version.)

Introduction: Background history
In 1989 I found myself professionally isolated twice over. Firstly, as a result of being at the centre of the 1987 Cleveland child abuse crisis, in which the medical diagnosis of sexual abuse in 127 children led to a major public inquiry (Richardson and Bacon, 1991). Secondly, as a psychotherapist with adults disclosing extreme trauma. The way in which children and adults presented in both contexts introduced me to the world of dissociation. I read as much as I could on the subject and joined the ISSD (now ISSTD) but apart from the support of my psychotherapy training, at what is now the John Bowlby Centre, I felt very alone.

In a bid to overcome this, I contacted the eight UK members of the ISSD. Remy Aquarone and Jeanie McIntee responded and in 1990 the UKSSD was launched. In 2007 the organisation merged with the ESTD. The UK membership has since remained one of the largest groups in ESTD. In addition, the UK is one of the biggest member nations of ISSTD and membership includes a significant number of UK leaders in the field.

In my experience, the development of training and practice in the UK has gone in stages. Each stage has been subject to four influences: the impact of high profile cases; the initiative of individual practitioners; the role of experts by experience and the vicissitudes of the backlash, especially the memory wars.

Stage 1: The foundations
High profile cases of child sexual abuse throughout the UK in Nottingham, Cleveland, Orkney, Rochdale and Ayrshire meant that, however much the facts were disputed, the issue of childhood trauma was firmly established on professional, societal and political agendas. An insight into the long term impact of this era is provided by Nelson (2016).

Both the UKSSD and individual professionals like Norma Howes were instrumental in bringing colleagues together to learn from established clinicians such as Colin Ross, Bessel van der Kolk and Marlene Steinberg. The shared hunger and thirst for knowledge at these events remains a vivid memory. Theory and practice were based on clinical experience in the US, where the shift from abreactive to stage-orientated work took place.

With the exception of Cleveland, where controversy centred on the medical diagnosis of child sexual abuse, high profile cases in the UK concerned allegations of ritual abuse. In 1989, Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (R.A.I.N.S) was set up for professionals working with this issue (Buck, 2008). Awareness of extreme, organised and ritual abuse developed sufficiently for R.A.I.N.S and other organisations such as Trauma and Abuse Group (TAG) to host trainings at both introductory and advanced levels led by colleagues from the US such as George Rhoades. We learned more about the impact of trauma on memory and consistently were given sound advice on avoiding leading questions and false positives. Even so, the training events were attacked by the proponents of false memory as responsible for causing moral panic and for allegedly creating a myth concerning the existence of ritual abuse. It seemed to me that the more the battle raged, the more survivors, often with pre-existing memories of trauma, came forward in the hope of finding a therapist who could help them. Learning from survivors has been an essential component of development at every stage.

Stage 2: Development of UK practice and training
UK training and practice moved to becoming more home grown. Two independent clinics were set up: the Pottergate Centre by Remy Aquarone and the Clinic for Dissociative Studies by Valerie Sinason. A small group of UK trainers were approved by ISSTD to deliver their standard and advanced courses. Responses to the material provided by the ISSTD were mixed. It reflected the work of the American pioneers and did not always resonate with a UK audience, not all of whom liked the seminar format. As a result, the ESTD UK went on to develop its own training modules. Uniquely, these were developed in an equal partnership with experts by experience from First Person Plural (FPP), the UK’s only survivor-led organisation for persons suffering dissociation, their carers and associates (www.firstpersonplural.org.uk.)

All the UK trainers are highly experienced trainers and clinicians. The days run by FPP also use experienced trainers who have a high level of personal insight, allowing them to bring clarity to some of the more complex issues. This remains a key strength of us all working together. Their contribution to the field was recognised in the 2018 New Year Honours when Kathryn Livingston, the founder of FPP received a Queens award – a British Empire Medal – for services to dissociative disorders. Her award for addressing a condition which some deem not to exist has give us all a boost. An article about this prestigious award was published in ISSTD News in January.  Alongside First Person Plural, ESTD UK has contributed to government consultations, but as yet no clinical guidelines for treating complex trauma and dissociation have been issued in the UK.

The original aims and principles established at this stage have remained unchanged: to encourage a co-ordinated approach to training; to avoid the fragmentation which can characterise this field of work; and to work collaboratively with experts by experience.

