The ISSTD Bi-National Regional Conference held in Ōtautahi/Christchurch, New Zealand, from 22-24 November hosted a fun-filled conference dinner, with a more serious side: conferring awards to those who have made a significant contribution to the field of trauma and dissociation. While these awards were part of ISSTD’s Annual Awards process, some participants were unable to be in New York to collect them. It was a great opportunity to use this Regional Conference to confer the awards when most recipients were able to be present.
The Conference Dinner and Awards Ceremony was graciously opened by Diane Clare, Chair of the Conference Committee and Cathy Kezelman, ISSTD Member and President of Australia’s Blue Knot Foundation. Our President Christine Forner presented the awards. We are grateful to Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho who acknowledged each award recipient with a traditional song, adding beauty to our ceremony.
Joan Haliburn, Service to the Board
Joan served a three-year term on the ISSTD Board of Directors. During her time on the Board she helped to organize the 2018 Hobart Regional Conference, a two-day event which brought together more than 100 individuals from Australia and New Zealand for a workshop. She was also a presenter at multiple ISSTD Annual Conferences and webinars. She currently helps to organize the ISSTD Virtual Book Club with Rick Hohfeler.
Jan Ewing, ISSTD Fellow
Dr Jan Ewing is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society (FAPS), with specialist endorsements in both clinical psychology and clinical neuropsychology. She has specialised for over thirty years in the medico-legal evaluation of closed head injury and the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic syndromes, particularly those relating to military service and childhood maltreatment. She holds a PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Melbourne. She is a full member of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists and a founding member of the College of Clinical Neuropsychologists. She is also a founding member and Fellow of the Australian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment. She has served as Chair of the Queensland Branch of the College of Clinical Neuropsychologists and President of the Australian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment and as a member of the Advisory Panel for the Blue Knot Foundation (formerly Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse, ASCA). In addition to private practice, she lectures widely on the neurobiology and treatment of psychological trauma across the lifespan and the assessment of feigning and exaggeration in clinical and medicolegal practice. Jan has been providing training on the assessment and treatment of dissociative disorder in Australia for many years. She also educates many clinicians in the neuropsychology of dissociation and trauma, and links her clinical interventions to cutting edge brain and behavioural science knowledge. She has been a member of the ISSTD for many years and was on the 2015 Sydney regional ISSTD conference committee. She also presented an invited workshop on the treatment of complex trauma and dissociative disorders at the Brisbane regional ISSTD conference in 2017, the hugely successful Hobart regional conference in 2018. Unfortunately Jan was unable to receive her award in person.
Tracey Shelton – Media Award Written
Tracey Shelton, is an award-winning Australian investigative journalist who has in recent years been researching stories on complex trauma/dissociative disorders. In the past Tracey has carried out extremely dangerous front-line reporting in Syria, Iraq and Libya. She continues to do very detailed reporting on complex trauma, including the phenomena of ongoing incestuous abuse during adulthood. Tracey’s work represents one of the most committed undertakings by a member of the lay press to make accessible to the general public major issues that are central to the trauma and dissociation field. It was a delight to have Tracey with us in Christchurch to receive her award in person.
Patricia Niland – Media Award Written
Dr Niland took on the enormous task of cutting the ISSTD treatment guidelines down into a usable document for suppliers and providers of the Accident Compensation Corporation in New Zealand. This user-friendly document took well over 12 months to put together and has been sanctioned by the Board of the ISSTD. It will ensure practitioners in New Zealand who work with complex trauma disorders are aware of key issues in the assessment of DID and its treatment. Dr Niland’s leadership, persistence and creativity ensured that an abridged and tailor-made version of the ISSTD treatment guidelines is available to those working with DID in New Zealand. This award recognises her massive undertaking and her successful completion of the work.
Therese O Clemens Advocacy Award.
This award is given in honor of and dedicated to Therese O Clemens who served as the ISSTD Executive Director for 9 years, guiding us through some of our most difficult times. Her leadership and tireless efforts helped to stabilize and ensure the future of our organization. This award is presented to the lay individual or organization outside of the field of psychiatry or psychotherapy who, through their continuing efforts and dedication, has advanced the Mission and Vision of the ISSTD.
Julia Gillard was the first female Deputy Prime Minister and first female Prime Minister of Australia. In her last months in office, against political opposition, she established what proved to be the most successful national inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse ever undertaken anywhere. When in October 2018 there was a national apology to the victims of institutional child sexual abuse, there was an outpouring of gratitude. This is captured in this quote by journalist, Catherine Murphy:- “The visceral emotion of the survivors, the truly cathartic sentiment, was reserved for Julia Gillard – the prime minister who had delivered them the royal commission. She was the prime minister who declined to be restrained by nervous colleagues and powerful institutions to seeking to preserve their veneer of respectability, and by their backers in the public square, who delighted in eviscerating her for daily sport. They roared when Gillard entered the Great Hall, the victims’ champion who had asked to sit down in the bleachers, with the survivors, rather than on the stage, with the dignitaries. Gillard had the grace to humbly acknowledge the sincerity of the welcome, and to remind them Monday was about them, not about her. She told them it had been a long road to this occasion. ‘I do want to take this opportunity to record my thanks to all of you for your courage, your determination, for your stoicism. It took many years to get to this moment but we are only at it not because of me, but because of you.'” Julia Gillard showed grit, compassion and courage in establishing the Australian Royal Commission, the findings of which are of direct relevance to all nations. She earned the universal respect of those who had survived abuse in a range of institutions.
Unfortunately, Julia was unable to attend the conference but she shared these thoughts in response to receiving the award:
I am honoured to have been awarded the 2019 ISSTD Therese O Clemens Advocacy Award and I am sorry I cannot be there to share this moment with you.
I remain very proud of the work done through the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, by the Royal Commissioners, and all who supported them. They have done a tremendous job, often at significant personal cost. I am also very conscious of the incredible courage it took for survivors to come forward and tell their own stories to the Commission. Australia owes them a debt of gratitude.
The diligent work of the Royal Commission has already lifted a burden and provided a new sense of freedom for many Australians, who have suffered as a result of these horrendous crimes. I hope the National Apology and Royal Commission recommendations will stand as a moment when we all commit to doing everything possible to prevent this dreadful systematic abuse of children’s trust ever happening again – both in Australian and internationally.
I am grateful for the support given by the ISSTD and the many others who advocated for change throughout this process. My best wishes for this important conference.
Hon Julia Gillard AC
The Awards Ceremony was part of our conference dinner. For more information and pictures click here.