Letter From The President

A True Milestone For the ISSTD

As I write this note, I am currently attending the European Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation’s biannual conference in Rome. I am finding this conference from our sister society to be full of interesting information, different perspectives, and new ideas. If you have never attended one of these conferences, I would highly recommend it. It is very interesting to hear other perspectives about a problem we all have a common connection with. I also feel very grateful for our connections and universal desire to do what we can to assist in managing, caring for and hopefully preventing complex trauma and dissociation.

ISSTD President Christine Forner enjoying the ESTD Conference with fellow Board Members Peter Maves, Tally Tripp, Willa Wertheimer and Valerie Sinason

It is also amazing to be in Rome. I am in awe of the history, complexity and sophistication of ancient Roman society. I am continually reflecting on just how clever we truly are. Attending these conferences has assisted me in learning more about the complex issues involved with dissociation.

This is also a time for me to reflect upon my journey and others journey into the field of complex trauma and dissociation. Many of us have stumbled into the field by chance. It is typically a client that comes into our office and brings with them so many confusing or unexplainable symptoms. The dissociative client tends to test us and test our knowledge.  It is usually in a state of desperation that we find the ISSTD and the ESTD. For me the 2008 ESTD Conference held in Amsterdam was my first conference which I attended that had focused on complex trauma and dissociation. Eleven years later I see such growth and expansion in these societies that I feel a sense of relief. I feel a sense of hope that one day the collective wisdom will spread to more areas of human health.

I also feel a sense of relief about, and am happy to inform the membership, that indeed we are growing and expanding. We have almost reached 1500 members, the highest number we have had since about 1993. The ISSTD is conducting education courses and are just finalizing a more advanced course for clinicians. Our policies and procedures are also close to being updated, and we are also producing more webinars than ever before. In addition to a steady growth of membership, our education courses and conferences, we are also growing our collaboration with other organizations such as the ISTSS and Beauty After Bruises.

To further substantiate that we are growing and expanding, we are happy to inform you all that we are going to be managing ourselves very soon. Since 2006 ISSTD has employed AMG (now Interel) as their association management company, which oversees our two dedicated staff as well as shared service functions including: accounting, meetings management, and graphic design.

After a number of conversations with management, the Board has decided to end its relationship with Interel effective December 7, 2019, at which time ISSTD will become an independent organization. Our current Executive Director, Mary Pat Hanlin, and Membership and Marketing Manager, Bethany Bjur, will continue in their roles with ISSTD as we make this transition. We expect that this change will result in a savings to ISSTD as well as more flexibility as we continue to grow.

This is an exciting and slightly stressful time. There is a lot of work that needs to be accomplished. It is during this transition that we look forward to your support and patience. Most of the duties and tasks have been taken on by ISSTD staff and the Board, but there may be times when you are asked to help. We ask for your patience as there may be period of disruption to phone and email services, as well as longer than average response times from staff.

The financial stability and viability of the ISSTD is our first priority. We, the Board, work very hard in ensuring success of the organization. We are growing and we suspect we will continue to grow. We are just being discovered by so many people because the information we have is NEEDED so very badly in this world.

Additional information about this transition will be communicated in the coming weeks.

I cannot thank you enough for what you do to ensure the vitality and viability of the ISSTD.

Updated ISSTD Contact Information (as of December 7, 2019)

4201 Wilson Blvd
3rd Floor
Arlington, VA 22203

Phone Number (Toll Free)
844.99.ISSTD (47783)

Fax Number (Toll Free)