Other agreed principles are that all training should be targeted accurately at the participants’ level of knowledge and experience; specific to the needs of the UK; provide for different learning styles; use a variety of training methods including experiential learning; draw on the relevant literature; incorporate an element of self-directed and reflective learning; relate to different practice contexts; allow for incremental learning; be aware of equal opportunities and provide for difference; and be peer-evaluated using feedback from participants.

The core curriculum was established as: stage-orientated treatment; safety and affect regulation; methods of assessment; origins of dissociation of childhood and attachment issues; the structural model of dissociation; consideration of extreme/organised abuse; supervision and organizational issues; and expert by experience perspective on all topics. The target audience was identified as caregivers in the professional and voluntary sectors such as social workers, mental health workers, therapists/counsellors, volunteer workers and the health sector. Participant feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. The engagement of staff in the national health service (NHS), especially psychiatry, has been slow.

The discussion of ritual abuse became muted during this stage. In response to the controversy it evoked, practitioners were either cautious or fearful. This did not stem the flow of survivors seeking help for whom R.A.I.N.S stood as a significant resource for them and their therapists.

Stage 3: To the present
The ESTD UK training has expanded from a 4 day foundation course to additional 4 days post-foundation training, providing 8 one day modules in all. A master supervision class is run at intervals. The courses offer a progressive learning experience and solid foundation for understanding structural dissociation and working therapeutically. The post-foundation level reflects the growing number of practitioners with some training and experience.

Work to engage clinicians from the NHS is ongoing and some breakthroughs are being made. There is more acceptance and recognition of dissociation, although there is often not a formal diagnosis. The hearing voices movement also promotes a dissociative framework within its own model of recovery.

In addition, individuals are bringing about change in their own health authorities. Mike Lloyd (2015) has demonstrated the cost effectiveness of appropriate treatment. Angela Kennedy (2014) has demonstrated similar patient improvement and is advancing the provision of trauma-informed care. Remy Aquarone has helped to set up and consult to staff teams. His work with Melanie Goodwin from FPP in taking forward training to NHS staff at a hospital in Norwich, led to a 2 day ESTD UK conference in March 2017 on ‘Facing the Challenge’. This was the first major collaboration between the statutory and voluntary sectors on this issue and was attended by 240 people. Over 85% of participants gave the conference their highest rating. Most of all, they enjoyed the friendly, collegial atmosphere and the excitement and energy generated by being with a group of like-minded people.

The need for awareness raising and foundation level training is enormous. To assist in the size of this task, ESTD UK has produced a series of information sheets (available on the ESTD website) and collaborated with First Person Plural to produce an introductory training DVD, now followed by a second, focused on therapy. In addition, a co-authored article reaching out to therapists and counsellors who may be new to work with dissociation was welcomed by one of the main therapy journals (Aquarone, Goodwin & Richardson, 2017).

Another developing partnership is with the British Institute for Child Trauma and Dissociation (BICTD), which provides services to children as well as their families/carers. The Clinical Lead Therapist and ISSTD Fellow Dr Renée P. Marks is a member of the ESTD UK training group and her in-put on the childhood antecedents of dissociation is an integral component of our courses. In collaboration with BICTD, ISSTD Fellow Fran Waters recently visited the UK for a two-day national conference on child trauma and dissociation.

As far as I am aware, the John Bowlby Centre is the only school of psychotherapy in the UK which gives dissociation a significant profile during training and which openly names ritual abuse and mind control. Evaluation at referral includes pointers to the diagnosis of dissociation. The Blues Project provides a low cost service to increase access to therapy and there are a number of therapists at the Centre who work with severe complex trauma and organised abuse. Articles on dissociation, mind control and ritual abuse have been regularly published in the Attachment Journal (e.g Epstein, 2011, Richardson, 2010) and Centre members have addressed the manipulation of attachment needs inherent in organised abuse (Epstein et al, 2011).

Elsewhere, the fear of including extreme/organised abuse on the agenda has abated somewhat. The subject has re-emerged on the agenda of the ISSTD conferences. The ISSTD has recently offered a full day webinar training on this issue. The ESTD UK training group is exploring the development of a module on this issue in collaboration with the Clinic for Dissociative Studies. In 2013, R.A.I.N.S hosted a 2 day training led by ISSTD Member Alison Miller whose publications have done much to extend clinical knowledge. (Miller, 2012 & 2014). The publication of a co-authored feature on working with extreme abuse by members of ESTD/ISSTD was welcomed by practitioners (Anonymous, with BuckS, Miller A, Richardson S, Therapy Today, 2016). The spotlight of public concern has shifted to allegations of institutional abuse and its cover up, currently the subject of another major public inquiry. Meanwhile, the demand from those with dissociative conditions for appropriate therapy continues to outstrip the supply of available therapists.

