Letter From The President

Coming of Age in an Age of Interesting Times

Kevin Connors, MS, MFT

Greetings friends & colleagues,
There is a saying of dubious origins: “May you live in interesting times”.

I fear that this is more relevant today than at any other time in the past half-century. Without stirring the political pot, I am mindful that we confront numerous challenges to our fundamental human dignity. Groups attack each other with disregard to facts. Ad hominem attacks and mockery have replaced civil discourse.

Hackers and other groups are accessing our personal data, not only to steal our identities for profit, but now to develop marketing trends to manipulate people and movements. Given our dependence on and significant use of numerous internet sites to stay connected and informed; we must question where and when are we safe?

To address the issue of on-line/internet transparency, ISSTD has moved to meet the requirements of the newest data protection regulations. On May 25th, an important law passed by the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation, came into effect. The GDPR affects how groups collect, maintain, and use personal data. As ISSTD is an international organization conducting business in and with members of the EU, we needed to do our part to be in compliance with the EU regulation.

To that end, your Board of Directors discussed and approved a Privacy Policy that became effective on May 25, 2018.
The preamble states:

This Privacy Policy governs the manner in which the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users (each, a “User”) of the http://www.isst-d.org website (“Site”). This privacy policy applies to the Site and all products and services offered by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.
The ISSTD Privacy Policy can be reviewed here.

I want to circle back to the larger issue of human dignity. We, who treat and study the impact of interpersonal trauma, see the cost of inequities and inequalities, the cost of abuse. We advocate for treating our clients with the utmost respect. We demonstrate and embody human dignity when we establish a safe and welcoming therapeutic framework in which to meet and address the extreme abuses and outrageous insults our clients have endured. We ask them to respect themselves, their dissociated self-states, and us as part of that healing alliance.

Yet I am mindful and curious that we must occasionally prompt ourselves to treat our colleagues and peers with the same “I-Thou” regard. I am struck by the need to measure our words, our letters and text messages with an eye to the feelings of our peers as we would to our regard for family, friends, and clients. So many colleagues speak of ISSTD as their clinical home and safe haven in a professional world that is often unkind to proponents of trauma and dissociation. How do we individually and collectively strive to ensure that safe haven still stands?

As part of the ISSTD growing pains, the Board has found it to be an essential aspect of an organization’s ‘Coming of Age’ to need to establish a policy outlining ethical standards of conduct for and between members. (ISSTD Member’s Code of Conduct adopted 14 November 2017) The opening paragraph reminds us:

“… ISSTD is dedicated to the academic and professional development of its members by providing sound training and resources for students and emerging and seasoned professionals, as well as promulgating guidelines to encourage ethically sensitive and responsible treatment of, and research concerning, persons with experiences of chronic trauma and dissociation. Just as we maintain certain expectations for ourselves in the context of working with such persons in professional settings, it behooves us to hold ourselves to expectations in our collegial interactions. The following Code of Conduct has been developed in the spirit of encouraging independence, maturity, and respect for the rights, viewpoints, and self-determination of all members of ISSTD.

Our common humanity transcends the divisions between us: between our roles, our politics, and our status. May we continue to greet each other with kindness and respect when next our paths cross.

All the best,

Clinical E-Journal

JTD and Frontiers Table of Contents (May 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


  • 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.)


  • 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.

News You Can Use

New Colin Ross Book on DID Treatment

Kate McMaugh, Editor, ISSTD News

The latest book from ISSTD Fellow and Past President, Colin Ross, MD, offers therapists practical and accessible strategies and techniques for the treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder: Techniques and Strategies for Stabilization is written in a similar practical and ‘how-to’ vein as one of his earlier books Trauma Model Therapy. A Treatment Approach for Trauma, Dissociation, and Complex Comorbidity (co-authored with Naomi Halpern).
It will be useful to many therapists, particularly those new to the treatment of DID. The information is presented in a brief, to-the-point format which is quick and easy to access for therapists. The book also includes many illustrative therapist-client dialogues.
Topics covered include:

