Martin Dorahy, PhD
Endings bring the opportunity for reflection, and as 2017 moves to an end, we may each begin to reflect on events and changes over the past 12 months in the world, in our own private and professional lives, and in the ISSTD.
At the full day, in person meeting in March, the Board adopted the idea that in our considerations and deliberations, we need to protect against our enthusiasm clouding our vision and our fear stopping our progress. With this in mind the Board worked to bring to completion several ongoing initiatives, including the publication of our Clinical E-Journal Frontiers in the Psychotherapy of Trauma and Dissociation, the full integration of the Ritual Abuse, Mind Control and Organised Abuse SIG into the ISSTD by moving the listserv discussion group to our Basecamp platform, and increasing our webinar and regional conference offerings. The Board also worked on newer initiatives, including making our presence more evident outside our membership by making public statements relevant to issues associated with trauma and dissociation, including those on trauma and memory, as well as the movie Split. The Board has also worked with the Professional Training Program to change and solidify its leadership structure, and worked to have more connection with the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation. Much has been achieved and much is still to be achieved.
As we start to wind down for the holiday season, and I hope for you all, some time for well-earned rest and rejuvenation, the ISSTD begins to prepare for its annual phase of transitions, where members of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors change, and goals for the coming year are considered as the new president takes charge of the Society. This period marks the loss of our most experienced leader, where the immediate past president retires from Board responsibilities after dedicating many years to the service of the ISSTD.
On December 31st we will sadly wish Warwick Middleton goodbye as he takes his leave from the Board. Warwick has been a leadership behemoth over the past three years, and before that as a very active member of the Board. He has changed the structure and activities of Executive and Board meetings to increase the scope, function and focus of the goals and leadership within the ISSTD. He has, during his tenure, continually brought creative ideas and ways of achieving them to the Board, and has the incredible capacity of turning to gold whatever he touches. Warwick has led the Board to think more carefully about leadership by modelling leadership and vision in the true senses of these terms. He takes charge and brings people with him, always being the first to roll up his sleeves, and providing guidance so tasks get achieved. Of his many contributions, he has worked to instill into the ISSTD the idea that a key goal of any committee is to have a transition plan for its next leader. Thus, as he would say, all chairs need to find ways to make themselves redundant! This philosophy ensures the smooth transition of leaders and the seamless functioning of committees during change.
It is perhaps fitting that this edition of the newsletter relaunches the International Spotlight, where the activities of a particular region of the world are explored, and that Warwick has written it. Warwick, on behalf of the members of the ISSTD, we thank you for what you have done for the Society over many years, and what you will continue to do in the committee work you remain involved in.
Two other Board members will leave the Board after dedicated and very appreciated service. Christa Krüger has endured late Saturday night Board meetings over more than six years, and beyond many other tasks has been the ISSTD’s ‘all seeing eye’ with regard to our annual strategic plan, leading its development and implementation over several years. Christa’s thoroughness and ‘behind-the-scenes’ work will be missed greatly. Mike Dadson will also finish his term on the Board. Mike’s capacity to listen intently to complex arguments and positions, and cut through them with thoughtful clarity to summarise the general themes and offer directions for action, has been of tremendous assistance to the Board during numerous deliberations. Thanks to both Christa and Mike for all they have contributed to the Board.
Kevin Connors will take charge of the ISSTD on January first, and will have working with him Christine Forner, who has become our new President-Elect. Few members of the ISSTD have dedicated as much to the leadership of the Society as Kevin and Christine, with both working for years in senior Executive posts (Kevin as Secretary and Christine as Treasurer). It is a great pleasure to also have joining the Board Michael Salter (Australia), Dana Ross (Canada) and Lisa Danylchuk (USA). Dana and Lisa continue a long and prestigious history of leadership involvement from the Ross and Danylchuk families.
As I ‘pen’ my last president’s report, I would like to thank all ISSTD members for what you have each done to support the Society, and to ease the burden of suffering for those carrying the wounds of trauma, neglect and mistreatment. At this time of reflection, we not only keep in mind our patients/clients, and our efforts to assist them, but also how our engagements with those in our daily life provide the foundation for understanding, care, dignity and passing warm, kind, thoughtful and sensitive interactions forward.