Conclusion: Challenges and future directions
While practitioners still often feel isolated, I hope that no-one need feel as alone as I did in 1989. The mere existence of organisations like ESTD and ISSTD is validating and supportive. The challenge is to maintain them, to expand networking, co-ordination and collaboration and to hand on to the next generation.

Backlash still remains a factor. The early conferences described above are still quoted as an alleged source of contamination, false memory and moral panic. The challenge is to avoid being too fearful to integrate consideration of extreme, organised and ritual abuse routinely into existing theory and practice (Richardson, 2013).

The grassroots initiatives of pioneering professionals in partnership with experts by experience has achieved much. It is now time for top down recognition of the prevalence of trauma and dissociation, the need to develop resources and a training initiative which claims ownership of complex trauma and dissociation as a public health issue. Incorporating such training into other professional foundation training would be another major advance. Advances in on-line learning is another exciting focus for the future, making education more accessible to a wider audience.

The next ESTD UK conference will be held in March 2019 to continue the focus on improving services for people with trauma-related dissociation and provide a forum for these challenges to be explored.

We need to improve communication between ESTD and ISSTD in regard our respective endeavours and both the leadership of ESTD and ISSTD are committed to increased communication and collaboration between our two groups. Meanwhile, there is always a group of UK practitioners at the ISSTD conference, the next of which will be held in Chicago 22- 23 March 2018.

References
Anonymous, with Buck S, Miller A, Richardson S. Working with extreme abuse. Therapy Today 27(3): 14–19.

Aquarone, R., Goodwin, M.& Richardson, S. (2017) Holding the parts as one. Therapy Today, 28, 10, 26-29.

Buck, S. (2008) The R.A.I.N.S Network in the UK. In: Noblitt & Perskin Noblitt ( Eds.) Ritual Abuse in the 21st Century: Psychological, Forensic, Social and Political Considerations (pp., 307-326). Robert D. Reed Publishers: USA

Epstein, O. (2011) The leap from object use to intersubjective relatedness- a detailed clinical vignette. Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 5, 1, pp. 39–44.

Epstein, O., Schwartz, J & Wingfield Schwartz, R. ( Eds.) (2011) Ritual Abuse and Mind Control: The Manipulation of Attachment Needs. Karnac: London.

Kennedy, A. ( 2014) Developing dissociation informed mental health services. Presentation at ESTD 2014 Conference, Copenhagen, 27-29 March 2014.

Lloyd M.(2015) Reducing the Cost of Dissociative Identity Disorder: Measuring the Effectiveness of Specialised Treatment by Frequency of Contacts with Mental Health Services. J Trauma Dissociation. 2015 Nov 2.

Miller, A. ( 2012) Healing the Unimaginable: Treating Ritual Abuse and Mind Control. London: Karnac.

Miller, A. ( 2014) Becoming Yourself: Overcoming Mind Control and Ritual Abuse. London: Karnac.

Nelson, S. ( 2016) Tackling child sexual abuse – Radical approaches to prevention, protection and support. Bristol: Policy Press.

Richardson, S. & Bacon, H. (Eds.)(1991) Child Sexual Abuse: Whose Problem? – Reflections from Cleveland. Birmingham: Venture Press.

Richardson, S. (2010) Reaching for relationship: Exploring the use of an attachment paradigm in the assessment and repair of the dissociative internal world. Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 4,1: pp. 7–25.

Richardson, S. (2013) Installed structural dissociation: Cool thinking about a hot debate. ESTD Newsletter , Vol 3, No. 3, June 2013, 6-8.

Letter From The President

Welcome Home Travelers

Kevin Connors, MS, MFT

Gooood Mornnnning ISSTD!

Welcoming in the changes as we move into 2018, I would like to acknowledge all that has been done for us by our former Board members Warwick Middleton, Christa Krüger and Michael Dadson. They leave behind big shoes to fill. Luckily we have a great crop of new Board members in Lisa Danylchuk, Dana Ross, and Michael Salter; bringing with them energy, insights, and fresh ideas.