  • When to suspect and how to diagnose DID
  • Explaining DID to the client
  • Therapeutic neutrality
  • Talking through to the alters
  • Orienting alters to the body and the present
  • Journaling, drawing, therapeutic letters, and homework assignments
  • Group therapy for DID
  • Working with dangerous alters; and
  • Ritual abuse and mind control cases

Treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder: Techniques and Strategies for Stabilization is available to order at the following:


(Remember to Use your Amazon Smiles to raise money for ISSTD)

Welcome ISSTD’s May New Members!

Kathleen Brennan
Steve Carlson
Sinead Fahey
Sara Franks
Alice Godfrey
David Kleinschuster
Ailine Ostby
Amy Padron
Suzanne Rouleau
Claudia Warren
Shoshana Elkins
Rebecca Gerbig
Briar Haven
Brenda Hayes
Jewel Jones
Andrea Patten
Carolyn Waterstradt
Kimberlee Harrison
Charles Martinez
Gail Phelps
Katrina Klaehn
David Smith

Patricia Baginski
Kristine Fleitz
Graham Pringle

Have News ISSTD Members 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 News Contact:
ISSTD Editor, Kate McMaugh: katemcmaughpsychology@gmail.com

Board Briefs

The Latest News from Your Board

Willa Wertheimer, PsyD

The ISSTD Board is a busy group of members who meet every month for 90 minutes, to oversee the activities of the Society and drive many projects to help our Society grow and develop. Here are some of the newest developments.

The Board has been overseeing our regional and annual conference program planning, to continue to provide a wide array of learning opportunities. It may seem far off, but planning has been underway for the 2019 Annual Conference, in New York. There will be a great variety of education and resources.

Significant improvements are coming along with our website, so that it is easy to navigate, educational and inspirational. There will be many interesting ways to connect with other ISSTD members and build community.

Education and research are essential components of a continuing growth in our field. We are starting several Professional Training Program classes this Fall, both in person and online via teleseminar. Also available are several webinars on a variety of topics, including full-day programs, with continuing education credit. Some examples include:

  • June 8th – Dr. Phil Kinsler will be presenting Relational Aspects of Therapy. Register Here!
  • July 13th – Dr. Dolores Mosquera presents EMDR and Dissociation: An Introduction to the Progressive Approach. Register Here!
  • September 21st – Christine Forner and Mary-Anne Kate bring us a full-day webinar, Dissociation 101 Register Here!

You can register to attend these webinars live, or listen to them later as a recording.

On other Board matters: We are currently reviewing submissions for the David Caul Grants and will be announcing winners in June.

ISSTD’s new clinical e-journal Frontiers in the Psychotherapy of Trauma & Dissociation has been growing. If you have not already done so, check out the latest edition by logging in to Member’s Corner and clicking on the Frontiers image at the top right of the page.

These are the latest headlines of what the Board has been working to provide for trauma clinicians and allied resources around the world. Our next Board meeting will be June 23rd. Further updates will be in ISSTD News in August.

Journal of Trauma & Dissociation

Two Important Opportunities for Publication in the JTD!

Trauma, Advocacy, and Social Movements
A Special Issue of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation

Special Issue Guest Editors: Joan Cook, Alec Smidt, and Alexis Adams-Clark
Deadline for Submissions: December 1st, 2018

The list of major societal ills is long — racism, poverty, gender discrimination, homelessness, domestic violence, sexual assault, hate crimes, human rights violations, homophobia, to name a few. As trauma specialists, we know that profound oppression, marginalization, discrimination, and disenfranchisement underlie, contribute to, and complicate a person’s recovery from trauma, violence, and abuse. Understandings of trauma are intricately tied to real-world social issues and movements, and trauma research can be used to inform activism and advocacy. To further research in this area, we are inviting submissions for a special issue of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation focused on the scientific study of trauma advocacy and its impact in helping mitigate the negative consequences of trauma.

