2019 Annual Conference

Introducing our Exciting Plenary Speakers

Abigail Percifield

Throughout its history New York City has been home to a diverse array of cultures and people, making it an ideal spot for ISSTD’s 2019 World Congress on Complex Trauma. The conference will take place on March 28 – April 1 and will feature Gabor Maté, MD, Stephen Porges, PhD and Allan Schore, PhD as plenary speakers.

Dr Gabor Mate
Dr. Gabor Maté is a renowned speaker and author, who co-founded Compassion for Addiction, a non-profit organization focused on addiction. Dr. Maté was born in Hungary and worked as a physician in Vancouver with a special interest in addiction, stress, and childhood development. His books have been published in over 25 languages. He has won numerous awards and is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Criminology at Simon Fraser University.

A strong advocate for social change, Dr. Maté’s clinical approach emphasizes the importance of a person’s early life experiences on their mental and physical health. The accumulation of stress and trauma can lead a person to become disconnected to themselves and it is this disconnection that leads a person to develop symptoms characteristic of a range of disorders. Dr. Maté will open up the 2019 conference with an experiential plenary address on how therapists can help guide clients to find and see the truth. This psychotherapeutic method, Compassionate Inquiry, reveals unconscious dynamics to promote deep healing and transformation.

Stephen Porges

Dr Stephen Porges
Dr. Stephen Porges will journey with us into our collective evolutionary history as he presents on The Polyvagal Theory. Dr. Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina. He is a leading researcher in the field of neuroscience whose Polyvagal Theory has significantly reworked our understanding of how our bodily systems respond to trauma.

This theory links the evolution of the autonomic nervous system to affective experience, emotional expression, communication, and social behavior. It both acknowledges and provides an explanation for the states of hyperarousal and dissociation that so many of us see with our clients who are living with the consequences of trauma. Dr. Porges will present a strategy to understand the neural processes that are embedded in therapies to enhance the regulation of bodily and behavioral state. His approach emphasizes the importance of the interpersonal relationship inherent in therapeutic work alongside the ‘neural’ exercises involved in a specific therapy.

Dr Allan Schore
Dr. Allan Schore, who has been described as “a monumental figure in psychoanalytic and neuropsychoanalytic studies” will present on new ways to consider the paradoxical process of regression that often occurs during the psychotherapy of early relational trauma. Dr. Schore’s interdisciplinary studies have been directed towards integrating psychological and biological models of emotional and social development across the lifespan.

Dr. Schore will walk us through the neuroscience that details the critical role of the right brain in attachment mechanisms, dysregulated emotional states, and the dissociative defense. Rather than viewing regression exclusively as a sign of clinical deterioration, this process may represent a creative return to fundamentals that allows reorganization. This understanding will help facilitate therapists’ ability to remain psychobiologically attuned and use moments of heightened affectivity to increase safety and trust in the therapeutic relationship.

For more information about the Plenary Speakers and their presentations, visit the Conference Website!

Want to be part of ISSTD’s 36th Annual Conference? Call for Proposals is open through 17 September, 2018! Check out the Submission Guidelines to get started.

Early Bird Conference Registration is open 31 August 2018 through 24 January 2019.

Regional Conferences

Regional Conference Offers Holistic Approach to Treating Trauma

Join ISSTD for “Treating the Dissociative System: Healing Body, Mind and Culture in the Wake of Complex Trauma” a regional conference in San Francisco, CA on October 20, 2018!

Located in the new Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF, this one day conference features excellent presentations from Lisa Danylchuk, Lynette Danylchuk, Christine Forner, julie graham, A. Steven Frankel, and Ericha Scott.

The day will kick off with “How Dissociative Patients Found Me and Taught Me What I Needed to Know,” a joint presentation in which Lynette Danylchuk and Steve Frankel will discuss how they stumbled into the world of dissociation and offer tools and approaches they have found helpful in working with this population.

After a short break, the conference will reconvene with another joint presentation by Lisa Danylchuk and Christine Forner. “Using Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation Practices with Complex Trauma and Dissociation” will discuss the foundations of mindfulness and how it can be introduced with clients coping with complex manifestations of PTSD, developmental trauma, and dissociative symptoms.

Following lunch (which will be provided), julie graham will present “Losing Ground: Working with Gender and Sexual Minorities – Understanding Stigma and Minority Stress”. In this presentation Julie will discuss the vital role trauma therapists play in healing cultural harm and assisting gender and sexual minorities in understanding institutional discrimination as well as the effects of abuse on physical and mental health.