We are a short eight weeks away from our 35th Annual Conference. As you probably know by now, we are returning to Chicago where so many of our earliest conferences took place. To me this feels like coming home. We’ll be staying at the historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel (Hotel Information), which should be a treat in itself. However, with the stellar line-up of plenary speakers, pre and post conference workshops, and dazzling array of accepted submissions from members, clinicians, and scholars it may be hard to find time to get out of the hotel to explore Chicago’s rich architecture and historical sites.

To make our conference experience more manageable, we are scheduling a New Attendee Orientation on Friday night, March 23rd. The goal is to help attendees better understand how to navigate the hotel, use the on-line conference planner, and find the courses best suited to their individual wants and needs. With over 70 different workshops, panels, forums and papers arranged across 7 different breakout sessions, the choice can be a bit daunting.

At the New Attendee Orientation we plan to also introduce some of our senior faculty, ISSTD Board members and other notables. For me one of the joys of our conferences is the ability to network and chat with colleagues and luminaries between sessions, getting a more personal and intimate understanding of their thoughts and theories. Many of us have found ISSTD, our annual conferences, and regional conferences to be our clinical home. We hope to welcome new members into our collegial family. By the way: you don’t have to be a first time attendee to participate in this event. Stop by, learn a little, share a little.

For others on-site at the hotel on the Friday evening before the conference starts we have scheduled a fun Create & Connect Event. Tally Tripp, whose Creative Arts post conference workshops have been amazingly restorative and inspiring, is offering a chance to catch-up with old friends and colleagues, swap stories, share a drink (registration includes one free drink and then a cash bar will be available) and engage your creative, artistic self(s) while getting settled at the hotel. For $25, you get access, art supplies, and a drink ticket. Check-in and check it out.

While I’m on the subject of checking in, I want to remind everyone if you have not yet registered for the conference or reserved your room at Palmer House, time is running out. The Early Bird deadline for the conference is February 15th. After that the price for this not-to-be-missed event goes up. The reduced rates for Palmer House are only guaranteed through to February 19, 2018.

Noting that this is our 35th Annual Conference and a special event for our Society, I invite you to take a minute to reflect on all that we have accomplished in the past 35 years. This includes the development of the Professional Training Program; our honored publication, the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation; our new online clinical e-journal Frontiers in the Psychotherapy of Trauma & Dissociation; clinical and financial support for the ground breaking TOPDD Study; wide ranging webinars; and regional conferences. All of these are phenomenal activities which aim to educate and make clinicians, academicians, researchers, and the general public aware of the impact of trauma and dissociation on the lives of those struggling with the sequelae of abuse. However these activities don’t come without a cost. Moreover, we still have a long way to go in making people aware of and accepting of complex trauma and dissociative disorders.

To help grow our efforts and promote critical projects, we have launched the “35 for the 35th” campaign to commemorate our anniversary. Our goal is to raise $35,000 to develop our new website, expand virtual training offerings and expand the resources for students and emerging professionals.

Now some people have already begun donating in the theme of 35’s. In fact one person sent in $135.35! Others have sent more, some have sent less. I propose a simple plan. If each member sends only $35, we will easily reach our goal. Here is an easy and inexpensive way to contribute to significant change in our field: $35 for the 35th. Donate Here: One Time Donation or Installment Option

Thank you all for doing what you do to make a difference.

To be continued…..

Kevin

Trauma & Dissociation in the News

Congratulations to Kathryn Livingston on Winning Prestigious Award

Melanie Goodwin, in consultation with Sue Richardson and Remy Aquarone

Kathryn Livingston, a long-term member of the ISSTD, has been awarded the prestigious British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for her ‘Services to people with dissociative identity disorder and founder of First Person Plural’. This award is for ‘meritorious service worthy of recognition by the Crown’ and is an extremely important recognition of Kathryn, and through her, trauma and dissociation work in the UK. First Person Plural is the UK’s only survivor led organisation for persons experiencing DID, their carers and associates (www.firstpersonplural.org.uk).

Prior to founding FPP, Kathryn worked for Mind and Rethink, two of the leading UK national mental health charities, where she supported service users to become involved in the planning, development and delivery of mental health services and the training of mental health professionals.

