Su Baker, MEd
Professional Training Program Leadership Reflects on its Past and Paints an Exciting Picture for Future Training in ISSTD
Back in 2000, our Society’s then president, John Curtis, MD, initiated the “Education 2000” project, in an effort to broaden the education mandate of the ISSTD (then the ISSD). Elizabeth Bowman, MD generously donated her curriculum for training psychiatric residents in Dissociative Disorders. This curriculum became the basis for the first course of the newly minted DDPTP (Dissociative Disorders Psychotherapy Training Program), designed by Richard Chefetz, MD. This course became known as the Basic Course and was first taught by various selected instructors in 2001.
And, as they say, the rest is history.
Since then, we have changed the name of the program to the Professional Training Program. Multiple courses, at varying levels, have been designed, updated and re-designed by many dedicated volunteers. We have moved with the times, embraced online technology, and have gone from teaching just face-to-face classes, to also including asynchronous online courses and teleseminars. As befits an International Society, we now have instructors from all over the world (and in various languages) and hundreds of students, from all corners of the world, have taken the courses.
With that history in mind, I would like to bring you up-to-date on the program and share some exciting plans for the future.
Many PTP Courses Are Now Available
There are currently four levels of Adult courses: The Introduction to the Treatment of Complex Trauma, Parts I & II; The Standard course in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders: Parts I & II; and The Advanced course in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders (under development and hopefully ready to begin teaching in early to mid-2018); and the Masters Seminars in Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders.
These courses are mostly taught in person, but we have now added some of these courses as “teleseminars”, so that those who do not live near a major city, or in a country that has no instructors, can have access to the courses online, in real time, through the Zoom platform. In the past, some of these courses have also been taught as “asynchronous online courses”, meaning that students used a “bulletin board-type course”, where they could contribute to discussions according to their own schedule, and interact both with other students and course instructors through text discussion.
In addition, there is a popular course on the Assessment and Treatment of Traumatized Children and Adolescents with Dissociative Symptoms and Disorders, which has been mostly online. Students from around the world have studied together, discussed cases and supported each other, under the expert guidance of their trainers. This course has enabled many health professionals to not just improve their skills, but develop supportive networks, which continue long beyond the course duration.
We are also proud to have two courses entirely in Spanish: Introducción a los transtornos postraumáticos graves, trauma complejo y disociación and Diagnóstico y tratamiento del trauma complejo y disociación. For more information on any of these courses, please see here.
In the future we hope to expand our course selection and we aim to update the current courses every three to five years.
All US-based in person courses, as well as teleseminars and online courses, have continuing education credits attached. The courses also contribute to the necessary credits for the ISSTD Certificate in Complex Trauma and Dissociation, for those who are working toward that goal.
Opportunities for Teaching
With so many courses and an increasing demand from professionals for our courses, we are looking for more instructors who would be willing to teach the courses.
Instructors will be supported by an extensive infrastructure. Every course is well-planned, with set readings and objectives. Part I of both the Intro course and the Standard course, also includes a provided case history, which naturally unfolds over four classes, and an instructor’s manual on the use of the case. The new Advanced course will consist of nine modules (each covering a certain topic), with six modules that are required to be taught and three modules to be chosen from a list of about 15 different modules, based on the knowledge and training of the instructors. As with the Intro and Standard courses, the Advanced course will have the full curriculum provided by the PTP directors.
In other words, we are looking for ISSTD members who would like to teach courses where there is a set curriculum to support them. To this end, we have recently updated the criteria for instructor selection and this document is available here.
While we can’t guarantee fame or fortune (though instructors are paid), the experience of teaching eager mental health professionals is a reward in and of itself. We are lucky to have excellent back-up from headquarters and new instructors are provided with mentors for their first year of teaching. We encourage those who meet the criteria to consider applying to become a PTP instructor, via the application form.
Training for Instructors
We recognize that many of our colleagues, who would be excellent instructors, have hesitated to apply because they feel that they are not sure of their capacities as teachers. Be assured that ISSTD provides a very supportive environment. Not just is the mentor provided for the first year, but training is also provided. We have designed a new 3-hour workshop, to be given for the first time at the upcoming ISSTD conference in Chicago. This workshop will be held immediately after the PTP instructors (and future instructors) luncheon on Saturday, March 24. The workshop is mandatory for all present instructors, so if you will be at the conference, and are thinking of becoming a PTP instructor, you are invited to attend both the luncheon and the workshop.
If you will not be at the conference, the workshop will be available online after the conference and all instructors who did not attend in person will be expected to follow the online workshop (at a time of your choosing). The workshop will include training in andragogy, information about the methodology of the various courses, how to use the necessary technology and will provide a forum to answer any questions you might have.
If you are not yet an instructor but would like to attend the luncheon and workshop at the conference, please contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Three Chairs and Course Directors
Over the years, and with the expansion of the PTP, the role of the PTP director became increasingly time-consuming and complex. A task force was set up and suggested that there be a Chair, Chair-elect and Past-Chair, who could together handle the many duties of the administration of the PTP. Each serves a 2-year term, meaning that from the election of the chair, to that person’s retirement, the person would serve a total of 6 years. This was to ensure continuity in the program. Currently, the Past-Chair is Victor Welzant, PhD and the Chair is Su Baker, MEd.
We are still looking for a Chair-elect, so if you have experience with the PTP (even if you are not currently teaching) and would like to volunteer to be in this position, please contact the chair.
The course directors have been responsible for the development of the course curriculum and the current directors stand on the shoulders of the previous directors. Current directors are Su Baker (Intro, Standard and Advanced), Joan Turkus (Standard, Advanced and Master), Fran Waters (Child and Adolescent) and Sandra Baita (Spanish courses). Please feel free to contact any of them for more information on the courses.
PTP in the Future
With the re-energized PTP, new courses, new instructors, new chairs and new media, we are looking forward to further developing the educational mission of the ISSTD which was first set in motion 35 years ago when we were founded, and then expanded upon with the vision of Education 2000. We encourage our members to follow our courses, and eventually to become instructors themselves as they develop their knowledge and skills.
See you in Chicago in 2018!
Su Baker, MEd