The day will conclude with “One Case Study: Art Therapy and Sand Tray Constructions by a Client Who is Dissociative Disordered” with Ericha Scott. This presentation is an intensive visual case review of art and sand tray constructions by a client with a history of multiple treatment failures and relapses.

Full conference abstracts, speaker bios, venue details, and more information can be found on the Conference Website.

Register now and take advantage of Early Bird Pricing through September 15!

Focus on ISSTD History

Colin Ross MD – Interview Conducted by Ken Benau and Warwick Middleton, MD

Edited by Warwick Middleton and Kate McMaugh

Dr Colin Ross MD, served as President of ISSTD (which was then known as ISSMP&D), during one of the most turbulent periods of ISSTD history. Colin became President Elect in 1992, served as President in 1993 and Immediate Past President in 1994. The False Memory Syndrome Foundation was formed in 1992.

Dr Colin Ross, Sydney, 2011 (Photo by Warwick Middleton)

WM: How did you become involved in the dissociative disorders field?

CR: I was doing my psychiatry rotation as a third year medical student in 1979 when I was assigned to do an admission history on a woman I ended up diagnosing as having MPD. I talked to her alters and worked with her therapeutically, without any real supervision or guidance. Some years later she came to Winnipeg to be treated at the hospital where I was working as a psychiatrist. I published her case history in a 1994 special issue of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis on MPD. I then diagnosed a second case as a psychiatry resident and a third case shortly after completing my residency in 1985. Then I started getting referrals, and doing research and I was off and running. I had no interest in trauma or dissociation before seeing that first case, although I had decided to be a psychiatrist as a child (a true memory corroborated by my mother).

KB: Is there anything that you experienced during your term as President that was most memorable, or stood out for you?

CR: We were in the heat and thick of the false memory wars. … I really focused on keeping morale up and arguments as to why we could survive this … it was really a nice opportunity for me to try and be helpful to everybody else and support their morale. It was also a very stressful time.

Colin recalls that ISSTD, which was formed in 1984, grew very quickly, with approximately 800 people attending conferences in Chicago and Alexandria, Virginia. He recalls this as an exciting time in history, with a lot of interest in Dissociative Disorders. For Colin one of the challenging issues to face was the emotional issue of Satanic Ritual Abuse, which was increasingly being discussed at these conferences. Colin remains a strong advocate for therapeutic neutrality.

Drs Colin Ross and Rick Kluft, Chicago, 2018 (Photo by Warwick Middleton)

CR: I was trying to advocate for a position of therapeutic neutrality and that was taken as a “non-believer” position. I think that the field at large, made a couple of errors there, which I am very concerned about … the error was basically that the “believer” people, the therapists who took the “believer” position, were diametrically opposed to the “non-believer” people, which was the “false memory” people. …

If the ritual abuse actually happened or did not happen – that’s a whole diversion, a false premise which takes you away from your function as a therapist which is to maintain the position that you don’t know for a fact that it did happen, and you don’t know for a fact that it didn’t happen. You can’t prove it either way. We don’t have the resources to prove it. It all happened thirty years ago – and anyway it’s not your job, that’s a law enforcement issue. Your job is to help the person to get from Point A to Point B, which is helping a highly emotionally disturbed individual with mental health problems, to recovery.

The first error that we made as a Society was … we bought into this agenda of having to take the “believer” position. When you take the “believer” position, it seems nice: it seems to be supporting the survivors, it seems like we are the good guys because we believe. But it leads to a number of problems … implicitly you are taking the position of, “I have the ability to determine whether your memories are real or not and I determined that they are”, which you haven’t actually done – yet I am giving you the feedback that I know, I believe. When you take the position that you are a person who can validate a person’s memories … you are implicitly taking the position that you also have the power to say, “No, the memories are not real”.

Dr Colin Ross and Prof Martin Dorahy, Chicago, 2018 (Photo by Warwick Middleton)

So this is just setting up in the transference as a replay of the relationship with the perpetrator, except now you’re the sheep. But in the nice validating sheep, there can be a wolf hiding. … So you’ve just recapitulated that in the transference, by being the nice guy public persona but implicitly you’re holding to yourself the right to come out and be the wolf and say, “It’s not true”. That is one problem.