Showing great foresight at a time when such service-user involvement was in its infancy, Kathryn encouraged service users to acquire knowledge of the policies, strategies and theories that professionals referred to. This enabled them to go beyond sharing their own personal experience of living with a mental health condition, to using their lived experience to illuminate and exemplify the points they wanted to make about policies, theories etc in their discussions with and training of professionals.

In turn this gave the involved service users a more powerful collective voice to influence changes in mental health services. They became experts-by-experience. Kathryn’s definition of the term is:

“someone who has personal experience of living with a mental, emotional or physical health condition and uses that experience to illuminate and exemplify their own acquired knowledge about the condition, in order to help professionals and others respond effectively to the condition when they come across it in others.”

This background work became the foundation of the work of FPP. This organisation, was formed in 1997 when an independent newsletter for people with MPD, ‘Collective Consciousness’, announced they were ceasing publication. This prompted Kathryn to ask if anyone was interested in maintaining a newsletter. Fortunately several people responded and this group founded First Person Plural. Kathryn has edited quarterly editions of their newsletter, Rainbow’s End, for twenty years, with only one small break, and her efforts have made this a valued and significant publication.

In 1999 three FPP members, led by Kathryn, ran a workshop, ‘Swings and Roundabouts’ at the ISSD–UK conference in Manchester. The workshop provided many delegates with their first experience of learning from “experts-by-experience”. Until this landmark event, dissociative survivors’ roles at such conferences tended to focus on disclosing their own histories. FPP recognises this can be helpful, but in this workshop FPP demonstrated that sharing information and supporting others, including survivors and professionals, does not require disclosing graphic details. Instead survivors were able to effectively use their experience to help others better understand the impact of abuse, and the lasting consequences, including DID.

The overall aims of FPP are to improve knowledge, understanding, & recognition; encourage & facilitate mutual support; and move towards better access to specialist assessments with effective treatment and care pathways. This is being achieved through training courses, awareness raising sessions, written information, audio visual resources, a members’ newsletter and access to online support forums.

Receiving the ISSTD audio visual media award for their training film ‘A Logical Way of Being’ in 2011 was an important and powerful point in their history. The film features three people with lived experience and three clinicians. The natural way the information throughout the film compliments both perspectives has helped people to appreciate the benefits of this collaborative way of working.

FPP believes knowledge is empowering and is best achieved through respectful, structured, inclusive and shared learning. FPP’s training programme has evolved over the last fifteen years to meet changing needs and in response to the difficult financial climate. Within their training programme they are responding to individual requests for commissioned training, including for the NHS, rape crisis centres, therapist forums, Criminal Justice Liaison, supported housing associations and many more. Some of these trainings will be co-delivered with clinicians.

An important part of FPP’s development is to work collaboratively and proactively with other like-minded UK organisations to co-produce resources, training and workshops for conferences. Through sharing the same ethos, this open and respectful approach allows many different forums to disseminate the same information, engendering a sense of continuity and uniformity.

As well as being a long term member of ISSTD, Kathryn has been a member of the ESTD since it was founded and is an influential and active member of the ESTD-UK training group. This is where the benefits and long term outcomes of a collaborative equal partnership between clinicians and experts-by-experience can be most clearly demonstrated. Initially FPP, led by Kathryn, worked closely with Sue Richardson and Remy Aquarone, both highly respected UK clinicians, and members of ISSTD and ESTD. They quickly recognised the value of this shared way of working and continue to be strong advocates for collaboration.

Through ESTD-UK Kathryn became involved in writing and presenting a progressive learning programme for clinicians, including a new online programme, where her IT skills have been vital to the whole project. The training is presented by experienced clinicians and experts by experience, led by Kathryn. The working together mirrors the need for partnership working within the therapy room and it is probably no coincidence that all those involved really understand what respectful and inclusive working is.

Kathryn is a role model to many who live with DID. She is very open about the continual internal communication and plans that have to be put in place to allow her to do this work. She is open about the times she finds it hard to function and it is inspiring that she is someone with complex mental health needs who has also achieved so much.

Last year FPP and the ESTD-UK, along with others, organised a two day conference. One consumer wrote afterwards:

‘I just want to say how important the beauty of the conference and depth of kindness amongst the people and the common desire to bring healing, hope and change was. No one seemed to be championing their own greatness and there was a real sharing of common ground’.