We are primarily seeking reports of original empirical research. But comprehensive reviews or meta-analyses of existing research, clinical case studies, clinical conceptualizations, and theoretical papers will also be considered. All submissions deemed potentially appropriate by the special issue editors will undergo peer review. The papers will be evaluated on their topic relevance, methodological rigor, scientific and/or clinical value, and implications for application. Final acceptance will depend on approval by the special issue editors and the editor-in-chief of JTD.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to the following issues related to the intersection of trauma, advocacy, and social movements: The influence of advocacy in assisting survivors in the process of their recovery, traumatic experiences as motivators for advocacy and activism, advocacy and dissemination of trauma science/research, trauma-related public policy advocacy, the impact of social movements (e.g., #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter) on trauma survivors’ healing or on public perceptions, how psychologists/mental health professionals engage in trauma advocacy, the effects of advocacy training on health providers’ knowledge, attitudes and participation;, and how trauma advocacy can combat stigma and prejudice against survivors.

Again, these topics are examples only; the guest editors are open to a variety of topics and interested in receiving submissions related to the overall scope of this special issue.

Complete submissions will be accepted for consideration until December 1st, 2018. Please refer to the journal website for specific submission requirements (including a submission checklist) and more information about the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation: http://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/jtd/. Submissions should be submitted through the ScholarOne system: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/wjtd ; when entering the title of the submission into ScholarOne, please append the words “SPECIAL ISSUE” to the manuscript’s title when entering it into the title section of the submission portal.

We welcome your questions and correspondence prior to submission. Interested authors are also welcome to submit abstracts for feedback from the special issue editors regarding the fit of their proposals for this issue (jtd.advocacysocialmovements@gmail.com).

If you are interested in serving as a reviewer for this special issue, please contact the special issue editors (jtd.advocacysocialmovements@gmail.com).

Book/Media Reviewers Wanted

Kathryn (Kat) Quina, the new associate editor for book/media reviews for the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, is seeking reviewers for several books as well as individuals interested in being advised of future review opportunities. These reviews focus on academic works, but memoirs or movies that make an important point for JTD readers will also be considered. For more information about reviews, see http://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/jtd/bookreviews.html

The books currently needing reviews are:

Jerry Flores, Girls, Surveillance, & Wraparound Incarceration.

Dylan Rodriguez, Suspended Apocalypse.

Briere & Scott, Principles of Trauma Therapy.

Frank Putnam, The Way We Are. https://www.amazon.com/Way-Are-Influence-Identities-Personality/dp/0998083305

Richard Gartner, Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men: The Trauma of Sexual Abuse and Healing Sexually Betrayed Men and Boys: Treatment for Sexual Abuse, Assault, and Trauma (These two books would be reviewed together as they are basically Volume 1 and 2)
https://www.routledge.com/Understanding-the-Sexual-Betrayal-of-Boys-and-Men-The-Trauma-of-Sexual/Gartner/p/book/9781138942226 and

Yochal Ataria, Body Disownership in Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

If you are interested in conducting a review, or would like to recommend a book for review, please contact Kat at kquina@me.com


ISSTD Looking to Establish Three New SIGs

ISSTD Special Interest Groups (SIGs) provide ISSTD members with information and support targeted to specific areas within the trauma and dissociation field. Developed by members, for members, they are open to all ISSTD Members who share that interest. Members of our current SIGs report finding these forums a valuable source of education, information and collegiate support.

ISSTD is pleased to announce that several members have put forward exciting proposals for future SIGs. However, in order to move ahead with these ideas we need to determine the level of interest among members. If you are interested in participating in any of these new SIGs, please email the contact for the group.