The next problem is it’s a complex DID system. In every single survivor with DID that I have ever seen, there’s always alters who are aligned with the

perpetrator, the Dad, with the cult, with the programming, and if you take the position that it never happened, you are alienating them and usually alienating the host. If you take the position that it did happen, everybody’s satisfied because you believed that it happened … but the error made was aligning with the “good” alters, the host personality, against the “programmed satanic alters”. They’re bad; they’re programmed. You have to reform them, get rid of them: they’re not on your team – you and the host personality…

So, when you’re trying to de-program the alters and you are aligned against them; we’re triangulated inside the system and you’re not therapeutically neutral then, you are missing the point that they’re holding the positive attachment. So it’s a problem of attachment to the perpetrator and you need to form an alliance with them just as much as you do with the good Christian host personality.

KB: Regarding the challenges facing the Society during your term, how did you weather the storms of the believers and non-believers and try to maintain a focus, not just for you personally, but as a Society at large?

CR: That was a pretty turbulent era and the stakes were high. Units were closing, people were losing their licenses, there were massive lawsuits, and the way I weathered that personally is just the way I weather my entire professional career which is having a life outside my professional career, maintaining a variety of other interests, activities, hobbies, relationships etc. Without that, you’d be a sinking ship pretty quickly. I knew therapists who had pretty much full-blown PTSD – from listening to all these stories and being overwhelmed and frightened that the cult was after them and that the cult was monitoring them, I just made a decision not to be overwhelmed, not to be scared, not to be beaten down.

KB: Can you say anything about how you helped the Society keep its balance, given they were dealing with the pressures within, in terms of people who may have been abused, and as well as without – in terms of people who claimed it was all false?

CB: Well, first of all, I don’t think I succeeded, because the membership dropped by over 50%. Most of the people who left were scared off by the threat of lawsuits, I tried to keep the field balanced through the President’s messages, through writing, through my general demeanour.

The other angle I took on it, was I saw it as my ethical, professional and moral responsibility to police the field itself. So, I firmly believe then, as I do now, that there was actually quite a lot of malpractice going on and that in fact not all the memories were real and that there actually was an epidemic of false memories. There was also an epidemic of real memories…

WM: You have been criticized by some for writing on the deliberate creation of DID by the CIA. You have attracted some controversy by this and by other actions – e.g. writing a book titled “The Great Psychiatry Scam”, having Elizabeth Loftus write an Afterword for your book, “Satanic Ritual Abuse”, by writing on energy fields, by giving expert evidence for the plaintiff in “False Memory” trials, and by appearing in a Scientology video etc. Do you have thoughts on how effective such stances have been, and, from the perspective of today, would you have done anything differently?

Dr Colin Ross receiving the ISSTD Lifetime Achievement Award, Chicago, 2018

CR: Basically, I wouldn’t do anything different. I thought that trying to form a working relationship with people in the false memory camp was worth trying. It turned out that they all had completely fixed positions and weren’t willing to budge. But it was worth trying.

I have no regrets about testifying for the plaintiff in a few false memory lawsuits – they involved clear malpractice.

As far as energy fields are concerned, no regrets there either – I have a patent and a paper in a peer-reviewed electrical engineering journal resulting from this line of thought. This line of thinking and research is a combination of philosophy and science – my human energy fields book includes numerous testable scientific hypotheses and I have published original EEG data using high impedance, non-contact electrodes, as a result of this thinking.

Concerning CIA mind control, no regrets there – my CIA Doctors book is based on documents that prove conclusively that artificial MPD was created by GH Estabrooks and these people were used operationally going back to WWII. This is clear and explicit in the documents and in Estabrooks’ writing. If people in the field insist that there are zero cases of artificially created MPD/DID that’s their right, but they’re wrong.

And, concerning Scientology, I agree with a lot of their criticisms of psychiatry, but I think they are too black-and-white about it and too over-the-top in their tone.

Interviewer Warwick Middleton with Colin and Dr Dana Ross, ISSTD Board member, and Colin’s daughter

WM: You have published more books on dissociative disorders than anyone in history. What generates your lines of scientific inquiry?

CR: My brain, my heart, and my solar plexus. I like writing in a variety of genres, so it’s not a chore for me. It comes naturally. Plus, the subject matter is so fascinating and challenging to figure out. I also like doing research. So, it’s a combination of creativity, focus, work ethic, intellectual challenge and the amazing fact that my profession is also my hobby, my recreation, and my work, all combined.