This feedback epitomises what Kathryn represents and has been pivotal in developing. It remains an ongoing aim for those who have been privileged to work alongside her.

Kathryn is indeed a justified recipient of this award.

News You Can Use

News You Can Use

Kate McMaugh, Editor, ISSTD News

ISSTD Board Member Wins Award for Research into Organised Abuse

Dr Michael Salter, ISSTD Board member and current Chair of the ISSTD Ritual Abuse/Mind Control/Organised Abuse (RAMCOA) Special Interest Group, has been awarded the People’s Choice Award at the annual Research Impact Competition at Western Sydney University, Australia, in 2017. The annual Research Impact Competition is an initiative to celebrate research undertaken across the University. The Competition aims to recognise academic research that is having an impact in the “real world” – that is – an impact on services, policies and the organisations of our daily lives. One researcher from each School and Institute at the University is given the opportunity to apply to take part in the competition with the 12 finalists presenting during Research Week to an audience of targeted external stakeholders and University staff and students.

Each academic prepares a five minute presentation on the effects that their research has had on policy, practice and the broader community.

Dr Salter spoke about his research with adult survivors of organised sexual abuse and his collaborations with clinicians, policy-makers, police officers and international agencies. He was awarded the People’s Choice Award, based on the audience’s vote.

This honour is well-deserved and reflects the public’s growing interest in and acceptance of organised abuse as a serious issue and one worthy of research. The fact that Dr Salter’s research won the people’s choice award illustrates the growing capacity of Australia to accept and examine a serious issue, one which has been often denied or ignored.

Dr. Salter Receiving his award

Welcome ISSTD New Members – January 2018!

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERS
Gina Baird
Kim Baldwin
Karen Haggard
Carla Hancock
Robin Kellett
Dina Levi
Margaret Martin
Melissa Pickett
Janelle Salah
Mara Stein
Helen Rosenberg Waks
Jennifer Worth
Fiona Boyle
Cynthia Brooks
Lori Grifo
Jill Hardee
Susan Hyatt
Emely Ortiz
Antony Raj
John Rasberry
Renee Rathke
Michelle Reid
Sophie Scheinberg
Desi Vasquez
Nancy Yerly
Angelina Cavazos
EMERGING PROFESSIONAL MEMBERS
Karen Daniels
Joan Friedrich
Kate Hald
George KalpaxisSTUDENT MEMBERS
Charles Benincasa
Sasha Borges-Ho
Ashley Ford
Alyssa Owens
Paula Kenney
Linda Scott


Have News ISSTD Can Use?

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! Submit your news to us so that we can share with other members!

Submission Deadline: 20th of the month

•ISSTD Editor, Kate McMaugh: katemcmaughpsychology@gmail.com

Committee Spotlight

A New Website for ISSTD? Website Committee Update

D Michael Coy, ISSTD Webmaster and Treasurer

A year on from taking on responsibility for guiding the ongoing development of ISSTD’s website, and at ISSTD News editor Kate McMaugh’s invitation, I’d like to share with you where the website has been, where it is now, and where it’s going.

When I volunteered to become ‘Website Committee Chair’, I already had in my back pocket some hard-earned experience with websites—both my own, in different iterations over the years, and others’. I was tasked by the Board to collaborate with then-Executive Director Therese Clemens on a long-discussed plan to shift from the current ‘content management system (CMS)’ to WordPress.

ISSTD’s website has continued to evolve over a period of years. The original website was developed and maintained, as a labor of love, by our very own Rich Chefetz. When ISSTD transitioned to the current web platform, which was about ten years ago and coinciding with the beginning of Therese Clemons’s tenure, it built on and expanded Rich’s original vision, and offered exactly what was needed at the time: An opportunity to shift the website from a ‘digital bulletin board’ to something more akin to a ‘public face’ for the organization, that could serve as a repository of information included on the previous incarnation of the site. In many respects, even then, we were very much—and necessarily—following trends.

Over the past five to seven years, tastes, platforms, and browsing media have changed dramatically, and has been an invitation for us to reconsider not only what ISSTD’s website is, but how it fits into the bigger picture of ISSTD’s evolution as an organization.