Veterans’ Special Interest Group
The mission of the Veterans’ SIG is to advance the knowledge, research, and treatment of military related trauma spectrum disorders. Post traumatic stress presentations in Veterans are often complex and unique, and their needs for recovery do not always fall within the scope of a traditional PTSD diagnosis or manualized therapies; However, treatment can often be limited by systemic barriers. Thus the need for creative approaches, new ideas, and advocacy for both Veterans and their providers are important. This SIG would provide an environment of support, feedback, and creative strategies to enhance the care and understanding of military related trauma.

SIG Contact:
Heather N. Kacos, Psy.D.

Couple and Family Therapy Special Interest Group
I am interested in starting a Couple and Family Therapy SIG to bring together clinicians and researchers who work with couples and families in the context of trauma. What I have found over the past many years is that those of us who do couple and family work find ourselves divided–we attend couple and family conferences and continuing education sessions, and we attend trauma conferences but rarely do the two areas intersect. It would be the mission of this section to bring together clinicians and researchers working with traumatized couples and families to bridge that gap and develop opportunities for networking, continuing education and research that are specifically geared to trauma focused work with couple and family systems.

Of course, the mission of the group will be developed with SIG members, but I can see us working to develop a listserv to share resources, discuss clinical issues and engage in journal watch type activities; collaborative workshops and symposia at the conference; developing a special issue for JTD or Frontiers on couple and family work and generally providing support and community for those of us who straddle these two worlds.

SIG Contact:
Heather MacIntosh,

Transitional Age Youth Special Interest Group
The mission of the TAY Special Interest Group (transitional age youth being 18-24 years old) is to create a space where mental health clinicians who work with this population can connect and collaborate around effective assessment, research, and treatment in the areas of trauma and dissociation as it applies to TAY. It is also a space where clinicians who are new to working with this age range and the specific areas of difficulty that TAY often navigate can gain support as well as guidance in their work. In addition, the group will discuss ways to promote awareness among clinicians and other care providers of the unique ways in which trauma and dissociation manifest among TAY.

SIG Contact:
Katie Keech, LMFT

Interested in starting a Special Interest Group? Click here to learn more about the guidelines and registration process.

Creative Space

Seeking Works on Self Care and Expressive Arts

Creative Space is a new place for members to express their creative selves and share some of their work. For our next feature we are seeking submissions from therapists who use the expressive arts as a way of self care. Whether you write poetry, paint, draw, sculpt, collage, take photos or use any other creative form of self expression, we would like to hear from you. I encourage you to share your process with our community to help all of us pay attention to ourselves in creative ways.

If you choose to submit a piece of writing or photos of artwork please accompany it with a short piece (around 50 words) answering the following questions:

  • How does this form of self expression support your well being?
  • When do you engage in this process and how often?

Submit all pieces to Noula at ilove@nouladiamantopoulos.com.

These will need to be submitted by: Monday 25 June for July publication.
In the meantime, perhaps to inspire you, we offer you a beautiful poem by Orit Badouk Epstein.

Trauma Therapy

If I give you my story
how would I know
that you won’t turn it
into rock and stones
rigid like my battered bones?
That your ears are not so broken
and your heart is not so shaken
like mine
that your imperfect mind
will not use some cheap metaphors
that our projections (you call countertransference)
become your shrine
and that your patient smile
is not for me to abhor
Instead, little by little
you can tell
that the need for my hell
Is to become a feather
then sail
floating on a broken wave
away from the daily rave
to unknown land
still close to our hearts
yet slightly further from the past
repeating old mistakes
(Admit) your truth is not universal
but for me to choose and take
I think that’s what you mean
when you talk about trust

Orit Badouk Epstein

Committee Spotlight

Member Engagement Committee

Logan Larson, LPC, Member Engagement Committee Co-Chair

The ISSTD would not have been born, nor would it survive, without its member-volunteers! Currently co-chaired by Logan Larson and Lisa Danylchuk, what used to be known as the Volunteer Committee has recently been “rebranded”. Now, known as the Member Engagement Committee, the group is dedicated to helping members find their place within the ISSTD. Although in the past this committee has been a committee of one or two, restructuring has allowed us to grow and ensure that those who want to be more engaged are able to do so.

