Letter From The President

Acknowledging the Hard Work of our Society Members

Kevin Connors, MS, MFT

John Kennedy stirred millions with; “Ask not what America can do for you, but what you can do for America.” I invite you to consider what you can do for ISSTD and for the field of trauma treatment.

ISSTD is, at our heart, a volunteer-based organization. While we enjoy working with some of the finest association management executives and staff (Mary Pat Hanlin, Bethany Bjur, Therese Clemens in recent memory), we need to stay mindful of the breadth and range of our endeavors. These take us far beyond the “scope of services” we contract with our management company to provide.

We have many exciting and innovative projects in the works. To get these accomplished takes time, energy, and commitment. I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the valuable members of our Society who are contributing so much.

As this President’s Message appears as part of the ongoing and evolving ISSTD News, it seems only fair to start with thanking Kate McMaugh for all she does (including her gentle nagging…err… reminders to some writers who shall go unnamed) to solicit, edit and coordinate the production and publication of a number of valuable news features every month. Her role is indispensable in keeping us informed of what’s happening across our Society.

Another new publication that is pushing the edges of our clinical envelope is Frontiers in the Psychotherapy of Trauma & Dissociation, our clinical e-journal. While Jennifer Freyd continues to edit and guide our stellar Journal of Trauma & Dissociation with world class articles, there has been a growing need for material that focuses more directly on aspects of treatment and therapeutic practices. Enter Andreas Laddis and Steve Frankel as co-editors of our new online publication. The tasks of running down articles, chasing after authors for revisions, and everything else in issuing Frontiers cannot be over appreciated. To access Frontiers and the JTD, log into the ISSTD Member’s Corner and click on the icon for each publication to view articles.

Another growing forum for clinical education is our webinar series. As ISSTD progresses into the 21st century, we recognize the need for alternative means of reaching and teaching our members and other trauma therapists. While our flagship Annual Conference is an amazing, not-to-be-missed, event, it only happens once a year. The need for ongoing training is great. Fortunately, Marilyn Korzekwa has assumed the role as Webinar Chair. Marilyn has succeeded in pulling together an all-star line-up of seven different webinars for 2018 featuring some of ISSTD’s most senior faculty addressing key topics in the diagnosis and treatment of complex trauma and dissociative disorders. To view upcoming webinars, as well as to purchase recordings of past webinars, visit this page!

We know that ISSTD is the premier place to go for clinical and academic understanding of complex trauma and dissociative disorders. Extending our reach, we seek to educate and inform policy makers on a global level. Hopefully we can contribute to a more trauma-informed dialogue influencing decisions that affect future generations and contribute to lessening or preventing interpersonal violence. To that end, ISSTD was granted special consultant status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Karen Hopenwasser is the local liaison for our United Nation Task Force and has also been identified as a Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee of the NGO Committee on Mental Health. For more information on this fantastic endeavor, please see the update from the UN Taskforce in this month’s ISSTD News.

Looking to explore additional opportunities to share our knowledge and expertise with other organizations addressing trauma and interpersonal violence, we commissioned a task force to explore Trauma and Dissociation as a Public Health Issue. Heather Hall and Michael Salter have begun work and are planning a pre-conference workshop on this topic for our 2019 Annual Conference in New York City next March.

Also scheduled as a pre-conference workshop for 2019 is a presentation and discussion amongst members of our EMDR Therapy Training Task Group. Co-chaired by D. Michael Coy and Christine Forner, the group includes Lynette Danylchuk, Martin Dorahy, Marilyn Korzekwa, Jennifer Madere, Gary Peterson, and Rochelle Sharpe-Lohrasbe. The task group is in the midst of developing the first, fully dissociation-informed EMDR therapy ‘basic’ training. Although the multi-module training for clinicians seeking initial training in EMDR therapy is presently scheduled to go live in 2020, with the group in the content development phase of the project, here they will discuss the historical, cloven nature of EMDR therapy and the dissociation field; dissociation-informed influences—and persistent gaps—from the early days of EMDR therapy up to the present; and, the particular route this task group is taking to ensure that ISSTD’s version of the EMDR basic training results in newly-trained clinicians employing a more nuanced, dissociation-savvy approach to this powerful therapy right out of the gate.

The central nexus for finding all of this information as well as our online face to the world is of course our ISSTD website. As mentioned in many previous announcements, our website is undergoing revisions to make us more visible and user-friendly. Michael Coy is also directing this process. He reports plans to develop new content for the site that will address not only clinicians and researchers’ needs for information about complex trauma and dissociative disorders but will also help answer questions for lay people and affiliated disciplines seeking fundamental facts and an introduction to the field.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on around ISSTD. This is in addition to our excellent Professional Training Program classes through the Center for Advanced Studies, four upcoming regional Seminars in Hobart, Australia, New York City, and San Francisco in 2018, and Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019. Planning is also well underway for our 36th Annual International Conference in March of 2019 also to be held in New York City. The Call for Proposals for the Annual Conference will open August 1st and close September 17th. More information coming soon!

All of this takes the time energy and commitment of wonderful volunteers. As you can see, some serve on committees, others play a role by working on time limited projects. If you would like to help out – and trust me, we can sure use the help – start by filling out the ISSTD Member Engagement Survey to let us know how you would like to contribute.

LAST MINUTE SHAMELESS PLUG: If you aren’t able to give through time and energy, you can help by making a donation of any size to our 35 for the 35th campaign. This campaign focuses on raising funds for our website updates as well as supporting student member opportunities and activities. You can make a donation here.

Thanks for all you do to support ISSTD and to support our mission of promote greater understanding and improving the treatment of people impacted by complex trauma and dissociative disorders.

With great appreciation,

Kevin

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