As we began to examine at the task at hand, all manner of questions arose:

  • Who is our audience: Is it practitioners and researchers who are already members? Is it prospective members? Is it an uninformed public looking for answers?
  • What kinds of devices does our audience use to browse the web?
  • How and where does our audience find us on the web?
  • What is our audience seeking when they find us?
  • How long (or brief) a time does our audience spend with us before flitting off to another website?
  • Where does our audience spend the most time while on the website?
  • What works for our audience, and what doesn’t work, as far as navigating content on the website?
  • How do our audience’s desires coincide with the information we, as an organization, want to present—and how we want to present it?

There was a time when gathering the answers to most of these questions could lead a Website Committee Chair straight on to ISSTD’s Therapist Finder. Thankfully, he was able instead to turn to the oracle called Google Analytics.

Because of the increasing sophistication with which people seek out and consume information on the web, website redevelopment has proved to be a fascinating and challenging process, both conceptually and practically speaking. Some realities we’ve faced, based on a review of ISSTD’s website traffic over the past year and a comparison of our site to similar organizations’ sites, include:

  1. Less content—especially on a homepage—is more. The days of treating websites as electronic bulletin boards has passed—especially in an era of impatient mobile web surfing.
  2. The information we offer must be both easily digestible and readily accessible, without redundancy and unnecessarily circuitous routes to find what’s needed. Navigation needs to be easy and intuitive rather than confusing or frustrating. (I wonder if Dr. Siegel imagined that the ‘window of tolerance’ model would be so applicable to anticipating web surfing habits?)
  3. More broadly, a healthy website means healthy, ongoing website content contributions from a variety of sources within an organization.

Curiously, or perhaps not, this redevelopment process has been one of moving from dissociation to integration, and mirrors the movement toward greater integration and collaboration taking placing within ISSTD as a whole. The support we’ve received for this project from (then) Immediate Past President Warwick Middleton and (then) President Martin Dorahy has been amazing. Feedback from ISSTD’s Board has been open and encouraging. And, the direction that Mary Pat Hanlin and Kate McMaugh have taken with ISSTD News over the past months has served as a practical template for how we are proceeding with the overall redevelopment of the website. Fostering active, ongoing committee involvement in the creation of dynamic, ‘living’ content for ISSTD’s website that responsively meets the needs of site visitors has become a major focus of the process.

With all this in mind, Mary Pat, Kate, and I are looking at the following priorities for redesigning the site:

  1. Clearing out redundant, confusing, and/or ‘dead’ content, of which there is quite a lot (over 600 discrete pages, to date, much of which is not accessed by the public).
  2. Streamlining remaining site content and developing a rolling calendar that engages relevant committees and groups in creating content updates.
  3. Making particular resources, which have previously been difficult to find directly (or simply non-existent), more easily accessible to members.
  4. Making the site ‘responsive’ so that it is viewable on phones, tablets, and desktop computers with user-friendly formatting and navigability native to each kind of device.

We are currently wrapping up mapping the website’s pages and finalizing a process by which committees will evaluate and revise website content relevant to their committee’s charge. We will collect the feedback and use this, combined with member feedback and available web traffic data, to sculpt the new site.

As far as the website committee itself is concerned, it has evolved, as well. Although it had traditionally been named as a committee, there was rarely if ever an actual grouping of people comprising it. Because of the challenges of updating a website, it seemed more logical to have a ‘webmaster’ who worked with paid staff to evaluate web traffic, identified the need for new website content, and coordinated content updates with the relevant committees. In some instances, perhaps even allowing for committees to update their own content. This sort of arrangement is pretty typical for not-for-profit organizations that rely upon volunteers to produce website content, but, owing to the architecture of the current content management system, it has not been practical. With a shift to WordPress, which is much more modular and allows for tiered access, it will be much easier for the website updating to be a collaborative effort coordinated by a webmaster and paid staff.

We made the decision to engage experts in website development in the process, rather than attempt to do this ourselves. That kind of engagement, of course, costs money—an estimated 25,000 USD. We are currently exploring bids for the work of creating the website architecture, and we have received input from a consultant who is well-versed in facilitating the kind of integrative approach we’re taking. In this 35th year of ISSTD, we want to ensure that we are looking at both the present and potential future needs of ISSTD, its members, prospective members, and the lay public.