One of the main goals of the Member Engagement Committee is to connect ISSTD members with opportunities for involvement that are right for them. Although the ISSTD is home to several committees and task forces, there are also opportunities that arise which are less intensive.

Obviously many ISSTD members come to us with skills and expertise in many areas and we value them sharing those skills with us. If you have a particular talent in marketing, writing, event management, media etc then we’d love to hear from you.

However you don’t have to be an expert to help out. Volunteering in ISSTD can be a great way to learn new skills and build your resume:

  • Have you ever wanted to learn more about organising big events? Join a conference organising committee, or just volunteer to help at the event.
  • Have you ever wanted to learn more about marketing and advertising? Volunteer to help out with developing brochures or with our social media campaigns.
  • Have you ever wanted to improve your writing or editing skills, but going straight to a big journal feels scary? Consider writing or editing for ISSTD News.
  • Do you like social media? A fan of Facebook, Linked In or Twitter? If so – we would love to hear from you. We need people to occasionally assist in sharing information about ISSTD, and trauma and dissociation in general, through these forums. Think of it as a simple, fun way to raise awareness.

If you put up your hand to help out there will be plenty of others to show you the ropes and help you learn any of the skills you need.

To become more involved with the ISSTD and learn about opportunities for engagement, reach out to headquarters, Logan or Lisa. Let us know your interests, skills and if you would like to pursue full committee membership.

You will be added to our Member Engagement Committee list, which will allow you to correspond with us and other group members via Basecamp (current software platform).

At our bi-monthly Committee Chair Roundtable meeting, we will present a list of ISSTD members who are desiring committee or task force membership, and obtain information about projects and tasks that each committee needs help with.

Once a member has been placed on another committee, they may choose to remain on the Member Engagement Committee or request to be taken off the list.

The Member Engagement Committee is a “low commitment” committee. Members who are not interested in any other committee, but would like to be involved are welcomed to remain on the Member Engagement Committee until an opportunity for volunteering comes along that feels right – and of course they are also welcome to stay beyond that if they choose!

Most of our communication is through Basecamp and e-mail, with an optional meeting taking place via ‘Zoom’, held quarterly. Becoming more engaged with the ISSTD is an opportunity to network, be heard, share ideas and give back.

Remember that this organization is only as strong as its members, and volunteering is a great way to support ISSTD.

If you are interested in becoming more involved with the ISSTD, please take the time to complete the ‘Member Engagement Form’ on the ‘Members Corner’ page of the website.

Click on this link to access the form:

Alternatively Email ISSTD headquarters at info@isst-d.org

If you are interested in getting involved with ISSTD News, there are a number of volunteer opportunities available now! You can read more about these opportunities in this article: Volunteer Opportunities for ISSTD News

We look forward to hearing from you!

Regional Conferences

New Regional Conference in Hobart, Australia Planned for September 2018!

In a first for both ISSTD and Australia, an exciting regional conference on Complex Traumatic Stress Disorder (CTSD) will be held in Hobart, Tasmania in September 2018.

Hobart, Tasmania

This regional conference will be in workshop format and will be presented by ISSTD members and complex trauma experts, Dr. Joan Haliburn and Dr. Jan Ewing. Delivered over one and half days on 14-15 September, 2018, this conference will deliver cutting-edge professional development in a unique setting, the delightful island-state of Tasmania, located off the south coast of mainland Australia.

The conference promises to be both a didactic and clinical exposition of trauma and its complexities, often the result of trauma in early childhood and compounded with later traumatic experiences resulting in CTSD.

Beginning with an introduction to the “Big Four” conceptual models that inform the understanding and

Cradle Mountain, Lake St. Clair, Tasmania

treatment of CTSD, the presentations will then explore attachment theory, the central role of attachment, and resilience, before moving onto the phase model of psychotherapy i.e. early, middle and late phase to ending therapy. Additionally, it will cover the impact of shame, grief and loss, and incorporate a recovery model of self-compassion and self-acceptance. These presenters have a wealth of theoretical knowledge and clinical experience which will be illustrated by ample clinical material to complement the didactic presentation.

