Kevin Connors, MS, MFT
Greetings Dear Colleagues,
I have the joy of wearing two hats; the shiny president’s chapeau and a hard hat for the hard working Annual Conference Committee. I am going to focus on the latter role and the current plans and progress of the Conference Committee as we prepare for the 2019 World Congress on Complex Trauma: Research | Intervention | Innovation.
I hope you are all aware that the 2019 conference will be held in New York City from March 28th through April 1st at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in the heart of New York’s theatre district. The Conference Committee has been diligently working to create an outstanding line-up of plenary presentations, pre-conference workshops and special events to make this conference truly memorable. This year we are faced with even greater challenges which in turn afford us new opportunities. Or as a wise person once said, “I have some good news and some bad news.”
Over the past few years, and continuing this year in New York, we have experienced a steep increase in the price of producing our premiere event. Food and beverages costs are higher while audio/visual expenses have nearly tripled. All the while we strive to hold the conference registration fees unchanged. This leads us to make cuts and compromises in other areas.
The first and foremost change will be to move our Awards ceremony from a dinner extravaganza to a more informal and intimate luncheon. I understand that many of you may be upset at this announcement and feel the only way to assuage your grief will be to use the extra free time on Saturday evening to take advantage of our hotel’s prime location in the heart of New York’s theatre district and go out to explore the “Big Apple”.
There will be a few changes in 2019 schedule. Notably, there will be fewer 3 hour workshops. Further, we will reduce the overall number of breakout sessions offered each day. Accordingly the competition for those will be fierce. The payoff will be in an even higher caliber of meaningful conference content, clinical offerings and research findings.
That said, the heart and soul of our conference are the submissions from the members. Our Call for Proposals will launch August 1, 2018 and end on September 17. There will be no extension to the deadline. We are encouraging prompt submissions and all those who submit a proposal by August 31, 2018 will be eligible to enter a draw for a year’s free membership. As in the past few years, proposal submissions will be be managed on-line. You can find submission guidelines and the link to the submission site on the conference website.
Put your thinking caps on. What creative new ideas and treatment strategies have you been developing? Coordinate and collaborate with your colleagues to create panels and forums to share your thoughts and to expand our common knowledge base. We are hungry for your most recent research.
I encourage our Special Interest Groups to plan and submit workshops that can be organized into mini-tracks that run throughout the conference. I suggest that each SIG start a series of on-line discussions looking to coordinate a string of solid presentations. If they can create three 90 minute presentations, we can offer a day long mini track with one in each of the three break-out sessions on either Saturday or Sunday. If your SIG can put together seven 90 minute offerings, the special interest track could run the length of the conference.
There are important keys to writing a good submission. The material must be solidly grounded, with a strong basis in research and clinical wisdom. The presentation needs to be well written, without misspellings or grammatical errors. I realize some of our foremost thought leaders are not primarily English speakers or have expressive language difficulties. Please invite a colleague to look over your submission for editing suggestions and to clean up formatting. When crafting your abstract, help the reviewer understand what makes your material unique and relevant. Identify who might be best served by learning about your approach.
The conference workshops and symposia will be showcased by a stellar line up. Our plenary dream team leads off with Gabor Mate presenting on Compassionate Inquiry. Stephen Porges, discussing Polyvagal theory, follows on Sunday. Allan Schore, one of the top experts in the neurobiology of attachment, closes on Monday.
A special highlight for our World Congress will be an international panel discussing trauma and dissociation from a global perspective. This panel includes Gabor Mate, Sandra Baita from South America, Vedat Sar from Turkey, Christa Kruger from South Africa, Dolores Mosquera from Spain, and Adithy from India.
While the main body of the conference starts on Saturday, March 30th, immediately preceding are two days filled with intensive, in-depth pre-conference workshops. These workshops offer a broad range of clinical materials; from fundamental information that anyone approaching work with profoundly traumatized clients needs to know, to advanced techniques and nuanced ways of conceptualizing the intricate dynamics of dissociative disorders.
On Thursday, March 30th, the courses offered include:
- Sandra Baita presenting her work with children and adolescents;
- Heather Hall and Michael Salter discussing dissociation and trauma as a public health issue;
- Rochelle Sharpe Lohrasbe teaching sensori-motor applications and interventions; and
- D. Michael Coy and select members of the ISSTD’s EMDR Therapy Training Task Force will give us an overview and updates on the development of an EMDR therapy standard training for ISSTD.
On Friday, March 29th course offerings include;
- Ken Benau and Sarah Krakauer exploring Shame and Pride with Relational Trauma;
- Michael Salter and members of the Ritual Abuse, Mind Control, and Organized Abuse Special Interest Group addressing issues in understanding and treating organized abuse;
- Christine Forner leading an exploration into the fundamentals of understanding and treating dissociative disorders;
- Rick Kluft presenting on advanced treatment issues; and
- Kathy Steele will be joined by colleagues Suzette Boon and Dolores Mosquera to discuss Working with Integrative Failures across Diagnostic Categories.
Please share this information with your colleagues who aren’t yet members. Our conference and our Call for Proposals are open to all interested clinicians and researchers. They may have valuable ideas and insights to share with us; while attending our conference is an excellent way to introduce them to ISSTD.
In great anticipation of what is to come, I look forward to hearing from you.
All the best,
LAST MINUTE SHAMELESS PLUG:
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