WM: You became involved in running inpatient programs for individuals with dissociative disorders in an era in which some other units struggled. What is the future, in your view, for inpatient programs which serve the needs of those with complex trauma/dissociative disorders?

CR: Keeping hospital trauma programs open is a big challenge. It takes a lot of working with hospital systems and personnel, being mindful of regulatory and managed care pressures, doing trainings for referral sources, and having a good treatment model – in my case, with published Level II treatment outcome studies. For such programs to exist in the future, they will have to adapt to the realities of managed care and regulatory pressures, plus hostility from elsewhere in the profession. I’d say it’s iffy that such programs will remain in existence once the leaders currently identified with them retire. On the other hand, being trauma-informed is now a buzzword and that may lead to system pressures in favor of such programs surviving. The question is whether such programs in the future will deliver quality trauma therapy or just provide lip service to trauma.

KB: I am interested in whatever advice you want to offer the Society, either about what you are describing or anything else in terms of our going forward.

CR: Well, going forward my number one advice is just, “Keep at it. Don’t give up. Don’t allow society to beat you down”. The core mission of working with trauma survivors and maintaining the reality of dissociative disorders, I’m 100% behind. But in order to reach those goals what do we need to do? As a Society we have absolutely got to recruit more energetic young people. The average age of the membership and the leadership, the people who are doing the public speaking, the writing, the research, which includes me, are getting older and older. We are not going to be around professionally thirty years from now. There’s not enough young, active, organisational, “get things done”, kind of people coming into the organisation. So we really need to focus on the recruiting of young professionals.

If you look at treatment outcome research in the dissociative disorders field, it’s basically me and my collaborators and Bethany Brand and her collaborators. So, in no other field in psychiatry are all the treatment studies being done by two groups. … We cannot maintain and build our credibility without more research published in reasonably high-ranking journals.


Join ISSTD News and be part of a growing member service

Kate McMaugh, Editor, ISSTD News

In 2017 ISSTD News, after a period of hiatus, was re-launched in a blog based format. In the last 18 months this publication has taken off. In the last 12 months alone, there has been a three-fold increase in readership numbers and page views. We are really excited about the way the Newsletter is shaping up, but in order for it to continue to grow and develop we need your help! We have been delighted to have Noula Diamantopoulos join us to coordinate Creative Space and Shelley Hua join us to coordinate the new feature ‘Spreading the Word’. And of course we have the indefatigable Warwick Middleton providing wonderful photos and coordinating a series of articles on ISSTD History.

However more hands on deck would really help the Newsletter grow. If you enjoy writing, editing and making connections with colleagues all over the world, then you will enjoy joining our team at the News.

At the moment we are after people to help in the following areas:

Coordinator, International Spotlight: International Spotlight is a regular quarterly feature which focuses on the trauma and dissociation field in a particular country around the world. This is an exciting chance to liaise with trauma and dissociation specialists from around the world.

Coordinator, Volunteer Spotlight: This quarterly feature showcases the work of our valuable volunteers within ISSTD. This is a chance to work with volunteers from around the world to honour their work and promote their projects. Once a year (December) we also do a general piece on volunteering for ISSTD to commemorate International Volunteer Day.

Coordinator, Kid’s Korner: We are seeking someone with skills and experience in working with child and adolescent clients to coordinate a quarterly feature on work in this exciting and valuable area. This Coordinator will liaise with our members who work with children and teenagers, including our Child and Adolescent SIG and Committee as well as the child and adolescent training group to make sure that regular articles on this area of work are part of ISSTD News.

Coordinator, Publications of Interest: Unfortunately our current Editor Lynn Hazard is heading off to retire, so will be finishing in this role at the end of the year. If you like finding and reading new articles in the field than this is the spot for you. Don’t be deterred if you lack access to a database. We can help with that!

These jobs do not take a lot of time as the features are quarterly, so see if you can find the time to lend a hand, have fun and meet new colleagues as you go!

If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please contact ISSTD News Editor – Kate McMaugh at katemcmaughpsychology@gmail.com

Letter From The President

Getting Ready for the 2019 Conference: Our Call for Proposals opens August 1

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,

Please help support our $35 for the 35th campaign. This campaign focuses on raising funds for our much needed website updates and improvements as well as supporting student member opportunities and activities. You can help by making a donation of any size on this page.

Thanks for helping grow ISSTD.