This regional conference will be held in the very comfortable Blundstone Arena Function Centre, Bellerive, in Hobart, Tasmania. Bellerive is located on the eastern shores of the Derwent River, just 10 minutes-drive from Hobart CBD and 10 kilometres from Hobart International Airport.

Bruny Island, Tasmania

While this conference offers a great opportunity for professional development for those living in Tasmania, don’t let this conference just be for Tasmanians! Consider this workshop as not just great professional development, but also a stepping stone to a well-deserved break in Tasmania.

Hobart is ideally placed to explore this delightful island, possibly one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. Hobart, a picturesque small city situated along the scenic Derwent River, has a rich convict heritage and many beautiful sandstone buildings. It has a cool temperate climate, a variety of quality accommodation, art galleries, wine bars, cafes and many restaurants, where fresh seafood from the

A friendly Pademelon, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

Southern Ocean is a specialty.

Hobart is also an ideal base from which to explore the rest of Tasmania. Stunning Bruny Island is just a day trip away and the World Heritage Listed site of Port Arthur, considered one of the world’s best preserved convict sites, is a short day trip from Hobart. If you wish to have a longer stay and drive a little further afield you can visit lavender farms, vineyards, or enjoy sensational bush-walking in some of the best-protected wilderness in the world. (Almost a fifth of Tasmania is World Heritage Listed wilderness). For the more adventurous among you Tasmania is quickly becoming known as a world class mountain-biking and rock-climbing destination.

You are invited to participate in this exciting new regional conference, and to enjoy what Hobart, Tasmania has to offer. A full copy of the program is available here: Hobart Conference Website


Focus on ISSTD History

Obituary for Giovanni Liotti (27.3.45 – 9.4.18)

Benedetto Farina, MD, PhD, and Adriano Schimmenti, PhD, DClinPsy

Giovanni Liotti, who sadly passed away in April 2018, was one of the fathers of cognitive psychotherapy in Italy, founder and past president of the Italian Society of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy and prominent scholar of traumatic dissociation. Gianni (to friends and colleagues) used to describe himself as a “pied noire” because he was born in Tripoli (Libya) in 1945 and lived there until he was sixteen. In Tripoli he grew up inside a cultural melting pot where Italian, Arabic and Jewish elements were integrated in a peaceful framework. This integrated multiplicity has been one of the main features of Gianni’s personality and his intellectual background. He was indeed a tireless, inquiring researcher and intellectual, who explored and integrated very different fields of knowledge. This capacity brought him to personally meet John Bowlby and to become one of the most original scholars in the field of attachment theory, by both adopting the theory in the background of cognitive behavioural psychotherapy (Guidano & Liotti, 1983) and advancing the understanding of attachment disorganization as a potential precursor of dissociation (Liotti, 1992).

In a milestone bestseller book that he wrote with Vittorio Guidano entitled Cognitive Processes and Emotional Disorder (1983), Liotti proposed attachment theory as a developmental theory for CBT. He hypothesized that the focus of CBT should be extended from irrational explicit beliefs to the implicit relational knowledge shaped by early attachment relationships. The therapy, in his view, consisted in the transformation of pathological beliefs about the self and the external world, using both cognitive strategies and the therapeutic relationship as a corrective emotional experience. This relational turn of Liotti’s cognitive therapy brought Bowlby himself to state: “…the cognitive therapy that Liotti represents and the psychoanalytic therapy which I represent converge” (Tondo, 2011).

The friendship between Bowlby and Liotti, together with Gianni’s interest in developmental psychopathology, brought him to examine attachment behaviors from an empirical perspective. After viewing videotapes of children with disorganized attachment in the Strange Situation, Liotti noted a suggestive parallel between dissociative phenomena in adult patients and disoriented behaviours in children classified as disorganized. According to the original thinking of Pierre Janet, Liotti hypothesized that both phenomena could be associated to loss of integration in high level mental functions.