As such, please consider donating to the “35 for the 35th” fundraising campaign, to support ISSTD’s investment in your professional enrichment, via the development of a website that can be your web home, and ours. Our intention is to have the new site rolled out by early 2019. Donate Here: One Time Donation or Installment Option

Membership

Understanding the Benefits of ISSTD Membership

As a valued member of ISSTD, we want to make sure you are making the most of your membership and are aware of the full range of benefits available to you. Over the course of 2018, we will be sending an email on the third Monday of each month highlighting and explaining all of your ISSTD Member Benefits and how to access them.

These will include information about the following:

  • How to Use the Conference Website
  • What are Special Interest Groups and how do you join?
  • How to Access Publications
  • What is the Virtual Book Club and how do you join?
  • How to Access the Webinar Library
  • What is the Professional Training Program and how do you participate?
  • How to Check for Upcoming Events
  • What are Regional Conferences and how do you participate?
  • How to Become a Volunteer
  • What is the Certificate Program and how do you participate?
  • How to Make a Donation
  • What are Component/Study Groups and how do you participate?

The first message went out in January and explains how to make the most of the ISSTD Annual Conference Website. If you missed it, you can view the video here:

We have also put together a video explaining how to update or change your information with ISSTD. You can find this video here:

If you have any questions, please feel free to email ISSTD Headquarters at info@isst-d.org

Clinical E-Journal

JTD and Frontiers Table of Contents (January 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 18, Issue 2
Volume 18, Issue 3
Volume 18, 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

  • 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 of ISSTD.

2018 Annual Conference

Connect with Colleagues at the 2018 ISSTD Annual Conference​

Abigail Percifield, ISSTD Conference Committee

ISSTD’s Annual Conference is filled with opportunities to deepen one’s understanding of the complex impact of trauma and learn cutting-edge training techniques. What is perhaps even more valuable, however, is the opportunity to socialize not only with your peers, but with luminaries in the field. ISSTD sets itself apart from other conferences in the way they provide attendees with specific activities throughout the event designed for this exact purpose. The social events planned for the 2018 conference go above and beyond anything we have done in the past as we recognize the networking potential as one of the greatest benefits attendance at our conference offers.

The conference kicks off with an orientation on Friday that details how you can get the most out of your conference experience. Valuable to students, emerging professionals, and long-standing members, this orientation highlights ways you can meet more people as well as suggestions to guide you as you decide which of our many sessions you want to attend. We’ll provide details about our Society Lounge —where you can find it and why you’ll want to make a special effort to stop by this year. Following the conference introduction, we invite you to join the ISSTD’s Creative Art Therapies Special Interest Group as they lead participants in completing their own art project. Registration for this event includes a drink ticket and we encourage everyone to make the most of their time by socializing with friends, old and new.

Our annual President’s Reception and Awards Dinner will be held on Saturday beginning at 6:15 PM. If you have joined us before for one, you already know this evening is filled with vibrant conversation and a dance floor that would make any wedding planner envious. As a first-time attendee last year, myself, I can assure you that there is no need to fret over who you will sit with at dinner. This is your opportunity to branch out and share a meal with people from around the world who share a common passion with you.

Are you considering joining a Special Interest Group? The conference is a great way to explore our interest groups and meet people who are already members of these groups. Share lunch with other professionals who are members of the Creative Arts Therapy, Child and Adolescent, or Ritual Abuse / Mind Control / Organized Abuse Special Interest Groups. These lunches are a great time to learn more about what these groups offer or to connect with people that you haven’t seen in a while.

As a graduate student and first-time attendee last year, I was anxious at the thought of being surrounded by people that I recognized as the top names in the study of complex trauma. If this sounds like you, I strongly recommend that you consider joining us for our Student and Emerging Professional Lunch. This lunch facilitates introductions with the researchers and clinicians who have helped to make the field all that it is today. You’ll have an opportunity to meet other people who may be attending the conference for the first time, or are just embarking on their journey to become an established trauma professional. ISSTD makes a special effort to make you feel welcome and there are many opportunities that can help you get better connected within the field. Beyond the events listed above, I would encourage you to consider volunteering to be a Conference Ambassador—an opportunity that provides you with a way to save money on registration while giving you an excellent reason to introduce yourself to other attendees.

ISSTD’s 35th Anniversary Conference is designed to maximize ways for you to interact and connect with other people who are passionate about trauma and dissociation. Please visit our conference webpage if you haven’t registered for the conference yet or would like more information on the social events planned for 2018. We can’t wait to see you there!

© 2018 International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.  |  Home  |  Contact Us  |  About ISSTD  |