News You Can Use

News You Can Use

Kate McMaugh, Editor, ISSTD News

Re-launch of Popular Attachment Journal

In news that will bring relief to many of its fans, Attachment: New Directions In Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis is once more up and running, with the first new edition due out in August.

Attachment, edited by ISSTD member Orit Badouk-Epstein, and produced by the Bowlby Centre in London, has developed a following among those interested in attachment, and its strong trauma informed focus made it of particular interest to ISSTD Members, a number of whom have written articles for the journal. Many were dismayed when it temporarily ceased publication this year.

However, the team at Attachment did not go away and have been busy finding a new publisher to …err … attach to. The Journal team has now found a new publishing house, Phoenix Publishing House, which will be releasing the journal twice a year. The journal will continue with its previous focus and with the popular mixed format which includes clinical and theoretical articles, opinion pieces, film and book reviews and creative writing pieces.

The first issue for 2018 is due to be published in August and includes the following articles, a number written by ISSTD members:

  • Grenfell: Friendly fire? A personal and professional journey by Valerie Sinason and Dehra Mitchell
  • An object-relations approach to MPD/DID, imaginary companions, and heteronyms: Dissociation and creativity by Graham Clarke
  • Working with dissociated aggression in traumatised patients by Dan Shaw
  • What kind of courtship sets a couple up for long-term attachment: Romance, arranged marriage, or online matchmaking? by Anne Power
  • John Bowlby and contemporary issues of clinical diagnosis by Georgina L. Barnes, Matt Woolgar, Helen Beckwith, Robbie Duschinsky
  • Bearing the unbearable: Meditations on being in rhythm by Karen Hopenwasser
  • My name is Dot by Orit Badouk Epstein
  • On Boarding School by Olya Khaleelee
  • Ethics and iatrogenia in clinical practice: A relational perspective by Paul Renn

To renew your subscription online, please visit this page.

New Website Offers Refreshing Self Care for Free

ISSTD Member Sharon Gold-Steinberg, PhD and her colleague Carryn Lund, LMSW have developed a beautiful website offering meditations and inspiration specifically for psychotherapists, including those working with traumatized clients.

Website Co-Founder, Sharon Gold-Steinberg, PhD

Therapist Refresh is a website that supports psychotherapists in caring for themselves as they provide healing for others. The website offers a range of audio meditations developed specifically for the busy clinician, targeted at various aspects of the clinical day, including Compassion for Clients and Ending Your Day. These free meditations will help to refresh and energize you while reducing triggering and burn out. Ranging in length from as little as 2 minutes through to just over 5 minutes they are accessible to even the busiest therapist.

In addition, subscribers receive free weekly e-mails with information to inspire self-care, satisfaction with clinical practice, and build a sense of community and camaraderie with other therapists.

Take a little time to have a look and watch the website develop as Sharon and Carryn have plans for many more features. Check out the website here.

Wisdom, Attachment, and Love in Trauma Therapy: Beyond Evidence –Based Practice
A New Book by Susan Pease-Banitt, LCSW

This latest highly acclaimed book by ISSTD member, Susan Pease Banitt focuses on the role of the therapist as a healing presence rather than technique administrator, on the importance of how we are with clients rather than what to do.
Pease-Banitt advocates therapists undertake self-work to learn to embody qualities that foster an appropriate, corrective, and loving therapy experience.

Stephen W. Porges, PhD, founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, writes of the book:

“Wisdom, Attachment, and Love in Trauma Therapy provides a sophisticated and compassionate understanding of how trauma therapists experience, train, and contribute to the healing of their heroic clients. In this well-written and integrated book, Susan Pease Banitt conveys a conceptual framework integrating principles extracted from contemporary neuroscience, psychology, and philosophic orientations to emphasize the features of successful therapy. Through her personal experiences, she emphasizes the importance of the therapist being present with and accepting of the client. Perhaps most relevant to the trauma therapist, she provides a deep understanding of the vulnerabilities of the therapist, who may be a survivor of trauma.”

Contents include: Neuroscience and Trauma-Informed Practice; Ego Development and Traumatic Defenses; Fostering Attachment in Psychotherapy; Superhuman Empathy and Trauma Work; and Self-Care for the Trauma Therapist.