In the article Disorganized attachment in the etiology of the dissociative disorders that appeared in Dissociation in 1992, Liotti theorized that early disorganization of attachment may result in vulnerability to adult dissociation, also advancing a diathesis-stress model in which he postulated that infants who were classified as disorganized were vulnerable to subsequent trauma experience (such as severe and prolonged forms of neglect) and then to dissociation in response to these later trauma.

A few years later, John Ogawa, Alan Sroufe and colleagues from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, found partial empirical support to Liotti’s model of dissociation. Subsequently, Pasquini et al. (2002) confirmed the preliminary empirical support, and recently Farina and colleagues (2014) added neuroscientific plausibility to the model. Liotti’s theorization on traumatic dissociation influenced many scholars in the last twenty-five years (see, for example: van der Hart et al., 2006, Lyons-Ruth et al., 2006, Schore, 2009, Carlson et al., 2009, Meares, 2012). In 2005 he was honoured with the Pierre Janet Writing Award by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.

Liotti was an attentive therapist and dedicated a large part of his professional life to developing strategies to overcome dissociative and relational problems in patients with a history of early relational trauma. With other scholars, he was convinced that a great part of dissociative symptoms, sudden dysregulation of emotion and behaviours, severe somatization and crisis in the therapeutic relationship could be explained as activations of implicit memories related to disorganized attachment that are re-enacted in the relationship between patient and therapist (Liotti & Farina, 2016). Consistent with this theorization, Liotti proposed the usefulness of shifting the motivational base of the therapeutic relationship, from the patient’s attachment toward the clinician to a cooperative attitude between peers.

Moreover, Liotti with other colleagues promoted the use of multiple integrated treatments for borderline and other patients with traumatic attachment history, hypothesizing that the presence of two therapists could reduce the impact of traumatic relational implicit memories activated by the attachment need of the patient (Liotti, Cortina, & Farina 2008).

However, Gianni was not only a learned and skillful clinician. He was always careful and generous with his patients, and attentive and loving with his pupils. For his pupils he represented not just an intellectual and professional guide, but also a great friend. He was also a model of openness, fairness and correctness toward those who did not agree with his theoretical and clinical considerations. His professional and personal figure stands upon us and upon the entire Italian culture of trauma, attachment and psychotherapy, representing both an ideal Ego and a concrete example to follow. We really miss him. It was so great a fortune to know him, and so painful to have lost him.

Carlson EA, Yates TM, Sroufe LA: Dissociation and the development of the self (2009) in Dell P, O’Neil JA (eds): Dissociation and dissociative disorders: DSM-V and beyond. New York, Routledge

Guidano V, Liotti G (1983). Cognitive Processes and Emotional Disorders. Guilford press

Liotti G (1992), Disorganized Attachment in the Etiology of the Dissociative Disorders. Dissociation, 5, pp. 196-204.

Liotti G, Cortina M, Farina B (2008). Attachment Theory and the Multiple Integrated Treatments of Borderline Patients. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 36 (2): 295-315

Lyons-Ruth K, Dutra L, Schuder M.R, Bianchi I (2006). From Infant Attachment Disorganization to Adult Dissociation: Relational Adaptations or Traumatic Experiences? Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2006 March ; 29(1): 63-68

Meares, R. (2012). A dissociation model of borderline personality disorder. Norton, New York, London

Ogawa JR, Sroufe LA, Weinfield NS, Carlson EA, Egeland B: Development and the fragmented self: Longitudinal study of dissociative symptomatology in a non-clinical samples. . Development and Psychopathology 1997;9:855-879

Schore AN (2009) Attachment trauma and the developing of right brain: Origin of pathological dissociation; in Dell P, O’Neil JA (eds): Dissociation and dissociative disorders: Dsm-v and beyond. New York, Routledge

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