Over the last month, a number of inaccurate claims about the ISSTD have been aired on social media that have caused distress and confusion, particularly amongst people and communities with lived experience of dissociation and trauma.
These claims relate to a recent change to the ISSTD Board, specifically the removal of Katie Keech. The aim of this statement is to ensure that the ISSTD and the communities that we serve have accurate information about this change.
In January, we became aware that ISSTD Board member Katie Keech had a personal relationship with a leader of an organisation that has harassed the ISSTD and its staff and members for many years.
This organisation has declared its animosity not only to the ISSTD but to the entire dissociative disorders field. This relationship constituted a serious and undeclared conflict of interest because it posed a direct risk to the ISSTD, our members, our staff and the populations that we serve.
Failure to disclose this relationship violated Katie Keech’s legal obligations as a director of the ISSTD and violated Section 3.2.1 of the ISSTD Member Code of Conduct.
When we attempted to address this with Katie, they immediately raised the prospect of legal action, which made it functionally impossible for us to work with Katie to manage the conflict of interest. Had this relationship been disclosed to the Executive Committee in a timely fashion, we could have provided guidance to mitigate the risk associated with this relationship.
Due to this serious conflict of interest and the violation of our code of conduct, following established ISSTD policies and procedures, the Board voted to remove Katie from their leadership positions and suspend their membership for 90 days.
We have become aware that Katie has taken to social media where they have misrepresented the circumstances under which they were removed from the Board. Katie has claimed that they were removed from the Board after informing us that they have dissociative identity disorder.
This is untrue. Katie was removed from the Board because of a serious undeclared conflict of interest and violation of the ISSTD code of conduct. Katie never disclosed their mental health status to the Board and it would not be relevant if they did. Our Society has always included professionals with lived experience, and we continue to welcome all trauma professionals and researchers who meet the requirements of Society membership and follow our code of conduct.
The ISSTD is committed to advancing the health, wellbeing and safety of all people living with complex trauma and dissociation. The integrity of our governance processes is critical to that mission and we hope that this statement clarifies our recent decision.