As an added bonus, and not to be missed, ISSTD Member, Lisa Danylchuk, writes a moving and personal forward to the book, speaking not only about the book, but sharing some of her own journey as a therapist and her connections with the author through ISSTD

Of the book, Lisa writes:

In this book, Sue helps us to recall and become increasingly comfortable with love as the basic truth of human relationship and attachment. In a gentle and inclusive manner, she reminds us of our humanity and our own vulnerabilities, encouraging those in human services to reflect on their own developmental processes and ways of relating as a foundation for deep healing work. She speaks with humor and with the evidence of a lifetime of practical experience in counseling and social work.

The book is available from Amazon (Remember to use your Amazon Smiles to raise money for ISSTD!) or from the publisher.

Adult Psychiatrist Position Open at Sheppard Pratt – Towson, MD

Sheppard Pratt Health System is seeking an adult psychiatrist for a full-time or part-time position in our nationally and internationally-recognized Trauma Disorders Program. Led by Richard J. Loewenstein, M.D., The Trauma Disorders Program treats individuals with trauma-related disorders, including dissociative disorders and other complex post-traumatic conditions, in a structured and supportive environment that focuses on safety and stabilization.


  • Must have a current license to practice in Maryland at the time of hire
  • Board certification preferred
  • Individuals hired for inpatient services participate in a call schedule

About Sheppard Pratt Health System

As the nation’s largest private, non-profit provider of mental health, substance use, special education, and social services, we employ more than 95 doctors who all share a passion for providing the best care to those we serve. Consistently ranked as one of the top ten psychiatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, we offer a generous compensation package and comprehensive benefits. To learn more about our services, visit sheppardpratt.org. EOE and smoke-free campus.

For more information, please contact Kathleen Hilzendeger, Director of Professional Services, at 410.938.3460 or khilzendeger@sheppardpratt.org. To apply, please click here.

Join ISSTD at the 23rd Annual IVAT Conference in San Diego this September

The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT) is holding their 23rd International Summit on Violence, Abuse & Trauma Across the Lifespan. This is set to take place on September 5 – 9, 2018 in San Diego, CA. The goal of the Summit is to make a positive impact towards eliminating all forms of violence, abuse, and trauma by offering continuing education, specialty trainings, and a forum for professionals across disciplines and philosophies to gather for in-depth exchange of current information on all facets of prevention, intervention, treatment and research.

For a full review, see the 23rd Summit Brochure here. To register for the Summit, click here.

The Summit’s focus is “Voices Against Violence: Breaking Through the Silence.” On Friday, September 7th a plenary roundtable will discuss What’s Next for #MeToo? Breaking the Silence, Changing the Norms as well as seven parallel plenaries on Saturday, September 8th covering a variety of controversial, hot topics with renowned invited speakers. Trainings and continuing education are offered for most licensures, and multiple networking opportunities are built into the Summit from the Awards Luncheon to the Poster Session & Welcome Reception.

On Wednesday September 5th, the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence (NPEIV) Across the Lifespan will hold its annual Think Tank Forum to discuss interpersonal violence issues and the goals, methods, and plans to tackle these issues in the year to come.

Welcome ISSTD’s New Members in July!

Stella Bowring
Maggie Robbins
Ernest Schall
Carmel Swiggs
Dominique Barritt-McBride
Raha Mirian
Matt DeGennaro
Eileen Griffin
Kimberlee Soule
Inga Sugitha
Rowena Tate
Mohammadee Bhaiyat
Jeri Kao
Terri Merritt

Tanya Bailey
Elizabeth Brekelbaum
Maria Grindle
Ann Ling
Monique Sundlie
Jodi Kohut

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

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

Submission Deadline: 20th of the month

Send to ISSTD Editor, Kate McMaugh: katemcmaughpsychology@gmail.com

Clinical E-Journal

JTD and Frontiers Table of Contents (July 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


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


  • 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.

Regional Conferences

Regional Conference Recap: Chester, UK

Jeanie McIntee, PhD

In June this year ISSTD and UK-based CTC Psychological Services joined forced to celebrate ISSTD’s 35th anniversary and CTC’s 30th anniversaries by holding a joint conference, in Chester UK.

The conference focused on the topic of Developmental Trauma and Dissociation, whilst also promoting the UK Government strategy of child mental health.

The conference was held in Chester’s prestigious, Grosvenor Hotel and Spa, located within the picturesque Roman walled city. In this unique venue, we welcomed experts and visitors from every corner of the globe.

Chris Matheson, The Member of Parliament for the City of Chester, opened the conference and welcomed our visitors. ISSTD Fellow, Adah Sachs, PhD introduced the conference on behalf of ISSTD.

