Letter From The President

Coming of Age in an Age of Interesting Times

Greetings friends & colleagues, There is a saying of dubious origins: “May you live in interesting times”. I fear that this is more relevant today than at any other time in the past half-century. Without stirring the political pot, I am mindful that we confront numerous challenges to our fundamental human dignity. Groups attack each other with disregard to facts. Ad hominem attacks and mockery have replaced civil discourse. Hackers and other groups are accessing our personal data, not only to steal our identities for profit, but now to develop marketing trends to manipulate people and movements. Given our dependence on and significant use of numerous internet sites to stay connected and informed; we must question where and when are we safe? To address the issue of on-line/internet transparency, ISSTD has moved to meet the requirements of the newest data protection regulations. On May 25th, an important law passed by the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation, came into effect. The GDPR affects how groups collect, maintain, and use personal data. As ISSTD is an international organization conducting business in and with members of the EU, we needed to do our part to be in compliance with the EU regulation. To that end, your Board of Directors discussed and approved a Privacy Policy that became effective on May 25, 2018. The preamble states:

This Privacy Policy governs the manner in which the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users (each, a “User”) of the website (“Site”). This privacy policy applies to the Site and all products and services offered by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. The ISSTD Privacy Policy can be reviewed here.

I want to circle back to the larger issue of human dignity. We, who treat and study the impact of interpersonal trauma, see the cost of inequities and inequalities, the cost of abuse. We advocate for treating our clients with the utmost respect. We demonstrate and embody human dignity when we establish a safe and welcoming therapeutic framework in which to meet and address the extreme abuses and outrageous insults our clients have endured. We ask them to respect themselves, their dissociated self-states, and us as part of that healing alliance. Yet I am mindful and curious that we must occasionally prompt ourselves to treat our colleagues and peers with the same “I-Thou” regard. I am struck by the need to measure our words, our letters and text messages with an eye to the feelings of our peers as we would to our regard for family, friends, and clients. So many colleagues speak of ISSTD as their clinical home and safe haven in a professional world that is often unkind to proponents of trauma and dissociation. How do we individually and collectively strive to ensure that safe haven still stands? As part of the ISSTD growing pains, the Board has found it to be an essential aspect of an organization’s ‘Coming of Age’ to need to establish a policy outlining ethical standards of conduct for and between members. (ISSTD Member’s Code of Conduct adopted 14 November 2017) The opening paragraph reminds us:

“… ISSTD is dedicated to the academic and professional development of its members by providing sound training and resources for students and emerging and seasoned professionals, as well as promulgating guidelines to encourage ethically sensitive and responsible treatment of, and research concerning, persons with experiences of chronic trauma and dissociation. Just as we maintain certain expectations for ourselves in the context of working with such persons in professional settings, it behooves us to hold ourselves to expectations in our collegial interactions. The following Code of Conduct has been developed in the spirit of encouraging independence, maturity, and respect for the rights, viewpoints, and self-determination of all members of ISSTD.

Our common humanity transcends the divisions between us: between our roles, our politics, and our status. May we continue to greet each other with kindness and respect when next our paths cross. All the best, Kevin