Letter From The President

2023 Holiday Message

Michael Salter – 2023 ISSTD President
We’ve reached the close of 2024 and, as always, I’m struck by the tireless work of our members who are serving survivors of abuse, trauma and violence. This year, like all years, has been rife with interpersonal and political conflict that will draw on huge reservoirs of care and support in years to come. I’m fortunate to witness so many instances of healing and recovery that have been enabled by our members, and by our collective efforts within the ISSTD.

The ISSTD has a small group of staff who make our day-to-day operations possible. Thank you to our CEO Mary Pat and her dedicated team of Gabrielle, Casey and Jasmine. As President, I’ve had a bird’s eye view of just how hard you work for us, and it is greatly appreciated. The ISSTD’s core business also depends on a huge number of volunteers – too many to name here – some have been with us for a long time, and some who have recently stepped up. Thank you.

Those volunteers include our board of directors, who I am very grateful for. We have an exciting group of new board members who will be joining us in 2024. The level of interest in office roles within the ISSTD has been unprecedented this year and it’s fantastic to see a wave of new leadership within the field of complex trauma and dissociation.

I particularly want to thank our outgoing Past President Lisa Danylchuck, who has served the ISSTD and the board for many years. We wish her all the best knowing that, while Isabella is only six months old now, we may be welcoming the third Danylchuck presidency in a few decades time! I also want to acknowledge the extraordinary service of outgoing Board member Christine Forner, who has been a force for renewal and growth within the ISSTD, and has been integral to the momentum of the organisation over the last decade and a half.

I can’t finish this letter without addressing the incredibly sad news that, this month, we lost two former ISSTD board members and long-standing colleagues. Early this month, within a week of each other, Willa Wertheimer and Tally Trip were taken from us far too soon. Willa and Tally, we will miss your creativity, your humour, your wise counsel and the care and dedication that you brought to everything you did for the ISSTD and beyond. Our thoughts are with Willa’s and Tally’s family and friends.

It has been an honour to serve you this year as President and I look towards 2024 with great enthusiasm and hope.

Peter Maves – 2023 ISSTD President Elect
As I move into the Presidency of ISSTD, I’ve been reflecting on what the Society has meant to me over the last 30 years.  It has been my secure professional home, where I have been trained, supported by research, encouraged by my ISSTD colleagues, and able to talk about complex trauma and dissociation, without skepticism and doubt.  ISSTD now has, under the auspices of our Center for Advanced Studies (CFAS), a comprehensive array of ongoing training opportunities.  The Professional Training Program, regional and virtual seminars, Webinars, the annual conference, all contribute valuable yearly learning opportunities.  The Member’s Forum allows for the exchange of pertinent clinical and research information for immediate use.  CFAS also houses an extensive library of past presentations, content from the annual conferences, and Webinars, which can supplement current learning.  Our constantly improving Website provides access to treatment referral information, assessment resources and is a platform that connects all ISSTD’s endeavors, committees, special interest groups and specific task forces.  2024 will also see the continuing development of a new set of Treatment Guidelines, bringing together the knowledge and experience of ISSTD experts to guide our treatment of trauma and dissociative conditions.

I also think about the scope of our volunteer participation on our Board, committees, and special interest groups.  We are an organization that relies heavily upon our volunteers, their efforts and expertise.  In addition, we are fortunate to have a dedicated CEO and staff that have a comprehensive understanding of what is required to stay informed, and plan for future difficulties and opportunities.  Together with our Treasurer, they have brought us into a stable and secure financial position.

Special words of appreciation go to Michael Salter, as President for 2023, and Lisa Danylchuk, our Past-President, for their work and contributions to the betterment of ISSTD.  And with extreme sadness we mourn the loss of Tally Tripp and Willa Wertheimer, past Board members and Committee Chairs, who recently left us.  I look forward to serving as President in 2024 and wish everyone a very happy Holiday Season.

Lisa Danylchuk – Immediate Past President
The holidays are upon us! As 2023 draws to a close, I am full of gratitude for your membership and support of the ISSTD, and for the volunteers and staff that keep this organization going and growing.

This community does some of the most challenging and important work there is – bearing witness to the atrocities of interpersonal harm and trauma, and providing care in efforts to offer deep healing to individuals and communities. This year we have seen senseless violence, war and ongoing conflict that could easily provoke feelings of helplessness or overwhelm. Each time a new news item appears, I’m reminded of you, the members of ISSTD, and the work you do throughout your lives to promote healing. Fred Rogers reminded us to “look for the helpers,” and I always find myself looking to you, with gratitude and admiration for the quiet work you do to promote healing.

As President in 2022, my focus was on cultivating a culture of sustainability within the organization, so that the people providing these important services have a steady place to lean on in hard times. While the years since the pandemic have been unpredictable, the ISSTD remains stable as a result of the volunteers and leaders who continue to go above and beyond in their service to the organization.

We sadly lost two of those stellar contributors this year. I had the privilege of knowing and working with Willa Wertheimer and Tally Tripp during my board tenure. Both sadly passed away within a week’s time of one another, and the ISSTD community has just begun to process what this loss means to us as friends and colleagues of these influential women. Both Tally and Willa shaped this organization through their involvement, and they leave a legacy of warmth, care, creativity and kindness. We will miss them dearly.

As my year as Immediate Past President draws to a close, my attention is turning to my growing family and I am closing a long chapter of volunteer leadership. I’m deeply grateful for the time I’ve been able to serve as President and in leadership positions.Thank you for placing your trust in me. I’m wishing you and yours the best during this holiday season and well into the new year.