We were fortunate to have international experts Dr Joy Silberg, Professor Martin Dorahy, Professor Ruth Lanius, and Dr Richard Chefetz join us to provide training and share research and clinical expertise as they spoke to the identification and treatment of childhood trauma as well as the negative impact of untreated trauma on mental and physical development, throughout childhood and adulthood.

Ruth Lanius, Martin Dorahy, Richard Chefetz

The feedback provided by those in attendance, reflected the experts’ excellence, in both content and delivery and indicated how fortunate we were to have them share their knowledge and skills at this anniversary conference.

Julian Long, Joyanna Silberg, and her husband Richard

Coupled with the success of the keynote speakers, we also welcomed UK experts in Dissociation, PTSD, EMDR, adoption and trauma, who were able to present a range of workshops in their specialised fields.

Kathryn Chefetz and Jeanie McIntee

Presentations were also given by Experts by Experience, with regard to the parenting and development of adopted children with Dissociation and trauma, with whom CTC Psychological Services have worked so closely over recent years. These presentations provided a raw insight into the daily lives and events that families and particularly parents go through, when caring for those that have experienced traumatic childhoods and the sharing of expertise as to what has been found to be successful in meeting challenges.



Retired . . . but Still a Member

Kate McMaugh, Editor, ISSTD News

Members of ISSTD who retire are still able to enjoy connection with colleagues working in the field of trauma and dissociation, through the ISSTD Retired Membership category. The Retired Membership is open to members who have retired from active practice or research. To be eligible for Retired Membership, the member must be at least 65 years of age and have paid dues to the Society for 10 or more years. Retired members have all the benefits of full membership except that they may not run for or hold office.

We asked a few of our retired members to tell us a little about what life is like for them now they have retired and what it means for them to maintain a retired membership with ISSTD.

Well known ISSTD Fellow, and past chair of the RAMCOA SIG, Alison Miller, shares with us the impact of this lifelong work on her and what it means to be retired to spend more time with her family.

Here is Alison in her “other” identity—”Granny,” with her youngest grandchild.

In retirement Alison, who lives in Canada, has moved from the city to a little mountain village to be close to family and live closer to nature.

When asked how it feels to retire Alison says, “At last, I can just be a human being among other human beings. No one expects me to be an expert on life … I like just being a person. I like having the freedom to sometimes be rude, to not have to watch myself as a constant role model for other people…Maybe I’ll be a cranky old lady.”

She adds that while working in the field of dissociative disorders, and specifically with survivors of organized abuse (RAMCOA) has been a very fulfilling career, it has also been challenging.

“This is an exhausting field. The tortuous complexity of personality systems, the agony of the hurt inner children, the moral injury of forced perpetration, and most of all, with some clients, the constant ongoing torture by perpetrator groups, has taken its toll on me. It’s hard to feel connected to “normal” life when I spend most of my day with people who have suffered so intensely at the hands of other human beings. It’s time to pass the torch onto others, to leave the battlefield to the next wave of soldiers.”

“For the past few years I have felt a strong need to be around normal, healthy people, in a natural, healthy environment, with music, trees, and play.”

“ISSTD, and in particular the RAMCOA special interest group, are still my people, in a different way from those who know me as “granny.” Our members … are the ones who understand what I’m talking about and what my clients have experienced. I remain part of this group in order to continue to pass on what I’ve learned, and also to connect with my people, those who have taken on the daunting challenge of this work.”

ISSTD members are fortunate to benefit from Alison’s wisdom and experience as her retired membership has enabled her to continue to volunteer for ISSTD. She serves on the RAMCOA SIG Executive, she presents at RAMCOA all day webinars and is currently chairing the RAMCOA Bookclub discussion of her book Healing the Unimaginable.

ISSTD is also privileged to count Philip Coons, MD, ISSTD Fellow and past president (1988-1989) as one of our retired members. In comments that may make some of us rather green with envy Phil reports,

Retirement opens up travel opportunities. Here is a photo of Phil and his wife, Elizabeth Bowman, MD (also a renowned trauma specialist and past president of ISSTD) watching a giant land tortoise during their latest trip to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

“Retirement is great. In fact, I worked part time for several years before I fully retired. I have many hobbies, including travel, photography, hiking, genealogy, reading, and writing. Yes, I still write. I published four books in partial retirement, but not about dissociation, and I write essays for the Indianapolis Literary Club.

Like Alison, remaining in contact with colleagues and friends is an important attraction of the Retired Membership Category for Phil, “I continue to remain a retired member of the ISSTD to keep in contact with my colleagues. I also attend monthly luncheons with my retired colleagues from work, and I attend Neurology and Psychiatry Department Grand Rounds on a regular basis. In late summer I plan to take a course to become a Master Naturalist.”

Christine Courtois, PhD, ABPP, is a prominent ISSTD Fellow who has chosen to maintain a retired membership benefit. Christine is well known to most of us as a highly acclaimed therapist, writer and trainer. She is known for promoting and facilitating the development of the complex trauma field through her many roles. She is the recipient of many awards in ISSTD including the ISSTD 2010 Print Media Award for her book with co-editor Dr. Julian Ford, Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders: An Evidence-Based Guide (2009); the ISSTD Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 and the Cornelia Wilbur Award in 2001.

Christine Courtois, pictured at ISSTD conference, Washington, 2017, with ISSTD member Laura Brown, Author of Your Turn to Care

For Christine, retirement has meant some significant changes such as closing her clinical practice and changing her principal residence from the DC metro area to the beach, achieving a long time goal. However, retirement looks more like a semi-retirement as she is continuing to write and edit, as well as conduct training. She says “Retirement means a lot more free time and time to travel for fun and do other things that were put on the back burner. It means more time to spend with family and friends … and much less stress and administrivia!!! It is more time away from the heaviness and responsibility of the clinical work”

Christine will likely continue to be a retired member of ISSTD. At this stage she can see the benefits of continuing in order to stay up to date. She also reports a specific benefit in receiving the members journal, Journal of Trauma & Dissociation.

Christine continues to contribute to the field through training and conference presentations. She is working on one new book on sexual boundary violations by psychotherapists and revising her 2009 book with Dr. Ford. A couple of more recent books are:

For those members considering retiring, have a look and see if you meet the criteria for the Retired Membership Category. It can be a great way to stay in touch with the field and with colleagues.

Special Interest Groups

Ritual Abuse, Mind Control and Organised Abuse (RAMCOA) SIG

Kate McMaugh and Michael Salter

The RAMCOA SIG is a special interest group for those members of ISSTD who research or provide clinical services to those affected by all forms of organised and extreme abuse.

With over 150 members this is a vibrant online meeting place where clinical and other relevant issues can be discussed in a supportive and safe manner. The SIG is supported by the Executive made up of Michael Salter (Chair), Alison Miller (past Chair), Susan Hykes (moderator), Rosita Cortizo (moderator-elect), Kate McMaugh (Secretary), Valerie Sinason (Chair elect) and Lynette Danylchuk (secretary elect).

The SIG has been very busy with online discussions of a wide array of therapeutic issues. Members new to the field particularly appreciate the assistance and guidance of those more experienced, as there are few other avenues to discuss and learn about these forms of abuse.
In addition the SIG has also put together conference presentations at the 2018 ISSTD Conference including, for the first time, an all-day RAMCOA workshop during the pre-conference workshops. This was well-attended and well received. Discussions are already underway to plan more presentations at the 2019 Conference.

Last year the SIG organised ISSTD’s first ever all-day webinar training. This was highly successful with participants asking for more. So once again this year the SIG will be hosting another all-day webinar on October 12. Presentations include:

  • Warwick Middleton – “A life sentence: How the study of ongoing incest during adulthood informs us about the nature of organised abuse”
  • Sue Richardson – “Clinical supervision of work with RAMCOA: An attachment-based perspective”
  • Richard Lowenstein – “Negative therapeutic reaction and stuck cases: Mind control transference in the treatment of dissociative identity disorder”
  • Joy Silberg – “Symptoms and treatment considerations for a group of 70 children abused in a presumed child pornography ring “
  • Michael Salter – “Understanding RAMCOA in the context of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation”

The SIG also has its own bookclub. This year it has held successful bookclub discussions of Sue Grand’s 2000 book “The Reproduction of Evil” and is currently holding a discussion of Alison Miller’s book “Healing the Unimaginable”.

The SIG is always keen to welcome new members. If you have an interest in joining please contact secretary Kate McMaugh: katemcmaughpsychology@gmail.com
For general enquiries about the SIG contact Michael Salter (Chair): michael.salter@westernsydney.edu.au

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